First Prize, Apollo Magazine on-line competition
"This compelling biography reinterprets the early life and career of one of the greatest artists in history..."
Apollo Magazine, March 2011
“Spike captures his magnetism, his drive and the sheer scale of his ambition.... A veteran biographer of Caravaggio, Masaccio and Fra Angelico, Spike relates Michelangelo’s wanderings to his restlessness and the troubles of his era, from the rise of the fundamentalist preacher Savonarola in Florence to the many skirmishes provoked by Rome’s bellicose Julius.”
Sarah Bakewell, The Sunday Times, February 20, 2011
“No art historian has got closer to him than John T Spike. The Florence-based American, whose coup here is his access to the artist’s recently published financial accounts and consequently enhanced understanding of his dealings with patrons, is an immensely flexible writer who has produced a book of alternating pans and zooms....
At the same time, however, the worldly dealings that Spike recounts, and his textured reconstruction of the times that his subject moved moodily through, make the artist seem more human than ever before. We’re left with a Michelangelo who lived on earth as a man, but also had an element of the unearthly about him.
Though it probably only portends a trilogy, it’s perhaps no accident that Spike’s narrative ends in the artist’s 33rd year.”
Martin Herbert, The Telegraph, February 19, 2011
“As John T Spike argues in this crisply thorough biography, Michelangelo Buonarroti, like so many men of talent, seems to have known his own worth almost from the moment he came into the world....Certainly the man Spike gives us is an altogether more worldly figure than the agonized ecstatic served up by Irving Stone and Charlton Heston on the silver screen.” Christopher Bray, Daily Express, February 18, 2011
“John T. Spike, an art historian, curator and critic, has done some impressive research to flesh out the early years of the artist's life, right up until his return to Rome in 1508 to focus on a commission in the Sistine Chapel. The young sculptor's daunting talent and quest to earn as much money as possible are woven into the story of the Italian Renaissance and the outsized figures of the age.” Washington Post, Sunday, February 20, 2011
“Young Michelangelo is dense with information but also written with grace...get the book.”
Stephen Hand, IMAGE: A Journal of Art, Faith and Mystery, January 20, 2011
“Spike, a renowned art critic, curator, and author, is the first modern writer to create such a comprehensive account of the master’s early life and rise to fame amid the political upheaval in the Papal States and Florentine Republic.”
Art + Auction, December 2010
"Spike's original and valuable approach to studying [Michelangelo's] childhood, development, and reputation as one of the greats of the Renaissance provides a deeper understanding of such a wondrous, almost mythic figure. An essential book for Renaissance collections and devotees."
Ellen Bates, Library Journal, October 15, 2010
“This erudite but immensely readable account is essential for anyone who desires to know more about Michelangelo’s formation.”
David Alan Brown, National Gallery of Art
“Making the most of Michelangelo’s ample correspondence and the recently published records of his extensive banking transactions, Spike has drawn an astonishingly vivid portrait of the artist’s first 33 years. This highly readable book leaves one wishing the author would complete Michelangelo’s life with his wonderful grasp of the artist’s tenacious personality and Herculean achievement.”
Everett Fahy, Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Tense and agile as an early sculpture, Young Michelangelo is a compelling portrait of the artist as a young man in a dangerous time.”
Peter Robb, Author of M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio
"Spike crystallizes historical detail into vivid, memorable imagery.... Alternating between accounts of the turbulent political atmosphere and details of Michelangelo's most private moments in the sculpture studio,
Spike creates a rich narrative that promises more intrigue than the best adventure novel."
Publishers Weekly, 26 July 2010
“John Spike’s excellent account of the master's early trajectory focuses on his years up to 1507....Spike offers a compelling portrait not just of a young artist staking out his turf but of the cast of characters who made this one of the liveliest eras in art history.”
Ann Landi, ARTnews, January 2011
Inside the Writer’s Cafe with the Dallas Book Diva, Cheryl Nason
To listen to Cheryl Nason’s interview with John T. Spike available in MP3 format, just click here.
February 11, 2011: Interview with Mark Coles, BBC World Service flagship arts programme The Strand – John Spike “Young Michelangelo”
February 25, 2011: Moncrieff with Sean Moncrieff. Newstalk Radio Ireland - John Spike "Young Michelangelo
YOUNG MICHELANGELO: The Path to the Sistine by John T. Spike (New York: Vendome Press 2010; London: Duckworth Overlook 2011)
Available at Amazon.com
IL GIOVANE MICHELANGELO: La nascita di un genio, John T. Spike (Roma, elliot editore, 2011)
Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti, exh. cat. Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA and Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Centro Di Florence, 2013