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The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo (1961)

by Irving Stone

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,879762,993 (4.02)136
Fiction. Literature. Thriller. Historical Fiction. This is Irving Stone's powerful and passionate biographical novel of Michelangelo. His time: the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring popes, the all-powerful Medici family, the fanatic monk Savonarola. His loves: the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de Medici; the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi; and his last love??his greatest love??the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna. His genius: a God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. Michelangelo Buonarotti, creator of "David", painter of the Sistine ceiling, architect of the dome of St Peter's, lives once more in Irving Stone's marvellous… (more)
  1. 00
    The Passions of the Mind: A Novel of Sigmund Freud by Irving Stone (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    Michelangelo, Life, Letters, and Poetry by Michelangelo (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: One of the two biographies of Michelangelo written while he was alive, Condivi's life was among Stone's major sources. It's fascinating to see how he novelised it.
  3. 00
    The Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: One of the two biographies of Michelangelo written while he was alive, Vasari's life (a major part of a much larger work) was among Stone's major sources. It's fascinating to see how he novelised it.
  4. 00
    Michelangelo: His Life and Works in 500 Images by Rosalind Ormiston (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A fine illustrated biography is almost obligatory while reading Stone's novel. This one is simply superb.
  5. 00
    The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation by James M. Saslow (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Only for rather hardcore fans of Michelangelo, this complete, bilingual and highly erudite edition of his poems may serve to illuminate further (albeit to a far less degree than the paintings and the sculptures) the tremendous personality Irving Stone had to dramatise.
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» See also 136 mentions

English (65)  Spanish (4)  German (3)  Slovak (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
This was a well told story of the most famous sculptor ever. Michelangelo Buonarroti, at a young age started sculpting, and it became his passion in life. Through many popes, and many projects, the story focuses more on the character of Michaelangelo and how he makes allies with people he can trust, and depend on, but also makes enemies and is not afraid to let it be known. The book takes you through what his mindset might have been when creating his masterpieces, and how he uses his hammer and chisel to finds his final result in blocks of marble. It was an amazing book for me, as I have seen a number of his creations in Italy, and I can now picture how he sculpted or painted them and appreciate them even more! ( )
  sjh4255 | Aug 30, 2022 |
4/26/22
  laplantelibrary | Apr 26, 2022 |
I debated about whether or not I should put this on the Classic bookshelf... I still might change my mind. This book was a roller coaster of emotion and history. Regardless of who Michaelangelo was, he lived through 80 years that were packed with monumental moments- both in his life and in the greater world.

I loved the author's musings on God and the purpose of life. I loved the thought process- however constructed- that the author invented from Michaelangelo towards his creations. In short, Stone put an impressive amount of work into this and created something that enhanced my desire to go to Florence and Rome, and see those masterpieces for myself. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Turns out that 16th century Florence (beset by European political intrigue and general collapse) is exactly where I needed to go to escape from a London heatwave. ( )
  st3t | Aug 3, 2020 |
A good companion to Storey's "Oil and Marble," but focused on Michelangelo instead of Leonardo (Leonardo hardly appears). Stone also does a good job explaining some Italian political history during Michelangelo's lifetime. It is long-winded and the metaphors for sculpture are over the top, but the characters are plausible and we do appreciate Michelangelo's drive and accomplishments.

> For Michelangelo, the marbles cried out, "People are good!" while Savonarola was thundering, "Humanity is evil!" ( )
  breic | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irving Stoneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kaempfer, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Slovak Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Svojej žene Jean Stonovej
Možno najlepšej na svete
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First words
He sat before the mirror in the second floor bedroom sketching his lean cheeks with their high bone ridges, the flat broad forehead, and ears too far back on the head, the hair curling forward in thatches, the amber-colored eyes wide-set but heavy-lidded.
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From this vantage point he came to a realization that everything that had happened to him before this had been a journey upward through time, everything that occurred after it a descent. If he could not control his fate, why be born?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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1st ed. (1961): The agony and the ecstasy, a novel of Michelangelo.

Please distinguish between this work, Irving Stone's 1961 novel The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, and the similarly titled The Agony and the Ecstasy: Short Stories and New Writing in Celebration of the World Cup edited by Nicholas Royle. Thank you.
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Fiction. Literature. Thriller. Historical Fiction. This is Irving Stone's powerful and passionate biographical novel of Michelangelo. His time: the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring popes, the all-powerful Medici family, the fanatic monk Savonarola. His loves: the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de Medici; the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi; and his last love??his greatest love??the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna. His genius: a God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. Michelangelo Buonarotti, creator of "David", painter of the Sistine ceiling, architect of the dome of St Peter's, lives once more in Irving Stone's marvellous

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