Famously adapted for a film starring Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison, Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy is a classic among the biographical novel subgenre.
“Florence in the year 1475 was the intellectual and artistic center of the flowering Italian Renaissance. Into this gem-like city-state, ruled by the patron of arts and letters, Lorenzo de-Medici, was born one of the greatest geniuses the world has produced—Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, poet, architect, and engineer. Few artists have matched the grandeur of his conceptions, or the power of his creations. To know his life is to know the history of Italy’s glory. [...]
He fought with cardinals, princes, and popes for his precious commissions, made lifelong friends and lifelong enemies, and became known for his frightening terribilita. He spent four years lying on his back above the floor of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, painting the ceiling for Pope Julius II to earn the right to carve marble.
No body of work was ever created against a more formidable array of prejudice, jealousy, greed, and blind hostility. But Michelangelo was “God’s own child.” His personal life story, told here as a novel, constitutes as forceful a tale of conflict and dedication as his staggering creativity; for he was a universal man, robust in his appetites as well as in his humor, achieving the transition from the terror of the dark ages into the glorious modern era of the Golden Renaissance.
At the heart of The Agony and the Ecstasy is the magnificent story of Savonarola and the fiery background of religious wars, as well as the fierce competitions with such contemporaries as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and the architect Bramante. Irving Stone has taken for his own canvas all the revolutionary turmoil and pageantry of this turbulent epoch, and it is against the panorama of giants that Michelangelo’s life unfolds in a novel as exciting, dramatic, and unusual as the masterpieces he created.” (Flap copy)
- Title: The Agony and the Ecstasy: the biographical novel of Michelangelo
- Author: Irving Stone
- Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
- Place: Garden City, New York
- Year: 1961
- Edition: First Edition
- Length: 664pp
- Dimensions: 5” x 9.5”
- Condition: The dustjacket is generally intact, fractured and torn in some places and with some cracking along the folds. The cream cloth-covered boards are in great condition with gilt particulars on the spine. The pages are clean, only slightly yellowed--no extraneous marks or torn pages. Pages 491-504 and 581-586 have folds along the bottom corners.