A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Before our trip to Florence and Rome this winter, I perused several guidebooks and magazine articles. About a week before our departure, I started Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces by Miles J. Unger with the intent of finishing before packing. It is a moderately heavy book that I did not want to carry. By trip time, however, I had read only the introduction and the chapters about The Pieta found in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and David now at the Accademia in Florence. After the trip, I read chapters about Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel, the Medici Chapel in the church of San Lorenzo, The Last Judgment, and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The experience of reading is shaped by both the author and the reader. With Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, the author contributes a well-written story balancing the details of the sculptor’s life with accounts of his masterpieces and his times. This is quite enough to insure a good reading experience for anyone with a general knowledge of history and art. Still, in the wake of the trip, my experiences helped the story jump higher from the page.
Don’t be fooled by the subtitle into thinking the book is a narrowly focused biography. Unger addresses many aspects of Michelangelo’s personality and the events of his times, and because he is a central character in the story in the Italian Renaissance, having worked in both Florence and Rome, having served and survived many popes as well as his Medici sponsors, his sculptor’s story is a good introduction to the period. – Review by Rick