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Almost 500 years after Michelangelo Buonarroti frescoed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the site still
attracts throngs of visitors and is considered one of the artistic masterpieces of the world. Michelangelo and the
Pope’s Ceiling unveils the story behind the art's making, a story rife with all the drama of a modern-day soap opera.
The temperament of the day was dictated by the politics of the papal court, a corrupt and powerful office steeped in
controversy; Pope Julius II even had a nickname, "Il Papa Terrible," to prove it. Along with his violent outbursts and
warmongering, Pope Julius II took upon himself to restore the Sistine Chapel and pretty much intimidated Michelangelo
into painting the ceiling even though the artist considered himself primarily a sculptor and was particularly unfamiliar
with the temperamental art of fresco. Along with technical difficulties, personality conflicts, and money troubles,
Michelangelo was plagued by health problems and competition in the form of the dashing and talented young painter
Author Ross King offers an in-depth analysis of the complex historical background that led to the magnificence that is
the Sistine Chapel ceiling along with detailed discussion of some of the ceiling’s panels. King provides fabulous
tidbits of information and weaves together a fascinating historical tale. --J.P. Cohen