January 29, 2004
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Standish Room, New Library
8:00 p.m. Reading
Introduction by William Hedberg
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
|National Book Critics Circle|
Award Nomination for 2003
Ross King, author of bestselling art history books, excels at vivid portrayals of the historical period known as the Renaissance, with its half-mad and gifted artists, political intrigues, technical advances, corrupt popes and sexual libertines.
Kingís most recent bestseller is Michelangelo and the Popeís Ceiling, a fun, readable retelling of the painting of the Sistine Chapel that supplies many new and fascinating details about that great artistic project while debunking many popular myths.
"[An] intricately detailed history of the making of one of the signal masterpieces of Western civilization. . .A cornucopia of intriguing information." - The Boston Globe
"an enthralling thriller" . . . "Kingís account of titanic creativity in the maelstrom of 16th century Rome is a triumph." - The London Independent
" [King] neatly combines scholarship with a novelistís sense of narrative and character. He brings to life the temperamental artist, his formidable patron, Pope Julius II, and his arch-rival, Raphael, peppering his narrative with oddly intriguing information about Renaissance Italy. Where else can you learn that Lorenzo de Medici owned the only giraffe in Europe and that it died after banging its head on one of the beams in the Florentine rulerís palace?" - The London Sunday Times
Kingís 2000 book, Brunelleschiís Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The story of the largest dome ever built using only bricks and mortar, Brunelleschiís Dome presents the cantankerous father of Renaissance architecture and explains, in readable laymanís terms, the remarkable advances he pioneered in the field of architecture.
"There's an art to writing about how things work, and, in the tradition of Henry Petroski and Tracy Kidder, Ross King has a knack for explaining complicated processes in a manner that is not only lucid but downright intriguing. In addition to his fascinating descriptions of Brunelleschi's inventions and methods, King fills in the equally fascinating biographical and historical background. We get a good sense of Brunelleschi's peppery personality (he enjoyed devising elaborate, rather spiteful, practical jokes), his rivalry with the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti and the exciting, tumultuous world of the quattrocento Florentine republic." - The Los Angeles Times
King is also the author of two historical novels, Domino (1995) and Ex-Libris (2001). A novel of intrigue set in the world of 18th century opera, "Domino" was released in its first U.S. edition in 2002."Domino comes decked out with splendid esoterica as King gives us not just a whole invented Handel opera but the context in which to appreciate it, not just the career of the fictional Sir Endymion but the exact cost of art supplies in 1770ís London." - The New York Times
Ex-Libris is a thriller about books and booksellers set in 18th century London. Publishers Weekly said that "The world of the novel is satisfyingly complete, from its ornate syntax and vocabulary to the Dickensian names of its charactersÖ; its beleaguered, likable narrator is fully developed; and its fast-paced action is intricately conceived. Fans of literary thrillersÖ will delight in this suspenseful, confident and intelligent novel."
Born and raised in Canada, Ross King has lived in England since 1992. Michelangelo and the Popeís Ceiling was nominated for a 2003 Governor Generalís Literary Award, Canadaís highest literary honor.