The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961) is a biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarroti written by American author Irving Stone. Stone lived in Italy for years visiting many of the locations in Rome and Florence, worked in marble quarries, and apprenticed himself to a marble sculptor. A primary source for the novel is Michelangelo's correspondence, all 495 letters of which Stone had translated from Italian by Charles Speroni and published in 1962 as I, Michelangelo, Sculptor. Stone also collaborated with Canadian sculptor Stanley Lewis, who researched Michelangelo's carving technique and tools. The Italian government lauded Stone with several honorary awards for his cultural achievements highlighting Italian history.
Stone wrote some biographical novels, but this one and Lust for Life are best known, in large part because both had major Hollywood film adaptations.
Part of the 1961 novel was adapted to film in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), starring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II.
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