Imaginative Michelangelo- Agony and the Ecstacy

Irvine Stone's novel "The Agony and the Ecstasy" captures the life and work of Michelangelo the artist. Within the biographical novel are themes that signify the artist's talent and expression by form of his masterpieces as well as his life experience. Such themes as Transcendence/Permanence, Communication/Commentary, Self Expression/Self Exaltation, and Patronage/Functionality, intervene throughout the novel and serve us a way to recognize credible attributes of the artist. A few astounding creations that expose the four themes include the famous Pieta, Sistine chapel, and Hercules.
A tremendous amount of detail and care is evident in numerous works of Michelangelo, yet the Pieta is one that stands apart for such recognition. The amount of time put towards the piece emphasizes the sincerity of the artist's passion. By observing the Pieta's emotion driven subject, Mary and Jesus, a moment of transcendence is breeched. Taking a year and half to complete, Michelangelo was able to portray Mary as young and filled with compassion as she was in his conception. "He could not conceive of her as a woman in her mid 50's, old, wrinkled, broken in body and face by labor of worry. His image of the Virgin had always been that of a young woman, even as the memory of his mother." (pg.342). Here, in the Pieta, the artist was able to transcend time and enter into an eternal and ideal picture that was in his mind. It is also noted that such transcendence in the Pieta overlaps the theme of Self-Expression/Self Exaltation as Mary's beauty is contrasted with his own mother's. Similar to the emotion driven portrayal of Mary, Michelangelo dealt with the sorrowful subject entwined with Christ's crucifixion. "The Pieta was the end, the preordained conclusion of everything that Mary had decided in that fateful hour God had allotted to her."(pg.327).The way in which Michelangelo brought …


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