Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Xtraordinary Artists: Michelangelo

Xtraordinary Artists: Michelangelo

Adele Richardson
For ages 8 to 14
The Creative Company, 2005   ISBN: 978-1583413791

Michelangelo came from an old and respectable family which had fallen on hard times. Because his mother was frail, the infant Michelangelo was placed in the care of a stonemason’s wife who loved and nurtured him and it was while he was with the stonemasons that Michelangelo learned to work with and to love stone. Michelangelo’s father wanted his son to grow up to be a gentleman but his son much preferred to draw and to work with his hands, running away from his studies whenever he could. By the time he was thirteen years old Michelangelo no longer went to school at all and instead he dedicated his energies “solely on art.”

Thanks to an apprenticeship with a Florentine artist, Michelangelo learned, among other things, the techniques of fresco paintings. The young man’s skill and personality caught the attention of Lorenzo de Medici and after only one year as an apprentice Michelangelo went to live with the powerful and well placed de Medici family.

After the death of Lorenzo, Michelangelo struck out on his own and at seventeen years old he became the sole bread winner in his family. Thus began his career creating paintings and sculptures for others and some of his clients would be the most powerful people of the time.

In this well written and interesting book the author not only tells her readers about the life of Michelangelo but she also carefully describes Michelangelo’s sculptures and paintings. In so doing she helps the readers see what it was about these works of art that made them so special and why Michelangelo is considered by many to be one of the greatest artists of all time. Beautifully reproduced photographs of Michelangelo’s works fill the book and provide a perfect backdrop for the text. Numerous quotations provide a further insight into Michelangelo’s life and world