Michelangelo's creation of the monumental frescos in the Sistine Chapel marked a revolutionary event in Western art. Now, another revolutionary event has occurred: a nine-year restoration, carried out by experts at the Vatican Museums and described and illustrated in this incredible work. 312 illustrations, 293 in full color; gatefold.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
Nine years in duration, the elaborate restoration of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes was one of the major events in recent art history. Not executed without controversy, the restoration renewed the vivid colors of Michelangelo's greatest work--in fact, caused a reevaluation in the minds of art historians of the master's use of color. (The controversy centered on concern that restorers had taken off too much of the accumulated overlay of the ages and that maybe Michelangelo had himself surfaced the frescoes with a layering of varnish meant to subdue the vibrant coloring.) Approximately 300 photographs of the restored frescoes are brilliantly presented here, a visual enticement to enjoy the original color as well as the form and the composition of these spectacular works. Accompanying the perfect reproductions are nine essays by specialists discussing such topics as Michelangelo's preparatory drawings for the figures in the frescoes, the plaster and pigment techniques he employed, the issue of whether he used assistants or not, and his use of color. This magnificent, celebratory book--of both the frescoes and their restoration--belongs in every active art-history collection. Brad Hooper
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