Author: John T. Spike

Publisher: New York: The Vendome Press

ISBN: 978-0-86565-166-8

Click Here To Purchase Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine: A Biography


This biography of Michelangelo covers the years in which he was striving for public recognition of his artistic genius, so should be of interest not only to all those interested in Renaissance art, but also to all up and coming young professionals. In those days, prior to our current unprecedented levels of mass media hype, how did one gain widespread publicity and attain elevated levels of self-promotion? How, in brief, did one make a name for oneself? Starting by drawing over his master’s drawings so as to improve the latter and challenging the older students in the sculpture studio was not bound to win him any popularity with either his instructor, or with members of his peer group, though it did start Michelangelo on his way to greatness. In short, he was lacking neither in talent, nor in ambition, having much in common with many of our modern-day winners of “Idols”. After the initial rejection of some of his early work, most notably that of a Bacchus reeling from drink, he restores his own credibility by unleashing the virile David from a ruined block of marble. His obsession with the telling of his own story is also not unique to his time – how many aspirant hopefuls are not obsessed with the telling of their own tale? Underwriting Ascanio Condivi’s biography of his life, as well as two editions of Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists, sounds all the more familiar in the modern age of ghost writing and vaunting by publicists of the greatness of artists’ work.


However, the truth will out, and that is exactly where John T. Spike’s biography excels. Through painstaking research and a determination to get to the bottom of things, he reveals the reality of both the life and times of the young Michelangelo. His writing exposes to us the vulnerability of the great man, as well as the fallacies and foibles of his age – a heady experience. Spike also does not stint on illustrations of Michelangelo’s work in this fascinating 312-page biography, containing 60 illustrations, many of which are in color. His 17-page bibliography attests to the extent of his research and to the depths of his insight into the life and early artistic emanations of this master of the Italian Renaissance. As critic, curator, and art historian, Dr. John T. Spike is eminently suited for the task of unraveling the intricacies of the past. With more than twenty culturally significant books on Renaissance, Baroque, and contemporary art to his name, and a career during which he has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford, Spike has established himself as a leading expert in the field. Not only that, but he’s also a damn fine writer too, who will have you glued to the page from start to finish.


Labeled by Rosa King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling as “one of our most astute and readable authorities on the Italian Renaissance…[who] approaches the artist through a compelling blend of solid scholarship, animated storytelling, and shrewd insight”, Spikes does merit to the artist and his work.  Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine should be prescribed reading for all with an active interest in Renaissance art, whatever their level of knowledge and expertise on the subject.      

Click Here To Purchase Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine: A Biography