Michelangelo and the Viewer in His Time

Bernadine Barnes

Michelangelo and the Viewer in His Time

Bernadine Barnes

Distributed for Reaktion Books

240 pages | 40 color plates, 20 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781780237404 Will Publish May 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Today most of us enjoy the work of famed Renaissance artist Michelangelo by perusing art books or strolling along the galleries of a museum—and the luckier of us have had a chance to see his extraordinary frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But as Bernadine Barnes shows in this book, even a visit to a well-preserved historical sight doesn’t quite afford the experience the artist intended us to have. Bringing together the latest historical research, she offers us an accurate account of how Michelangelo’s art would have been seen in its own time.
           
As Barnes shows, Michelangelo’s works were made to be viewed in churches, homes, and political settings, by people who brought their own specific needs and expectations to them. Rarely were his paintings and sculptures viewed in quiet isolation—as we might today in the stark halls of a museum. Instead, they were an integral part of ritual and ceremonies, and viewers would have experienced them under specific lighting conditions and from particular vantages; they would have moved through spaces in particular ways and been compelled to relate various works with others nearby. Reconstructing some of the settings in which Michelangelo’s works appeared, Barnes reassembles these experiences for the modern viewer. Moving throughout his career, she considers how his audience changed, and how this led him to produce works for different purposes, sometimes for conventional religious settings, but sometimes for more open-minded patrons. She also shows how the development of print and art criticism changed the nature of the viewing public, further altering the dynamics between artist and audience.
           
Historically attuned, this book encourages today’s viewers to take a fresh look at this iconic artist, seeing his work as they were truly meant to be seen.
 
Review Quotes
Victor Coonin, Rhodes College
“Barnes presents a lucid, readable, and jargon-free account of Michelangelo’s art with a particular emphasis on understanding it in light of his viewers. The book provides a concise, reliable history of Michelangelo’s major works and the Renaissance context in which it was produced. Well illustrated, with many color plates, it is a welcome addition to the Michelangelo literature and students will be well served by this up-to-date and reasoned approach.”
William E. Wallace, Washington University
“How did individuals and society at large respond to Michelangelo’s art? This is the central question explored in Barnes’s refreshingly original examination of Michelangelo’s life, works, and varied audiences. Barnes leaves aside the heroic but fictionalized story of Michelangelo the lone genius to focus on the private individuals and viewing public who were highly attentive to how the artist’s creations were seen and displayed, praised and criticized.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Reaktion Books. RSS Feed