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September 13, 1985

Michelangelo: A Psychoanalytic Study of His Life and Images

JAMA. 1985;254(10):1376-1377. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360100130030

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Admirers of Michelangelo are familiar with one or several of his artistic masterpieces—be they the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Pietas, the David statue, the Moses, or many other of his numerous creations. Now Robert S. Liebert, MD, has given us his very creative biography of Michelangelo, which is of the highest scholarship and of great aesthetic satisfaction.

The parallel creativity of the biographer and the subject of biography seem to have a significant relationship with each other, although a biographer's creativity is different from that of the artistic creator. The biographer is more like a scientific researcher—he has his hypotheses, he seeks to test these with data, he reaches tentative conclusions that can be overturned by new facts, he can at times try to disprove his own hypotheses, and he presents his evidence clearly and unambiguously. Alternative explanations or hypotheses can be considered by others, and they in turn must