Michelangelo: A Tormented Life
October 2011, Polity
Antonio Forcellino is one of the world’s leading authorities on Michelangelo and an expert art historian and restorer. He has been involved in the restoration of numerous masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Moses. He combines his firsthand knowledge of Michelangelo’s work with a lively literary style to draw the reader into the very heart of Michelangelo’s genius.
"What sets this biography apart is that its author is not merely a historian but an art restorer as well, giving him deep insight into materials and techniques that were such a major part of Michelangelo's life. The author is appealingly novelistic in his portrayal of the artist's quotidian life, lending a three dimensionality to what could otherwise be a dry recital of dates and artworks."
"A breath-taking and even thrilling story offering much that is brand new in an obviously crowded field ... these hands-on descriptions of the colors of the paint, the surfaces, the details of sculpture help us to see Michelangelo in a new and more informed manner."
California Literary Review
"Authoritative on the life of Michelangelo."
"In this brilliant new biography by art historian and restorer Antonio Forcellino the facts are disentagled from the myths."
Yorkshire Evening Post
"[Forcellino] succeeds in revealing why Michelangelo still stands head-and-shoulders above his peers (and certainly his twenty-first century successors)."
"Antonio Forcellino has written Michelangelo's biography as a fascinating novel, but at the same time, it is carefully and well documented by original source material. A thoroughly enjoyable and recommendable read."
European Reveiw of History
"Combining a biographer's insight with a conservator's knowledge of materials and techniques, Antonio Forcellino has written an engaging study of the world's most famous sculptor, painter, and architect."
William Wallace, Washington University
"Written as fluently as a novel, Forcellino's gripping narrative combines new research on Michelangelo's life and vivid quotations from his letters with a sharp sense of the artistic challenges to which he responded and a restorer's close attention to technical detail."
Peter Burke, University of Cambridge
"From the very first pages, this fascinating biography draws us into the heart of the life of the greatest artist of post-Antiquity, a life of privilege which nevertheless had its share of burden and tragedy. As an art historian, Antonio Forcellino is endowed with a fresher, sharper, more professional and livelier outlook than most learned scholars. From his personal experience, he knows the work on the scaffolding, regardless of the height or season, as well as the techniques of the scalpel and the fresco, the study of the human body and the endless negotiations with clients of differing temperaments and moods. At the same time, his fluent and lively account ably evokes Michelangelo's political, economic and personal background, whilst penetrating the secrets of Michelangelo's religiousness: this - occasionally desperate - dialogue with the contradictory thought of contemporary theology and this passionate search for a direct relationship with God which are indispensable keys to the understanding of his works."
Christoph Luitpold Frommel, University of Rome
"Based on sources of the highest quality, this portrait of a man obsessed with art, at once savage and yet fragile, does away with the cobwebs that have gathered over time. Forcellino - who restored Michelangelo's Moses - knows every inch of the marble with which the artist battled."
Corriere della Sera
"With striking literary talent, Antonio Forcellino - one of the greatest art historians and restorers in Europe - brings the man and his times to life."
La Gazetta del Mezzogiorno