Monday, 28 April 2014

Books I Read - II

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He had been my bedside companion, Literally, for the past several weeks !!! He had become a part of my conscious & subconscious motivation towards creativity, towards creating something (The "I Love Tatting" doodle was one such attempt). He had seeped into my very being and thoughts, as if he was live in front of me! And now, after 2 months, I have finished reading this very potent portrayal of Michelangelo Buonarroti :

The Agony and the Ecstasy 
Irving Stone

Irving Stone brought the 15th century Florentine sculptor, painter, & architect to life using Words just as Michelangelo used his chisel & hammer to dig into the soul of his chosen marble slabs and carve out the figure & expression. Stone’s words paint a vivid picture of the sculptor’s life, his anguishes, his passions, his love, his mastery, his talent, his relationships, his demons, his emotions. I did not need to ‘imagine’ anything, it was as if the entire life was being played out right before my eyes ! Perhaps, this is Stone’s best of the 3 books I’ve read so far & that is saying a lot because “Lust for Life” on Van Gogh was just as vivid. I stayed glued to the book, or rather to the persona of Michelangelo, right through the 750+ pages.
After finishing, I felt a kind of void… as if someone close to me was no longer there. That is the power Stone’s words And the maestro’s personality had on me.

I did get the feeling, though, that Stone was a bit partial to his protagonist. Perhaps an excusable occupational hazard? Or was Michelangelo really so gullible? Stone seems to gloss over some aspects/issues, such as the latter’s finances in later years.

This is not to detract from the brilliant narrative, but I sorely missed pictures of Michelangelo’s works. A few illustrations, pictures of his works, just a few panels, would have enhanced the reading experience even further & captured the visual.
To that end I was lucky to have 2 books to consult & cross-refer. {I Googled for images & info, too}. These gave me some idea of the intricacy that Stone talked about. This could also, well be the TIP for this post – having references to fall back on - either your personal library, or access to one, besides search engines on the net.

The Great Artists series #23 discusses his David, Pieta, & the Sistine Chapel frescoes in some detail with accompanying pictures. There is also a brief comparative account of Michelangelo’s contemporaries & his inspirations. This was both educative & informative, besides being visually appealing & illuminating.

The Great Artists #23 - Michelangelo

I also had fond memories of my visit to the Sistine Chapel & Rome to fall back on. “Rome & Vatican” by Loretta Santini was actually bought on that visit to guide us around the city & acquaint us with it’s history, architecture, & so on. I feel truly lucky to have been able to see the frescoes & the Pieta (& replicas of his other works, including David; and the St Peter's ) - Unforgettable !!! I could back again & again to experience their mastery ! 

Loretta Santini's Rome & Vatican

After a book is finished, I immediately pick up another. This is one of those rare times that I could not take up anything else to read. Nothing compared to the potency of this read. But the reading won't stop for long even if all else does ;-) 

 Happy Reading J


  1. I read this one many years ago when I was still at school - I am a grandmother now, so it WAS a long time ago! - and I remember feeling exactly the same way after I had finished! Almost bereft, and certainly didn't want to read anything else for a few days. When a book is good, I usually gobble it up, I read very quickly - but this one I read slowly so that I wouldn't get to the last page!
    I wonder what happened to that copy, it was in my parents' bookshelf, and I don't remember seeing it when I cleared out their things after their deaths - good to know it's still available, I might buy it for myself and re-visit it!

  2. Hello Maureen :-)
    I'm so relieved to know that I wasn't alone in that "feeling" ! I can so relate to all that you've written.
    I, too, had bought this book some 15-20 years back & just didn't get around to reading it till earlier this year.
    Thanks for your comment ... appreciate it :-)