Book Review: Michelangelo, God’s Architect by William E. Wallace

“In his personal life, Michelangelo was a persistent pessimist, yet when it came to his professional work, he was a perennial but unrealistic optimist.”

William E. Wallace, Michelangelo, God’s Architect

Title: Michelangelo, God’s Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece
Author: William E. Wallace
Genres: Non-fiction, Art, History
Length: 8 hrs, 44 mins
Published: October 15th, 2019

My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 6/18/2022 – 6/22/2022


I distinctly remember first learning about Michelangelo in first-grade art class. My interest was sparked then and, up to now, I thought I had a decent grasp on his works and career. Apparently not. I missed out on the entire architecture career toward the end of his life. Needless to say, I learned a lot from this book. 

While works like the Pieta and Sistine Chapel were mentioned as well as a later-in-life biography, the book mostly focuses on Michelangelo’s work for various Popes and namely helping to design St. Peter’s Basilica. Having taken this on at an advanced age, he of course didn’t live to see its completion, however, it still stands today along with his several other famous works. 

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Short and sweet. There wasn’t excessive detail and remained true to the era of Michelangelo’s life that’s stated in the title. There were enough mentions of his early life and career that illustrated a thorough picture.
  • No modern-day politics. So many books can’t resist this temptation nowadays. This was a book about Michelangelo and Michelangelo alone.

What I didn’t like:

  • The ending was a bit abrupt.
  • The writing was dry in places and my mind would begin to wander.


I’m so mad at myself for not appreciating the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica when I was blessed to be able to visit. I was so focused on the Sistine Chapel (which was breathtaking) that I hurried passed almost every other piece of artwork displayed in the Vatican Museum. One-track mind… I hope to be able to go back someday. I did get a couple of photos at least which I’ll share below.

This book also discussed Michelangelo’s statue of Moses which looks absolutely grand in pictures. That would also be amazing to see in person. I’m going to be on the hunt now for a book containing photos of all the surviving pieces.

Where to buy the book:

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