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Michelangelo and the reinvention of the human body

By: Hall, James (James Edward Stuart).
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London Chatto & Windus 2005Description: 311 pages 25cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0701172703.Subject(s): Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564 -- Criticism and interpretation | Human figure in art | Nude in art | Human beings in artDDC classification: 709.2 MIC Summary: "In this study, the art critic James Hall explores the body-language of Michelangelo's figures, and his preoccupation with the male nude. He answers many of the major puzzles - his stern Madonnas and their lack of maternal feeling; his concern with colossal scale and size; his passion for anatomical dissection; the meaning of the drawings made for his young lover Tommasco da Cavalieri. By asking basic questions about Michelandgelo and his times, Hall sheds dramatic new light on many of his most familiar works, including the statue of David and the narratives of the Sistine Chaple ceiling, and his haunting late images of the dead Christ." "This book re-assesses the popular idea of Michelangelo as an artist-superman possessed of titanic mental and physical powers, and the long-held view of him as brilliant but unbalanced, obsessed with the male nude. Hall sees him as the first artist to put the unadorned human body centre stage, giving him a profound relevance to our own time, in which visual artists and writers are so fixated on 'the body'. If we really want to understand our own culture, he argues, we need to understand Michelangelo. This new study offers us a way to do so." - BOOK JACKET.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Hall re-examines Michelangelo's depiction of the human body, bringing many new ideas to explain his most famous sculptures, paintings and drawings. There is much new material on the period, highlighting how much Michelangelo changed the way we look at the portrayal of the human body.

Formerly CIP.

Includes bibliographical references and index

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"In this study, the art critic James Hall explores the body-language of Michelangelo's figures, and his preoccupation with the male nude. He answers many of the major puzzles - his stern Madonnas and their lack of maternal feeling; his concern with colossal scale and size; his passion for anatomical dissection; the meaning of the drawings made for his young lover Tommasco da Cavalieri. By asking basic questions about Michelandgelo and his times, Hall sheds dramatic new light on many of his most familiar works, including the statue of David and the narratives of the Sistine Chaple ceiling, and his haunting late images of the dead Christ." "This book re-assesses the popular idea of Michelangelo as an artist-superman possessed of titanic mental and physical powers, and the long-held view of him as brilliant but unbalanced, obsessed with the male nude. Hall sees him as the first artist to put the unadorned human body centre stage, giving him a profound relevance to our own time, in which visual artists and writers are so fixated on 'the body'. If we really want to understand our own culture, he argues, we need to understand Michelangelo. This new study offers us a way to do so." - BOOK JACKET.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Writing in an easily readable, almost conversational style, Hall (The World as Sculpture) shows his bias in favor of Michelangelo's art-which, he says, "tends to obliterate everything in its vicinity." Hall's purpose is to take a fresh look at the body language of Michelangelo's figures, discuss the sculptor's preoccupation with portraying the male nude, and connect Michelangelo's art with that of his contemporaries. With Michelangelo, it is always Judgment Day. Concerned with using the male nude to represent significant actions and passions, the artist intended his figures to be surrogates for Christ. His women are so unfeminine that they have become quite controversial, involving questions of his homosexuality and his pessimism regarding the possibility of intimacy. The book is well documented, but the text is not correlated with the illustrations, forcing the reader to search for images referred to in the contents. One is also left wishing for color illustrations. Recommended for larger academic or specialized collections only.-Nancy Mactague, Aurora Univ. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Hall's acclaimed The World as Sculpture (2000) expounded on the elevation of sculpture from a second-string medium to the most prestigious of modern art forms. Here, he tries to demystify the most prestigious of sculptors. Driven by questionsAWhy are the Madonnas so unmaternal? Why so many giant figures? Why so much anatomical emphasis? (In short, why is Michelangelo's genius so weird?)Athat have nagged viewers for at least two centuries, Hall's thematic taxonomy attempts to understand the weirdness, and to honor the genius, without succumbing to the artist's own "self mythologisation," or resorting to the conventional rationales of misogyny, eccentricity and monomania that have dogged Michelangelo's reputation since the Romantic period. Instead, Hall construes the work in terms of contemporary traditions, innovations, disputes and fashions, which historically situate many of the odder features of the work and humanize the artist. The result is a rich and evocative examination of the major works, and to some extent of the man who made them, learned and authoritative without the pretensions or systematic coverage of professional scholarship. Some of the interpretations are fresher and more radical than others, but the aim, which is to present the originality and tenacity of Michelangelo's work in a plausible light, is well served. Illus. (May 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved