Anyone who's experienced neck pain while gazing at the stunning frescoes of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel will see the value in Hall's book. The author, a specialist in Italian Renaissance art, presents revealing commentary to accompany Okamura's 157 dazzling, full-color photographs, which were taken after the frescoes' decade-long restoration in the 1980s. The book displays each fresco from the Creation scenes to the Last Judgment; some even have zoomed-in versions that show detail as fine as specks of dust on Saint John the Baptist's beard. Hall's presentation of Michelangelo's masterwork is comprehensive; in addition to explicating each component (e.g., how the fresco of Saint Catherine and Saint Blaise, which originally "invited bawdy jokes," was altered after the artist's death), she also describes the chapel's appearance before the frescoes covered the walls and ceiling, gives some background on Michelangelo's career and discusses the artist's preliminary drawings. Okamura's photos shine, showing off the frescoes' intricate details and intense colors, ranging from the azure blue surrounding trumpeting angels to the deep burgundy of the prophet Jeremiah's robes. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.