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Michelangelo was acutely conscious of living in an age of religious crisis and artistic change, and for him the two issues were related. Michelangelo and the Reform of Art explores Michelangelo’s awareness of artistic tradition as a means of understanding his relation, as a devoutly Christian artist, to the profound religious uncertainty of the sixteenth century. Concentrating on Michelangelo’s lifelong preoccupation with the image of the dead Christ, Alexander Nagel studies the artist’s associations with reform-minded circles in early sixteenth-century Italy, and reveals his sustained concern over the fate of religious art in his own day. Within the context of reform, Michelangelo’s art reflects an artistic and religious culture where self-conscious archaism mingles with aggressive innovation, and ambivalence regarding the role of images yields radical aesthetic experimentation. A reassessment of Michelangelo’s work, this revisionist study sheds new light on High Renaissance and Mannerist art as a whole.