Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Michelangelo: The Young Artist who dreamed of Perfection

Michelangelo: The Young Artist who dreamed of Perfection

Philip Wilkinson
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
National Geographic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0792255338

The son of an Italian magistrate and merchant, Michelangelo did not live up to his father's expectations. Instead of becoming a merchant or businessman, Michelangelo wanted to become an artist. Though his father and uncles tried to dissuade him from this path, Michelangelo was stubborn and in the end his father gave in. So at the age of twelve Michelangelo became an apprentice to the Florentine master artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Michelangelo thrived in Ghirlandaio's workshop and learned a great deal. He impressed his master and he also impressed one of his master?s most influential clients, Lorenzo de? Medici. Indeed Lorenzo admired Michelangelo so much that he invited the young man to move into the Medici palace and there Michelangelo lived and worked creating sculptures and paintings until 1492 when his patron and friend, Lorenzo died.

Now the seventeen year old was on his own and for the rest of his life he had to make a living without the protection of a patron. It was a struggle and Michelangelo, who was married to his craft and who was a perfectionist, often argued with his clients. He frequently was not paid on time or in full and he often had to negotiate fiercely to get a fair contract for his labors. And yet, despite trials and dangers of all kinds, Michelangelo produced some of the most memorable sculptures and paintings of all time.

This excellent title in the National Geographic World History Biographies series not only tells Michelangelo's story in a personal and meaningful way, but it also describes what his world was like. Readers will get a sense of how unsure life was in Italy during the fourteen and fifteen hundreds. Power frequently shifted and one could never be sure when one would be in favor and when one would have to flee for ones life. Full of wonderfully rich and colorful illustrations, reproductions of paintings, photographs, quotes, informative boxes, and a timeline on the bottom of every page, this a splendid title which young historians and art buffs alike will enjoy.