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From Marble to Flesh. The Biography of Michelangelo's David

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Michelangelo's David is the world s most famous statue, a universal symbol of Florence and of Italy. Hailed as the epitome of Renaissance art, the David has inspired contemporary artists from Warhol to Banksy and has been reproduced in life-size copies all over the globe. Why does a 500-year-old statue of a religious figure continue to resonate so deeply today? The answer Michelangelo's David is the world s most famous statue, a universal symbol of Florence and of Italy. Hailed as the epitome of Renaissance art, the David has inspired contemporary artists from Warhol to Banksy and has been reproduced in life-size copies all over the globe. Why does a 500-year-old statue of a religious figure continue to resonate so deeply today? The answer lies in the captivating story of Michelangelo s David. It is a tale rich in conflict, tension, controversy and cultural meaning. Author Victor Coonin tells this story not as ancient history but as a centuries-long biography right up to the present day. What started simply as a monumental block of Carrara marble took on new vigour in Michelangelo s gifted hands. The statue is both life-like and larger than life: an embodiment of human accomplishment, of perfection, magnificence and beauty. The David has a life of his own, and this life succeeds in telling us something about ourselves.


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Michelangelo's David is the world s most famous statue, a universal symbol of Florence and of Italy. Hailed as the epitome of Renaissance art, the David has inspired contemporary artists from Warhol to Banksy and has been reproduced in life-size copies all over the globe. Why does a 500-year-old statue of a religious figure continue to resonate so deeply today? The answer Michelangelo's David is the world s most famous statue, a universal symbol of Florence and of Italy. Hailed as the epitome of Renaissance art, the David has inspired contemporary artists from Warhol to Banksy and has been reproduced in life-size copies all over the globe. Why does a 500-year-old statue of a religious figure continue to resonate so deeply today? The answer lies in the captivating story of Michelangelo s David. It is a tale rich in conflict, tension, controversy and cultural meaning. Author Victor Coonin tells this story not as ancient history but as a centuries-long biography right up to the present day. What started simply as a monumental block of Carrara marble took on new vigour in Michelangelo s gifted hands. The statue is both life-like and larger than life: an embodiment of human accomplishment, of perfection, magnificence and beauty. The David has a life of his own, and this life succeeds in telling us something about ourselves.

30 review for From Marble to Flesh. The Biography of Michelangelo's David

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Cohick

    I enjoyed it overall. It was a really good look at the life behind the statue - including all of the socio-political dealings that came with it. The author generally brought the statue itself to life, along with Michelangelo's artistic ability - though there were certainly some slower spots and redundancies. I enjoyed it overall. It was a really good look at the life behind the statue - including all of the socio-political dealings that came with it. The author generally brought the statue itself to life, along with Michelangelo's artistic ability - though there were certainly some slower spots and redundancies.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kiely

    a very thorough and well-considered "biography" of the most famous sculpture of all time. a very thorough and well-considered "biography" of the most famous sculpture of all time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Monica Gallamore

    I love this book. I love it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Rector

    I love how this traces David from the time the marble is quarried to present time. Fascinating story. Very detailed, so not for someone who likes a quick read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jjfisherjr

    Mr. Coonin has added a breezy, fascinating history to the otherwise meagre list of titles that cover one of Michelangelo's most famous (or infamous depending on your worldview) sculptures. He covers the usual topics, but he goes a little further and adds new ones that I'd never heard of. The social and art history of David make for some thoughtful reading. It is surprising to learn that David was rather neglected during much of his time standing outdoors, little regarded and mostly overlooked by Mr. Coonin has added a breezy, fascinating history to the otherwise meagre list of titles that cover one of Michelangelo's most famous (or infamous depending on your worldview) sculptures. He covers the usual topics, but he goes a little further and adds new ones that I'd never heard of. The social and art history of David make for some thoughtful reading. It is surprising to learn that David was rather neglected during much of his time standing outdoors, little regarded and mostly overlooked by almost all the tourists coming to Florence during the Grand Tour era. Not until David started leaning and showing extensive wear and tear in the late 19th century did anyone sit up and take notice. I guess that is how it goes with a lot of masterpieces: they start off with a big flourish, get forgotten and then eventually rediscovered. I purchased the Kindle version of this book but like another person commented, my only quibble is with the sparse, lackluster illustrations. I don't know how they looked in the print copy, but I have a feeling they must've looked a lot better. I almost wish the publisher had skipped including them in the Kindle version as they were that bad. My only complaint is that when you have a title about a sculpture, you can't include enough good photos to help give the reader a better sense of the spatial quality and appearance. With so few included here in this title, that is the only thing that made me drop a star from this otherwise excellent book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sophiam

    From Marble to Flesh is as seductive as its subject. From it's structure to its scholarly depth, the book illustrates the varies views of the stature and its complex history, but clearly indicates that the author has so much more to say about the David while satisfying its reader just enough. The photos and illustrations work seamlessly with the text and are high above the standard set by most art historical texts. And the design of the Chapters shows Florentine presses are at the cutting edge o From Marble to Flesh is as seductive as its subject. From it's structure to its scholarly depth, the book illustrates the varies views of the stature and its complex history, but clearly indicates that the author has so much more to say about the David while satisfying its reader just enough. The photos and illustrations work seamlessly with the text and are high above the standard set by most art historical texts. And the design of the Chapters shows Florentine presses are at the cutting edge of art and design still today. They will invite even the most novice art appreciator. I especially loved the section about moving the David from the Piazza in the late 1800s. Coonin paints the scene of such careful conservators moving the piece over several days the distance of a fifteen minute walk. The book concludes with a bright future for the statue as well as predictions for its continued safekeeping. What a great adventure. Now I'll have to go on a real adventure to Florence.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Very engaging and approachable discussion regarding the history of Michelangelo's "David" - history both from the Renaissance and up to today. This is a book that can appeal to all kinds of people, not just art historians. Coonin writes in an easy-to-read manner, but also takes time to define any art history term that is necessary for the reader to understand. I read this as an eBook and was a bit disappointed in the low quality of the resolution of the images; sometimes it was difficult to see w Very engaging and approachable discussion regarding the history of Michelangelo's "David" - history both from the Renaissance and up to today. This is a book that can appeal to all kinds of people, not just art historians. Coonin writes in an easy-to-read manner, but also takes time to define any art history term that is necessary for the reader to understand. I read this as an eBook and was a bit disappointed in the low quality of the resolution of the images; sometimes it was difficult to see what the author was trying to point out in the images themselves, and enlarging the images on my device made the pictures just look grainy. But I did like that there were a lot of images and that they were in color.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Simonetta Carr

    Absolutely amazing. Well written, engaging, and accurate. The pictures are stunning. The best book available on the David.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rambling Reader

    enjoyable book on perhaps the most famous sculpture by Michelangelo.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cris

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  13. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  17. 4 out of 5

    KT

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily H.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheikh Tajamul

  23. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey Makstutis

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Audet

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Galano

  28. 4 out of 5

    ed garcia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen Sikorski

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rrendaci

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