Michelangelo and Six of His Greatest Works: Background information when reading Michelangelo

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A Life in Six Masterpieces

by Miles J. Unger

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  • First Published:
    Jul 2014, 448 pages
    Jul 2015, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Suzanne Reeder

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Beyond the Book:
Michelangelo and Six of His Greatest Works

During his long life Michelangelo created numerous great works of art. Six are particularly renowned and are located either in Rome or Florence. In his book Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, Miles J. Unger examines the artist through these monumental works. The following offers a condensed history and description of each.


Pietà In 1496, Michelangelo was in his early twenties and had moved from his native city of Florence to Rome, "burning with ambition," according to Unger's book. After clashing with the Cardinal di San Giorgio over a commissioned work, he caught the notice of the French Cardinal of St. Denis, who was seeking a sculptor to carve his tomb in the shrine of Santa Petronilla, an ancient mausoleum attached to the Basilica of St. Peter. The cardinal was willing to take a chance on the relatively unknown Michelangelo, and he won the commission. The contract called for a Pietà to be created out of marble, "that is a Virgin Mary clothed with the dead ...

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