Review Of "Michelangelo, Drawing, And The Invention Of Architecture" By C. Brothers

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That Michelangelo's architecture evolved from his sculpture is generally acknowledged. With unprecedented precision and thoroughness, Brothers (Univ. of Virginia), the author of this beautiful volume with 275 aptly chosen illustrations, explains exactly how. She reads the artist's drawings as traces of his explorative thinking--tentative, vacillating, and at times serendipitous--by inspecting closely the strokes and markings, no less than the chosen medium, from one sheet to another. She observes first that in his figural drawings, in particular for the Sistine Ceiling (chapter 1), Michelangelo isolates parts into abstract forms as he does elements of classical architecture in his copies from the pages of the Codex Coner, largely by his mentor, Giuliano da Sangallo (chapter 2). She then demonstrates how in his projects for San Lorenzo (the facade and the Medici Chapel), the figure progressively merges with the frame (chapter 3), and how ultimately in the Laurentian Library architectural components become figural subjects (chapter 4). In this vicissitudinous process of creative invention, solidly built on conventional precedents, the author finds a parallel in the poetry of Petrarch and Ariosto. This is a refreshing contribution to Renaissance studies, and to Michelangelo scholarship in particular. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.


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