This book opens with a giant block of marble standing in a courtyard in Florence and tells the story of how that chunk of rock became Michelangelo’s iconic statue of David. The book doesn’t break any new ground historically, and it doesn’t rely on primary documents, but the clever structure makes it a great introduction to Michelangelo. Focusing first on the marble rather than on Michelangelo actually helps us see the artist more clearly because we understand better the world in which he worked.
The writing is rich with sensory details:
In summer the stone dust mingled with the sweat on his skin and made a kind of mud. In winter his breath hung in the air. He stopped only when he had to, to eat or to sleep.
Even if you don’t have plans for a trip to Florence in the near future, it’s worth visiting the statue David here in this book.
Check out the one minute trailer for the book.
Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be by Jane Sutcliffe, illustrated by John Shelley. Charlesbridge: 2014.