The Night that here thou seest, in
graceful guise Thus sleeping, by an Angel's hand was
carved In this pure stone; but sleeping, still
she lives. Awake her if thou doubtest, and she'll
The poet, an obscure contemporary of Michelangelo's, was trying to describe one of the seven figures which the sculptor had carved for the Medici Chapel in Florence's Church of San Lorenzo. Charles de Tolnay, a Michelangelo scholar and member of Princeton's highbrow Institute for Advanced Study, has done much better. In a newly published book of bold erudition (The Medici Chapel; Princeton University Press, $20) De Tolnay interprets the entire chapel in...