Publisher's Comments (cont.)
"Leonard Barkans evocative Michelangelo: A Life on Paper limns the mysteries of expression in the so called hieroglyphs of Michelangelo and traces, with Barkan's characterisric brilliance, how word and image overlay, interplay, consort, and ultimately compose the solitary artist's signature language. An astute reading of interior life and outer symbol, methodologically sound, and deeply empathetic, Mtehelangelo: A Life on Paper is an illuminaring analysis of the relation of art, and life and where we might go to find it."---Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Diekinson and Thomas Wenttworth Higginson
"Michelangelo: A Life on Paper manages to capture the restless movement of the great artist's quick-silver mind. It takes us deep into Michelangelo's creative process, a place where public and private, sacredness and carnality, grandeur and pettiness, vast ambition and self-tormenting doubts are all tangled together. Barkan seems to possess, as if vividly inscribed in his own memory, the hundreds of sheets of paper on which Michelangelo set down his sketches and poems. By sharply focusing on the complex relation on these sheets between words and images, this remarkable book chronicles what Barkan calls the artist's lifelong acts of personal refashioning."---Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University
"In the excitement of what amounts to a paper chase---poems, drawings, and a wilderness of scribbling---Barkan reaches ever deeper into the Michelangelo arcanum: what had seemed entanglement is by patient stfting discovered to be a solution, the problem proved: `Mortal flesh made God."---Richard Howard, series editor of the Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation and author of Inner Voicest Selected Poems, 1963-2003
"In a series of elegant, often provocative essays covering the entire are of Michelangelo's visual signing, Barkan's analytic perspective elicits new connections and new levels of significance that have eluded his predecessors. Thanks to Barkan, future students of Michelangelo's graphic work will have to look and think harder.---Irving Lavin, professor emernus, Institute for Advanced Study
"Barkan's careful, empathetic investigation reveals a mind of ceaseless experimentation, clustered with fragments, memories, allusions, desires in which the dialogue of writing and drawing reveals the creative paradoxes and mysteries of Michelangelo's genius, what Barkan calls `the psychopathologies of his everyday life.' Superbly researched, exquisitely illustrated, and scintillatingly written, this book changes our understanding of the most colossal master of the Renaissance."---Jas Elsner, University of Oxford
Michelangelo is best known for great artistic achievements such as the Sistine ceiling, the David, the Pieta, and the dome of St. Peter's. Yet throughout his seventy-five-year career, he was engaged in another artistic act that until now has been largely overlooked: he not only filled hundreds of sheets of paper with exquisite drawings, sketches, and doodles, but also, on fully a third of these sheets, composed his own words. Here we can read the artist's marginal notes to his most enduring masterpieces; workaday memos to assistants and pupils, poetry and letters; and achingly personal expressions of ambition and despair surely meant for nobody's eyes but his own. Michelangelo: A Life on Paper is the first book to examine this intriguing interplay of words and images, providing insight into his life and work as never before.
This sumptuous volume brings together more than two hundred stunning, museum-quality reproductions of Michelangelo's most private papers, many in color. Accompanying them is Leonard Barkan's vivid narrative, which explains the important role the written word played in the artist's monumental public output. What emerges is a wealth of startling juxtapositions: perfectly inscribed sonnets and tantalizing fragments, such as "Have patience, love me, sufficient consolation"; careful notations listing money spent for chickens, oxen, and funeral rites for the artist's father; a beautiful drawing of a Madonna and child next to a mock love poem that begins," You have a face sweeter than boiled grape juice, and a snail seems to have passed over it." Magnificently illustrated and superbly detailed, this book provides a rare and intimate look at how Michelangelo's artistic genius expressed itself in words as well as pictures.
"Open this book and sit down at Michelangelo's worktable, where writing and art-making happen one on top of the other. Writing surfaces continually invite doodles, while stunning feats of draftsmanship meet an unrelenting stream of bills, letters, poems, and inside jokes. In the congenial company of a preeminent critic of the art and literature of the Renaissance, we follow the careers of sheets of paper marked up, handed off to assistants, corrected, then revisited years later, then sent off---or, more often, filed away in Michelangelo's scrupulous archive. From the midst of this productive chaos, Leonard Barkan counsels us to abandon the dream of a congruent collaboration of word and image, pointing the way instead to a concrete and strangely familiar poetics of intersection and interruption."---Alexander Nagel, New York University