Michelangelo: A Life on Paper

Book jacket

(Book jacket image courtesy of the publisher)

Poems, grocery lists and other works provide fascinating insights into Michelangelo’s personality — at times introspective and melancholy, at other moments light-hearted and irreverent.

In his book Michelangelo: A Life on Paper, Leonard Barkan, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Comparative Literature, explores the interplay of words and images on more than 200 of the artist’s personal drawings and writings.

“They are things he produced for his eyes only, or for the eyes of a very few people,” said Barkan, who traveled to Italy, England and France to examine hundreds of sheets of paper used by Michelangelo during his 75-year career. “They are doodles — verbal and visual doodles — and accidents of inspiration. They give us a sense of what was on his mind.”

Princeton University Press, 2010