Books: Deck the Shelves: For $275 and Under

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The Sistine Chapel. Text by Roberto Salvini, Ettore Camesasca and C.L Ragghianti. Vol. 1, 307 pages; Vol. 11, unpaged. Abrams. $275. When Michelangelo reluctantly began painting the ceiling in 1508, he still thought of himself primarily as a sculptor. He worked for years, mostly standing on the 62ft. high scaffolding rather than lying on his back, as hoary legend has it, and was interrupted by cramps, colds and periodic skirmishes with his testy patron, Pope Julius 11. When he finished in 1512, he was justly famous as...

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