King tells how Michelangelo Buonarroti, known as a sculptor not as a painter, spent four years painting the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel for Pope Julius II while power politics and personal rivalries swirled around him. He was 33 when he was summoned back to Rome, from which he had fled vowing never to return. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
King's historical account of the four years Michelangelo Buonarroti spent frescoing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome is splendid, thorough and detailed. But its larger appeal lies in the way King (Brunelleschi's Dome) brings out the story's human elements. Listeners learn of Michelangelo's bitter disappointment when a project he was eagerly looking forward to (the construction of the Pope's tomb) was cancelled and that he had little experience with the art of fresco and was reluctant to take on the Sistine Chapel. King explains the craft of frescoing with involving details: for example, fresco dries quickly, so the artist could work only in small sections, and if a mistake was found after the paint dried, the whole day's work had to be chipped away and redone. Listeners also learn of Michelangelo's financial woes and family problems and the political upheavals of the time. Sklar's narration is perfect for the project. His lively and expressive reading add a realistic edge to a centuries-old tale. He speaks passionately and his accent on the Italian names and phrases is flawless. Simultaneous release with the Walker hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 9, 2002). (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.