Then Came Michelangelo, Review

I’d barely reached consciousness when I was
told my aim in life was to be a boy
who seemed to me a god, whose light I was
to follow, who’d always care for me most

Why then am I now exiled
from the welcome retreat, sanctuary.
What stern decree has forbid my support,
daylight; lost, I stumble like one gone blind.

If we found ourselves inseparable through
passion and our vows, why have we parted?
what malign enemy has cut us off?

If his life fed my frail woman’s body,
if I was born for him, was his, and he’s
taken from me, with his death I must die.

Vittoria Colonna

Italian Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna, was born into Rome’s powerful Colonna family in 1490. In 1509 she married Francesco Ferrante D’Avalos, the Marquis of Pescara. Six years later D’Avalos, a Roman General known for his bravery and valor died from injuries sustained at the battle of Pavia. Despite pressure from her family and from the Pope, Vittoria refused to remarry, instead she devoted her life to, religion, reform and literature. The first woman of her day to have prose and poetry published, her writings give today’s readers an unusual and rare glimpse into the mind of an Italian Renaissance woman.

Vittoria Colonna was a friend and patron to some of the most renowned philosophers and artists of her time and she was the object of Michelangelo’s greatest and most enduring love affair. Joanna O. Long’s “Then Came Michelangelo” tells the story of that love affair and how it affected the art and spirituality of Michelangelo. First meeting when the artist was 62 and Vittoria was 47 their love for each other grew and endured throughout the remainder of their lives.

Already fascinated by Vittoria Colonna for her influence on Michelangelo, Joanna Long was inspired to write “Then Came Michelangelo” after visiting Rome and the Sistine Chapel in 2001. After touring Rome and Florence with a Christian art study group she encountered several sites that at one time would have been familiar to both Vittoria and Michelangelo. After arriving home to Tennessee she was able to “channel” the two lovers as she researched and wrote this book.

Author, Joanna Long who is also a visual artist wrote that “sometimes words on paper spill over into images, demanding a life in another medium.” Mother to daughters, Ann, Margie and Kate, Ms. Long lives in Nashville Tennessee where she is a member of the Tennessee Art League.

Published in Nashville, “Then Came Michelangelo” can be purchased online at


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