Michelangelo Themes & Characters

Elizabeth Ripley
This Study Guide consists of approximately 7 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Michelangelo.
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Ripley describes Michelangelo's sculpture The Slave as an expression of the artist's life: "a tragic struggle to realize his gigantic dreams." Michelangelo's imagination seems limitless, but the reality of his human condition brings frustration as well as opportunity. Despite his extraordinary achievements, Michelangelo also experiences moments of resignation and compromise. The counterpoint of success and frustration constitutes the dominant theme in Ripley's book.

The biography's strict linear progression limits characterization in the usual literary sense. Except for Michelangelo himself, characters pass through the story too quickly for their motivations to become clear. For instance, Ludovico Buonarroti, Michelangelo's father, initially disapproves of his son's artistic career. Lorenzo de Medici changes Buonarroti's mind, but Ripley never clarifies whether Lorenzo achieves this by buying Buonarroti's principles or by inspiring him to embrace higher ones.

Buonarroti shows concern for his son in subsequent letters, which Ripley quotes briefly, but the relationship is not...

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This section contains 345 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Michelangelo Short Guide
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Michelangelo from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.