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The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

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Book Overview

Irving Stone's classic biographical novel of Michelangelo--the #1 New York Times bestseller in which both the artist and the man are brought to vivid, captivating life. His time--the turbulent... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings


Reading this book was part of my summer work for my AP Euro class my sophomore year, and right when I began to read, I knew I wouldn't want to put it down. I feel as if I'm looking through the artist's eyes as I read this, and the language used in description is indescribable in how clearly it portrays what it wants to show and how it made me feel. Sitting on my couch, I felt like I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

Must Read!!!

Great Book which everybody who respects him/her self should read. Totally enjoyable!! the book was shipped fast and in the condition described by the seller.


This book was amazing. Besides the fact that it does a great job of describing in detail Michelangelo's life and his love affair with marble, it also gives the reader a good understanding of Renaissance Italy in general. Prior to reading it, I knew nothing about Michelangelo or about politics and the Medici family; I learned a lot about the volatile political environment of the time period. Michelangelo is often misunderstood. He had a quick temper and many thought he was differcult to work with. Stone does a great job of explaining Michelangelo's behavior. I came away from this book feeling as if I really understood Michelangelo and his desire to create beautiful works of art. If you have any interest in Michelangelo or Renaissance Italy, I recommend this book; you will not be dissapointed!

A Triumph!

Stone took 6 years to research on his biography of Michelangelo. By the end of the book one can only marvel at the tremendous effort Stone undertook. "Agony and Ecstasy" is truly an absorbing and inspiring tale of the greatest genius in art history. Michelangelo's magnificence in sculpture, painting, architecture and poems is compellingly told. The best parts of the novel are the creations of each sculpture, Michelangelo's greatest love. Michelangelo's intensity and passion as he chisels and hammers away on his beloved marbles is vividly written and deeply moving. His rivalry with Raphael and Da Vinci, his struggles with his family, the Popes, the Medici family, his contemporaries and the tumultuous era he lived in are convincing and underlay with sadness. Certain aspects of his life are poignant and heart wrenching - the years wasted quarrying marbles never used, his unsavoury father who only wants money from him and of course the uncompleted Julius II Tomb which haunts him till the later years of his life. By the end of the book, one can only love this titanic genius for his awesome and fearsome talents, which could only be God given, his perseverance, his obsession and passion. The three Pietas, The David, the Madonna and Child in Bruges, Sistine Chapel Vault, Night, Day, Dusk, Dawn, The Last Judgement, St Peter's Dome....Michelangelo is no longer just the creator of these soul stirring, colossal and exalted art works. Stone has given this great genius who lived 500 years ago flesh and blood. Michelangelo is a man driven by his transcendent powers in art, evoking awe, reverence, love and sympathy from us.

A Journey Through His Mind

I am only 14 years old and I read this book for two reasons. One-my Mom made me, and Two-my big trip to Italy was coming up. After the first chapter, you FELT like you were Michelangelo himself as you flipped through the pages. I found myself more and more interested to read the book rather than just reading it because my Mom wanted me to. I definitely reccomend this book to anyone who loves the arts, history, Italy-especially Tuscany and Florence, and even geology to some extent. This novel fascinated me. You are taken from about the time Michelangelo Buonarroti was nine to the day he died. You learn SO MUCH about the sculptures he did-a whole chapter is dedicated to his beloved David. You are taken through Michelangelo's mind and life. From this book, I learned a ton about sculpting, frescoing, and much about the history of Italy. So by the time I got there-to Italy-I knew more than anyone in my family about everything I saw by Michelangelo. He was a genius. Please read this book. You will be inspired and fascinated as I was and you will learn SO much. You will laugh and cry and by the last page, you are craving to read more. I promise you will not regret flipping through those pages and taking a journey through Michelangelo Buonarroti's mind! :)

Ottimo! (Excellent)

As one of Michelangelo's biggest fans, I can truly say that Irving Stone did an incredible job on this biographical novel. Although Michelangelo was known as a sculptor, painter and architect, his greatest love was the marble, and this book shows it. I just returned from a two week vacation through Italy where I stayed in Florence for about a week. The streets and piazzas where Michelangelo and Granacci walked has been captured by Stone in true detail. San Marco and Santa Maria Novella are extactly as Stone describes. I have also seen most of Michelangelo's works and it is wonderful to see the personal "story" behind each of the works. Not only does this book walk with you though Michelangelo's life, but it also gives the reader a piece of Italian history with the Medici family and the Pope. This book gives me another justification why Michelangelo is God sent. No one should judge his work until they have stood in front of David and the Pieta or looked up at the Sistine Chapel. It is one of the most incredible experiences of my life.This book may not be an easy read to some because the Italian names may be hard to follow. Some of the historical conflicts among the Medici family, the Pope and Savonarola may be a bit confusing if the reader is not familiar with the attitudes of that time. There are also a minutia of Italian phrases which may be confusing to those who do not understand Italian. But if you are looking for a great book that not only gives you the history, but the emotion, then this is for you.

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo Mentions in Our Blog

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo in 12 Must-Read Titles in Renaissance Historical Fiction
12 Must-Read Titles in Renaissance Historical Fiction
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 19, 2023

The Renaissance was a time of great social change, scientific advancements, and flourishing culture, making it a rich period for powerful, exciting narratives. Here are twelve of our favorite historical novels set during the Renaissance.

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