Extended Audio Sample

Download Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling Audiobook, by Ross King Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,262 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ross King Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2003 ISBN: 9781482975413
Regular Price: $21.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter (though famed for his sculpture David), Michelangelo was reluctant to begin the massive project.

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, the pope’s impatience, and a bitter rivalry with the brilliant young painter Raphael, Michelangelo created scenes so beautiful that they are considered one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this great work—from the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus to the young Martin Luther—and Ross King skillfully weaves them through his compelling historical narrative, offering uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history.

Download and start listening now!

b0la

Quotes & Awards

  • “King casts fiction’s spell…with expertise and contagious enthusiasm.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Splendid, thorough, and detailed…Sklar’s narration is perfect for the project. His lively and expressive reading add a realistic edge to a centuries-old tale. He speaks passionately and his accent on the Italian names and phrases is flawless.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • “A legend-busting, richly detailed account…a pleasure.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mireserenya | 2/20/2014

    " Ross King does an excellent job of telling the tale of Michelangelo's painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in context of the time. By juxtaposing Michelangelo's work on the ceiling with that of Raphael's frescos in the Pope's chambers, Mr. King reveals the interesting history of art. Like his other works, Mr. King tells the story in short vignettes loaded with detail and the occasional bit of wit. I recommend this book to people who are looking to get a broader understand of the history that surrounded the painting of the ceiling and motivated Michelangelo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Belinda | 2/16/2014

    " This was really quite good. It is the story of Michelangelo's commission to paint the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel. It is also a history of the times and Michelangelo's troubled relationship with the Pope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 2/6/2014

    " Very good story of the Sistine Chapel painting. Lots of good stories and historical relevance. Plus the art stuff. Fascinating book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig Mattson | 2/3/2014

    " One of my top ten for history! The author captures the atmosphere of the renaissance, the personalities of some amazing figures, and a nutty pope! Really, a great one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 1/23/2014

    " I really didn't think I would enjoy this book. I'm not a history fan. I'm not a non-fiction fan. But I was very interested in the whole story. It wasn't my cup of tea, but I still read the whole thing, so that's saying something. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 1/22/2014

    " I'll find more of King's book and read them. I found most of this book interesting if not fascinating. Reading primarily during my lunch hours, this book was a challenge to maintain to the flow. My only disappointment with this book was what I'll describe as a lack of painter's empathy. I never really felt like I could understand the thinking process that had to be burning like a rocket in Michelangelo's head. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 1/16/2014

    " What a fabulous account of Michelangelo's most well-known project. The author covers a wide range of topics in an approachable manner. I learned so many fascinating facts, which I will not divulge, as they may spoil your discovery. Written by the same man who wrote the novel "Ex-Libris." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 12/20/2013

    " Ross King has a wonderful knack for making history come to life - along with the ability to make the technical aspects of his books very understandable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ally | 11/12/2013

    " some points were interesting, but i found it hard to retain what i had read frm day-to-day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Benitha | 10/12/2013

    " If you have any interest in renaissance art or poltics this one's a must. Not a light read, as it's filled with many passages with intricate details and facts, it's also the brillantly simply tale of two oddly similar men. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Hollister | 9/13/2013

    " wonderful to read this book after seeing the sistine chapel in Rome last week. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina Bowers | 6/12/2013

    " A very detailed and interesting read on Michelangelo, other artists of his day, the Pope, and the time period. Good if you love art history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristy | 2/9/2013

    " I like the book, and really found some of the author's point of views very straight forward. I liked how he showed Michelangelo's struggle with the demands of the Pope and his own personal conflicts he was facing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carmen | 8/15/2012

    " Made me want to read everything I could about Michelangelo! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elisa M | 5/9/2012

    " I really just "skimmed" this book (is there an aural equivalent for skimming a book?), but I got some interesting tidbits from it. Also, I LOVED the narrator's voice. I could have listened to him read the phone book and been perfectly happy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. J. | 3/9/2012

    " Really enyoable story of the years Michelangelo spent painting the famous celing. Filled with factoids as to what was going on in the world at that time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel Dunn | 11/24/2011

    " i've been working on this book for about two years off and on. king basically builds the story around the painting of the sistine chapel, which is fascinating but also a bit dry at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelli | 10/26/2011

    " Loved this book...especially if you like non-fiction that reads like fiction. I love art history, so this was very interesting for me to read. Didn't realize that Michelangelo had so many struggles when painting the sistine chapel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 10/11/2011

    " Ahhhh! History as fiction! How wonderfully accessible and delightful to read, taking the reader directly into Michelangelo's world and the process of painting the Sistine Chapel....it's been a long time since I've read it, but I still reguard it at a favorite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeni | 8/15/2011

    " This is a dense book, but very interesting and detailed. I didn't think so much interesting information could come from a ceiling fresco, but it certainly can. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in art history or Catholicism of the 16th century. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mtiempo | 8/8/2011

    " A great book for those who have been fascinated by the Sistine Chapel and other great works of art. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 7/9/2011

    " What a fascinating and frightening place Renaissance Rome Italy was. King has a nice style, very readable. He gives all the relevant facts without being dry and boring. Michelangelo certainly comes across as a very complex man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Docia | 5/9/2011

    " Well, uh... this is about Michelangelo painting the Sistene chapel. What can I say? Holy shit! might be good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 4/6/2011

    " I need a trip to Rome so I can see the fresco with new insight! Loved the historical context for this time in Michelangelo's career, as well as the tidbits of what his relationships with family, clergy and other artists was like. Excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Benitha | 2/5/2011

    " If you have any interest in renaissance art or poltics this one's a must. Not a light read, as it's filled with many passages with intricate details and facts, it's also the brillantly simply tale of two oddly similar men. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/24/2011

    " Loved it! Now I have got to go really look at that Sistene Chapel. Amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/23/2011

    " Very good. review to come "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Guy | 1/12/2011

    " King illuminates political history of the papacy as well as the often consternating personality of Michelangelo. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 micha | 12/5/2010

    " I have read most of ross kings books. If you like history (especially art history) his books are great! I wish these had been my reading in college instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 10/16/2010

    " It was a little slow to start, but I enjoyed the remainder....each chapter covers one of the panels on the chapel and how Michelangelo developed it and it mixes in some of the history of Pope Julius II in parallel. Very intersting historical perspective. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Ross King

Ross King is the highly praised author of Brunelleschi’s Dome (the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year in 2000), Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling (on the New York Times extended bestseller list), The Judgment of Paris, Machiavelli, and two novels, Ex Libris and Domino. He lives outside Oxford in England.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.