Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Club: The Agony and the Ecstasy


In addition to seeing new things and having more adventures, one thing I was really looking forward to upon starting this journey was the ability to have more free time to read. Reading books is so important to developing a stronger vocabulary, becoming a better conversationalist, and overall, learning new things.

I've always enjoyed the feeling of being immersed in a really good book. For the last several years, I've struggled to find the balance in life to allow myself enough time and thinking space to let my mind really dive into books. I've read a few here and there, but in the future, I'd like to live a life where I always have the desire, the mental space, and the ability to be immersed in a good book. 

I just finished "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by Irving Stone, a biography written about Michelangelo's magnificent life. First and foremost, this book made me want to travel to Italy, specifically Florence. Through Michelangelo's art, the author tells the story of Italy's history and culture. Michelangelo's love for his hometown of Florence is so strong that in addition to seeing all his magnificent works there, I want to travel there to better understand how this city influenced and raised such a brilliant artistic genius. 

The dedication and devotion that Michelangelo gave to his trade was incredible and inspiring. It made me want to develop a passion so strong that sacrifices to complete that thing do not feel like sacrifices. 

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. 
"Listen, my friend: it's pleasant to get used to the expensive, the soft, the comfortable. Once you're addicted,it's so easy to become a sycophant, to trim the sails of your judgment in order to be kept on. The next step is to change your work to please those in power, and that is death to the sculptor."
"Did God really rest on the seventh day? In the cool of that long afternoon, when He was refreshed, might He not have asked Himself, "Whom have I on earth to speak for me? I had best create another species, one apart. I will call him 'artist.' His will be the task to bring meaning and beauty to the world."
"Drawing, like food, drink, and sleep, puts strength back into a man."
"Man passes. Only works of art are immortal."
That night, as he lay sleepless in bed, he thought, "Life has been good. God did not create me to abandon me. I have loved marble, yes, and paint too. I have loved architecture, and poetry too. I have loved my family and my friends. I have loved God, the forms of the earth and ther heavens, and people too. I have loved life to the full, and now I love death as it's natural termination. Il Magnifico would be happy: for me, the forces of destruction never overcame creativity."

1 comment:

Erica Crismon said...

ooh, the agony and the ecstasy is one of my favorites! i think that is where my love for michaelangelo and anything italian begun. that book was my motivation for speaking italian. i'm glad you liked it!