Michelangelo's Christian Mysticism

Michelangelo's Christian Mysticism : Spirituality, Poetry and Art in Sixteenth-Century Italy

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In this book, Sarah Rolfe Prodan examines the spiritual poetry of Michelangelo in light of three contexts: the Catholic Reformation movement, Renaissance Augustinianism, and the tradition of Italian religious devotion. Prodan combines a literary, historical, and biographical approach to analyze the mystical constructs and conceits in Michelangelo's poems, thereby deepening our understanding of the artist's spiritual life in the context of Catholic Reform in the mid-sixteenth century. Prodan also demonstrates how Michelangelo's poetry is part of an Augustinian tradition that emphasizes mystical and moral evolution of the self. Examining such elements of early modern devotion as prayer, lauda singing, and the contemplation of religious images, Prodan provides a unique perspective on the subtleties of Michelangelo's approach to life and to art. Throughout, Prodan argues that Michelangelo's art can be more deeply understood when considered together with his poetry, which points to a spirituality that deeply informed all of his production.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 16 colour illus.
  • 1139899279
  • 9781139899277

Review quote

'Sarah Prodan succeeds with exemplary thoroughness, sensitivity, and balance in laying out the imbricated components of Michelangelo's poetic imaginary, from the canonical - Dante, Petrarch, Ficinian Neoplatonism - to the familiar but less exhaustively explored, particularly St Augustine, the Catholic Reformation, and the realm of popular piety, such as sung laude (which Michelangelo would have heard in the milieu of Lorenzo de' Medici, himself an author in this genre) ... this volume offers the most comprehensive and integrated discussion of Michelangelo's spiritual poetry since Robert Clements's magisterial The Poetry of Michelangelo (1965).' James M. Saslow, Renaissance and Reformationshow more

About Sarah Rolfe Prodan

Sarah Rolfe Prodan is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, where she has designed and taught cultural history courses for the Renaissance Studies program and lectured on Italian language and literature. Her research interests include Michelangelo, the Italian Reformation, and the intersection of literature and art in the Italian religious culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Prodan has been interviewed on Michelangelo and on the Renaissance for both audio-visual and print media and she has participated in numerous international conferences as a speaker and as an organizer. A published translator of French and Italian, and a scholarly writer, her work has appeared in such journals as Quaderni d'italianistica, Confraternitas, and Annali d'italianistica. Most recently she co-edited a volume on friendship and pre-modern Europe.show more

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Michelangelo and Renaissance Augustinianism: 1. 'The sea, the mountain, and the fire with the sword': an Augustinian pilgrimage?; 2. 'The sea': the vicissitudes of inordinate love, or hell as habit; 3. 'The mountain': acedia and the mind's presumption to ascend; 4. 'The fire with the sword': grace and divine presence; Conclusion; Part II. Michelangelo and Viterban Spirituality: 5. The benefit of Christ; 6. The action of the spirit; 7. Michelangelo's Viterban poetics; 8. Aesthetics, reform, and Viterban sociability; Conclusion.show more