|The Agony and the Ecstasy (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Author: Irving stone
Main Characters: Michelangelo Buonarotti, Ghirlandaio, Grannasi, Bertoldo, Contessina, Lodovico, Lorenzo, Piero, Lionardo, Duccio, Jacopo, Soderini and Tomao
Michelangelo Buonarotti was one of the greatest sculptors ever known. He first received training from Ghirlandaio. Ghirlandaio trained Michelangelo in art and painting. After a few years of training in Ghirlandaio’s workshop, Michelangelo realized that he wanted to be a sculptor and not a painter. But Lodovico Buonarotti, Michelangelo’s father, was ashamed of Michelangelo for taking interest in sculpting and painting. The Buonarotti family were proud moneylenders, and felt it below their dignity to be in other professions, especially sculpting.
Sculpting was considered a lowly job. But Michelangelo’s world revolved around sculpting. Michelangelo convinced his father, took leave from Ghirlandaio, and joined the sculpting school of Bertoldo- the only alive master of the art of sculpting. He trained under Bertoldo for a very long time, and soon became a part of the Medici family. Before Bertoldo died, he chose Michelangelo as his heir- the next master of sculpting.
Michelangelo started working under Il Magnifico Lorenzo de’ Medici. He completed his first marble structure- the Madonna and the child. Lorenzo, deeply impressed by Michelangelo’s talent, presented him a lot of money, gifts and prizes. Il Magnifico also invited Michelangelo to stay with the Medici.
Michelangelo went to his father and handed over all the prize money. Crazy old Lodovico, mad about money, sent off Michelangelo to work on his next sculpture and earn more money. Michelangelo stayed with the Medici and earned many more prizes from Il Magnifico, all of which he sent to his family.
All was well, until the day when Lorenzo died a sudden death. There was total chaos in the palace of the late Il Magnifico. Soon, Piero, Lorenzo’s son, was declared the next Il Magnifico.
Michelangelo and Piero had never been on good terms, and to seek revenge Piero chucked Michelangelo out of the palace, into the streets. Michelangelo was denied even a place in an obscure corner, to sit and sculpt by himself. Michelangelo was too dignified to go and beg Piero for a place to work.
After many months of misery, he found a place to set up his workshop and bought marble. But he couldn’t start sculpting. Michelangelo wanted to study anatomy of human body so that he could bring life into his sculptures.
He cut open dead bodies and studied them carefully. After that, Michelangelo was the master!
He created many wonders for the world. He was the architect of the dome of St. Peter’s. He was the creator of David. He was the painter of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. He created the tomb of Pope Julius II. He created the Dawn and the Dusk in the Medici Chapel in Florence. He created many other sculptures in Florence and Vatican City. Finally, Michelangelo created his final works in his studio- Porta Pia and Santa Maria delgi Angeli in Rome.
Michelangelo breathed his final in St. Peter’s church. But he had already made his final wish to his faithful apprentice, Tomao- he wanted to be buried in Florence, his home.