Michelangelo emphatically declared that architecture "non sia mia arte." So when and how did Michelangelo become an architect? One might speculate that designing the monumental tomb of Julius II in 1505 prompted him to think like an architect. Some scholars would point to the painted architecture of the Sistine ceiling (1508––12). Or one may legitimately argue that Michelangelo's career as an architect began only with the San Lorenzo faççade in 1516, when the artist was forty years old. As Cammy Brothers clearly demonstrates in her stimulating new study, Michelangelo came to architecture slowly. And much of this early activity——the tomb of Julius II, the Sistine Chapel, and even the San Lorenzo faççade——is, as Brothers ably describes, less architecture than a "means of constructing a frame around figures." Michelangelo was still thinking primarily as a sculptor. Indeed, among its many contributions, the...

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