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.)