Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

With Michelangelo, Elizabeth Ripley creates an introductory biography on the life of one of the world’s most well known artists. Written in a simple and straightforward style, the book narrates Michelangelo’s life from his birth in 1475 to his death in 1564, noting his struggles and his remarkable achievements.

Ripley relates how, even as a child, Michelangelo aspired to be an artist. Although he initially studied painting, his instructor, Ghirlandaio, soon observed that Michelangelo’s figures seemed more carved than painted and suggested that he study sculpture instead. As a result, Michelangelo was soon taken into the Medici household under the auspices of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of Florence at the time, and allowed to study sculpture. Thus he began a career that ended only with his death at the age of eighty-nine.

Ripley describes the passion with which Michelangelo sculpted, working for days without eating or resting. With a mallet and chisel, he was able to carve figures from stone that were astonishingly lifelike and beautiful to behold. The grace and beauty that he exhibited in his work, however, was missing from Michelangelo’s personal life. Finding it difficult to interact with others, he spent much of his time alone.

Ripley comments on Michelangelo’s various patrons and the sculptures that they commissioned from him. These sculptures, which include Bacchus, David, and the...

(The entire section is 532 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Italy into which Michelangelo is born in 1475 is a patchwork of fourteen rival states and kingdoms. Of these, the Republic of...

(The entire section is 325 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Michelangelo features the same general format as Ripley's sixteen other biographies of artists, alternating text and black-and-white...

(The entire section is 143 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Michelangelo's art concerns Christian themes; the artist's strong religious faith inspired some of his most powerful works. Ripley...

(The entire section is 62 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Michelangelo's experiences as a youth demonstrate that there are both advantages and disadvantages to possessing an exceptional talent....

(The entire section is 201 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. What is meant by the word "renaissance"? When did the Italian Renaissance begin? What were the chief factors in its inception? Who were...

(The entire section is 130 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Michelangelo is part of a series of seventeen introductory biographies of great artists that Ripley wrote for young adults. In...

(The entire section is 83 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Allen, Agnes. The Story of Michelangelo. New York: Roy Co., 1957. This biography for young readers offers more detail than does...

(The entire section is 203 words.)