The author of the acclaimed BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME tells the extraordinary story of the four years during which Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Although the artist considered himself a sculptor, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo as a painter. With only scant knowledge of the art of fresco, Michelangelo created figures so beautiful that when they were unveiled in 1512, they stunned the onlookers. Ross King chronicles what went into this monumental project: not only Michelangelo's experiments with the composition of pigment and plaster, but also his ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, and bitter rivalry with Raphael, who was working on the neighboring Papal Apartments. A masterly picture of day-to-day life on the scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early sixteenth-century Rome.