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    The Agony and the Ecstacy - the second reading...

    Review of Agony and Ecstasy History books describing Michelangelo’s life are like a black outline description of one humanity's greatest geniuses. Irving Stone's novel fills in the colour and brings him to life.   My first reading of the Agony and Ecstasy was many years ago and I loved it.  It is a book that made you feel like you were there with Michelangelo - seeing what he saw, sensing what he sensed and most importantly feeling what he felt. It is truly remarkable writing and a truly remarkable book. My second reading  coincided with my first visit to Italy where I got to marvel at David, St Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and many of Michelangelo’s other masterpieces. It made him and his work so much more real.  Before reading this novel, I struggled to understand how a mere man could turn a piece of marble, or paint or stone Into something timeless, unique and magical,  as Michelangelo did again and again throughout his long  and often tragic life.   The Agony and the Ecstasy with its attention to detail and insight into Michelangelo's mind and the world in which he lived  really does help to  understand the incredible gift he had, his unique genius across a myriad of mediums including  sculpture,  painting and architecture, and firmly cements his place as one of the greatest artists in the history of mankind. It is a first class historical novel.
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