Michelangelo, God’s Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece

Princeton Univ. Oct. 2019. 336p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691195490. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780691194394. ARCH
Best known as a sculptor and painter, Michelangelo (1475–1564) spent his last years working on a half-dozen architectural commissions including as chief architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Following the work of other architects, 71-year-old Michelangelo received the St. Peter’s commission from Pope Paul III, and worked on it for 17 years, serving under a total of five popes. Wallace (Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History, Washington Univ., St. Louis; Discovering Michelangelo) presents a biographical treatment of Michelangelo’s later works, as opposed to design histories such as Giulio Carlo Argan’s Michelangelo or James S. Ackerman’s The Architecture of Michelangelo. Based primarily on the artist’s own letters, Wallace’s study frequently ties together both sides of the correspondence. The resulting volume is a scholarly work written in a style accessible to general readers. By delving into his day-to-day life, the author presents Michelangelo as a creative genius but also as a businessman, engineer, and entrepreneur, as well as touchingly human.
VERDICT This surprisingly engaging treatment of Michelangelo’s later, but no less influential work, will appeal to readers seeking a more personal insight into the man.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing