Here’s a holiday story that’s mostly trim and pretty ribbons: On Tuesday, a $100,000 dollar book on the life and work of Michelangelo Buonarroti will go on display at the New York Public Library. The volume, which weighs 62 pounds, is bound in velvet and marble relief. Apparently, it took six months to make, which would have been some kind of record even by the standards of the High Renaissance.
Given the scarcity (relative to Rome, Florence, Paris, or London) of Michelangelo’s in New York, a trip to the Public Library certainly counts as pilgrimage. That, or Netflix The Agony and the Ecstasy, director Carol Reed’s 1965 Michelangelo biopic. The movie was loosely based on Irving Stone’s book of the same name, which itself was loosely based on Michelangelo. Agony stars Charlton Heston as the difficult artist; Rex Harrison plays Pope Julius II. The acting is muscular; the accents English.
In this charming scene, Michelangelo lays out his plans for the fresco ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.