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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ART FILM FEATURE: THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY





Movie Review
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

NEW YORK, Oct. 8—Anyone who has ever had the painters working in his home cluttering the rooms with ladders and dropcloths and taking forever to finish the job, should have a particular sensitivity to the only tension that develops in Carol Reed's "The Agony and the "Ecstasy," which opened at Loew's State last night.

That is the friction that develops between Pope Julius II, and Michelangelo after the latter has been commissioned to paint frescoes on the ceiling of the Pope's private Sistine Chapel the great painter dawdles on the job, taking years to get the proper inspiration, and then complete the massive masterpiece.

No matter how much one may goggle in absolute wonder and awe at the creation of the Sistine Chapel frescoes, so ingeniously and magnificently represented in this huge color film, and no matter how much one may work up a certain historical respect for Michelangelo, the major if not the only feeling aroused by this more than two-hour work is one of sympathy with the mounting impatience of the Pope.

Here the proud man has commissioned the great Florentine artist to do a job that presumably should take him no more than a year or so. He has allowed him to crowd his favorite chapel with crude stairways and lofty scaffolding, from which the master and his assistants are frequently dropping brushes and dripping paint. He has grudgingly but generously conceded that he may paint whatever he will, despite the objections of certain critics among his cardinals. And then he is forced to wait.

Read full article here.

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