The Agony And The Ecstasy

by Irving Stone

Brilliant. Irving Stone chips away at his biographical masterpiece of Michelangelo. We watch as page after page the passionate artist comes to life. There is Michelangelo, beaten, discouraged, despondent, but always dreaming, always creating, always persevering.

Quotable: "There is no thrill of mortal danger to surpass that of a lone man trying to create something that never existed before." True for the artist and true for the artist who brings him to life in The Agony And The Ecstasy. Stone's research is meticulous. His writing particular. He wrote two to eight pages a day. The book is 689 pages. Four re-writes per draft. Apparently more than one draft. Do the math. Stone even apprenticed himself to an Italian sculptor to enter the world of Michelangelo. We are the beneficiaries of his painstaking effort.

Is it any wonder we find marble dust on the pages, hear the crush when Torrigiano's fist hammered Michelangelo Buonarroti's face, sense the agony of his father's blows, his family's claims, the church's demands, and always his unquenched desire to sculpt. But we delight in the ecstasy of the David, the finished Sistine Chapel, and his unique relationship with

5 Reasons To Read

1. Detail -- Stone's attention to detail from streets, to people, to works of art. Amazing.
2. Passion -- Stone gives us so much more than facts. We see a passionate Michelangelo.
3. Education -- Stone' provides an education: people, popes, and politics.
4. Brilliance -- It's not just Michelangelo we see. Stone paints his contemporaries in brilliant colors.
5. Pace -- This book is long, but anything but boring. It moves.