When looking at the life of one of history's greatest men, the lessons we might learn are countless, despite Irving Stone's fictional twists. Before we can begin to examine The Agony and the Ecstasy, we must understand Michelangelo and other artists as Stone saw them. Stone considered the artist a creator as well as a part of creation, just as God is seen in many of today's ideologies. Michelangelo's life can likewise be paralleled to Genesis. At first Michael is lonely and friendless, he then decides to take up and apprenticeship and create works of art just as the Lord yearns to love and creates man. His creation however will face the evils of envy and jealousy just as we must in our everyday-lives. .
Knowing this we can best point out several themes and ideas one of which is the idea that we are always under the Lord's watch and that while we may not always notice his deeds he is listening. This idea of God is personified in Bertolodo but may also be seen through Michelangelo's life itself. Repeatedly he is spared from the anger of unsatisfied customers by the popes (messengers from God). While the popes also seem to cause him troubles however, the reality of the matter is that their imposing actually benefits him and when they do not the Pope seems to conveniently pass away. It is because of Guilio that Michelangelo betters himself by becoming an engineer and because of Paul III becomes an architect; finally, through Julius he expands his trade to bronze. .
Yet another of the many clear themes is the majesty and divinity of art but most importantly its required devotion and incapability with business and social life. .
The Agony and the Ecstasy gives the reader a vivid view into the world of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Detailed descriptions of the people, culture and architecture of Italy actually are vividly portrayed. Cities included are Rome, Florentine, Settigano and Bologna during the 80 years of Michelangelo's career in the 13th and 14th centuries.