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Free MonkeyNotes Summary-The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone-Notes
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Major Characters

Michelangelo Buonarroti

The great sculptor of Italy, whose life is a saga of The Agony and the Ecstasy. He loves marble and is happiest when he is carving on it. As a man, he is kind and generous but forthright in his manner.

Francesco Granacci

A talented painter groomed under Signor Ghirlandaio, he is a true friend to Michelangelo and helps the sculptor in times of trouble. He is sensible and practical and believes in living life to the full.

Lorenzo De Medici

Michelangeloís patron and admirer, he encourages the artist to unfurl his talent as a sculptor. A lover of art and literature, he likes being in the midst of scholars and artists. A kind and a generous man, he is a good father and a friend.


The beautiful daughter of Lorenzo Medici, she charms Michelangelo with her beauty and innocence before becoming his friend. She is an admirer of art and appreciates Michelangelo as a sculptor. Even after she gets married and becomes the mother of three children, she retains her friendship with Michelangelo.

Minor Characters


The greedy father of Michelangelo, he keeps demanding money from him till he breathes his last. He is selfish and insensitive to the feelings of Michelangelo.


The second wife of Lodovico and the stepmother of Michelangelo, she is a good wife, mother and cook.

Aunt Cassandra

The sister of Lodovico and aunt of Michelangelo, she lives with the family for forty years before shifting to her ancestral home.


Son of Lodovico and brother of Michelangelo, he is kind and helpful. He loves Michelangelo and helps him settle down in Rome. He is also grateful to Michelangelo for helping him financially.


The fanatical brother of Michelangelo, he becomes a staunch follower of Savonarola and leaves home to stay in the monastery. Years later, he gets disillusioned with the religious order and seeks the help of Michelangelo to return home.


A famous painter, he takes the thirteen year old Michelangelo as his apprentice and teaches him the intricacies of fresco painting. He is kind and protective towards his students.


The elderly master of sculpture, he trains Michelangelo in the art of sculpting in the marble garden and reveals the magic of the marble to the young artist.


A handsome young sculptor, who gets acquainted with Michelangelo in the sculpture garden. Later, getting jealous of the talent of Michelangelo and the great artistsí influence with Lorenzo Medici, Torrigiani smashes the nose of the boy and disfigures his face.

Signor Aldovrandi

A kind and generous Bolognese aristocrat, who acts as the guardian of Michelangelo when the artist visits the city. He also helps Michelangelo get a commission.


The charming and youthful mistress of Marco Aldovrandi, she attracts Michelangelo with her beauty and sensuality. Michelangelo falls in love with her and has an affair with her.


The Bolognese terra-cotta sculptor, he envies Michelangelo for his talent and fame and turns hostile towards the latter.

Piero Medici

He becomes the ruler of Florence after his fatherís demise. He is arrogant and ignorant in the art of governance.

The Topolinos

The marble cutters of Settignano, they are dedicated in their task. They understand the feelings of Michelangelo and provide him moral support whenever the artist needs it.


The fanatic Christian preacher, he mesmerizes the Florentines with his powerful speeches and makes them his slaves. He is ruthless and insensitive towards artists.

Sangalo Sr.

An able architect, he designs the house and studio of Michelangelo. A Florentine, he becomes the official architect of Rome before Bramante takes over from him.

Leo Baglioni

He acts as an envoy to Cardinal Riaro and takes Michelangelo to Rome. He provides accommodation to the artist and helps him settle down in Rome.

Cardinal Riario

An influential man in Rome, he invites Michelangelo to the city and gives him a commission to carve a marble statue. However, he postpones suggesting a subject for the statue and forces Michelangelo to leave Rome in frustration.

Jacopo Galli

An artistic Roman banker, he admires the work of Michelangelo and pays the artist generously for carving marble statues for him. Later, he acts as the manager of Michelangelo and helps the artist draw a contract with the Pope.


The childhood friend of Michelangelo, he works as an assistant to Jacopo Galli. He introduces Michelangelo to his boss and gets him commissions. He also helps the artist whenever the latter turns to him for help.

Giovanni De Medici

The second son of Lorenzo Medici and brother of Contessina, he is friendly to Michelangelo and encourages the artist during his reign.

Giulia or Pope Paul

Foster son of Lorenzo Medici, he reigns Florence after Giovanni. He is a religious fanatic and unreliable as a ruler. Though friendly with Michelangelo, he creates problems for the artist.

Leonardo Da Vinci

One of the greatest painters of Rome. His works of art are technically perfect. Initially, Michelangelo envies Leonardoís looks and talent and becomes critical of the latterís attitude. Later, he makes peace with him.


The Mayor-governor of Florence, he recognizes the worth of Michelangelo and awards him the contract for the Duomo pillar. He also names Michelangelo as the official sculptor of Florence.


An elderly painter, he is jealous of the talent and inventiveness of Michelangelo. He thus tries to malign the character of the artist and retard his career as a sculptor.


A talented artist, he takes over from Sangallo as the official architect of Rome. However, he antagonizes Michelangelo with his arrogance and lack of discipline.

Lippo and Lotti

The bronze casters of Florence who help Michelangelo to cast the statue of Pope Julius, but eventually cheat the artist of his money.


He joins as an apprentice to Michelangelo as a young boy and helps the artist set up his house in Florence and Rome.


He takes over from Argiento and looks after Michelangelo all through the artistís stay in Rome. He is a good housekeeper and remains faithful to Michelangelo till the end.


A young and handsome sculptor, he admires Michelangelo as an artist and becomes his apprentice. Michelangelo falls for his charm and makes him his companion. Inspired by the young manís presence, Michelangelo gets the energy to sculpt magnificent marble pieces.

Vittoria Colonna

A religious reformist, she is attractive and charming. Michelangelo falls in love with her and writes passionate poems for her. However, Vittoria does not respond to his overtures and leaves him despondent.


The illegitimate son of Guilio, he is arrogant and mean. As a Cardinal he is ineffective and irresponsible.

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