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The Last Judgment

The Last Judgment

Michelangelo and the Death of the Renaissance

James A. Connor

St. Martin's Press


Painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, 28 years after Michelangelo completed the glorious and hopeful ceiling, The Last Judgment is full of stark images depicting the End of Days. James Connor uses the famous fresco as the lens by which to view the end of the Renaissance, arguing that Michelangelo's imagery and composition reflect the religious and political upheavals of the time.

Combining his flair for storytelling with incisive historical analysis, Connor demonstrates how the Counter-Reformation arose from the ashes of Renaissance Italy, and how that sea change altered the course of Western history.

Praise for The Last Judgment

“Connor's narrative is compelling, his writing vivid and evocative. [...] An indispensable perspective for the general reader as well as fresh insights for the specialist.” —Publishers Weekly

“Connor gives a full and fascinating account of the history and personalities involved in the creation of one of the world's most forbidding and beautiful frescoes. The Last Judgment is also readable and succinct, and it offers intriguing insights into a culture hastening towards its own destruction.” —Ross King, bestselling author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

“James Connor clarifies the dizzying Renaissance swirl of science, politics, art and war with language as vivid and colorful as a newly cleaned fresco.” —Mary Doria Russell, bestselling author of The Sparrow and A Thread of Grace

“The 17th century was a rough, bloody time in which ignorance, corruption, and religious hatred often trumped knowledge, ethical behavior, and religious tolerance...By showing Kepler's inability to shield his own mother, Connor drives this point forcibly home.” —The Los Angeles Times on Kepler's Witch

“A compelling and readable study of one of the most influential thinkers in religious history.” —Booklist on Pascal's Wager


Reviews from Goodreads

James A. Connor

James A. Connor is currently a professor of english at Kean University and a former Jesuit priest. He is the author of three books: Silent Fire, Kepler's Witch and Pascal's Wager. He lives in Rahway, New Jersey.

image of James A. Connoro

James A. Connor

St. Martin's Press

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