Leonardo rests in the wings, Michelangelo performs before the footlights-so increasingly goes the current stage-managing of the Renaissance. The latest example- a foreign import dating from the late '40's and based on four College de France lectures-follows the Sistine maestro through various metamorphoses, each more heroic than the other, each moving from the Pagan to the Christian realm. For Michelangelo, ""reality"" was never enough; embodying a transcendant Idea of nature, his creations are always larger than life, suggesting his own inner struggles, his Promethean visions. He was, however, never above the social and philosophical clutter of the times; David was his response to Florentine Fortezza, the Julius tomb to humanism. Aged, the experiences of Savonarola, Vittoria Colonna, and the sacking of Rome deepened him religiously, resulting in the Pieta group, in the cultivation of the divine. All this the eminent Charles de Tolnay elucidates accenting the changing concepts which, in a sense, do not change: Michelangelo, it could be said, accommodated the Church to his Platonism and not vice-versa. Scholarly, sensitive, analytical- the very model of what a reliable and rewarding monograph should be.