1. PIETA by Michelangelo di Lodovico, Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564), Mark-making:, Materiality:

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1. PIETA by Michelangelo di Lodovico

Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564)


PIETA by Michelangelo di LodovicoBuonarroti Simoni (1475-1564)




  • The Pietà-1498–1499 is a work of the Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, located in the Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican City. Its the first of a series of works of the same style by the artist. The monument was commissioned by the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, who was a delegate in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was created for the cardinals funeral memorial, but was moved to its present site, the first chapel on the north side of the entrance to the basilica, in the 18th century. Its the one piece that Michelangelo has ever signed. It is also the only known sculpture made by a famous name from the Renaissance period that was placed in St. Peters Basilica and approved by St. Peters Chapter.
  • This famous piece of art portrays the body of Jesus on the lap of Mary, his mother, after the crucifixion. The subject is of Northern descent. The representation of the Pietà by Michelangelo is unprecedented in Italian sculpture. It is an important work because it combines the values of the Revival of classical elegance with naturalism.
  • A small terracotta figure, described as a model for the final sculpture, was seen in Paris in 2019.


  • Michelangelo carved it from a single marble slab, particularly Carrara Marble, a white and blue stone named for the Italian place where it was mined.


  • The design is pyramidal, and the vertex is the same as Marys head. The statue eventually widens down the drapery of Marys coat, to the base of the rock of Golgotha. The estimates are somewhat out of proportion, due to the challenge of portraying a full-length, fully-grown man in a womans lap. Most of Marys body is concealed by her monumental drapery, and the relationship between the figures is very natural. Michelangelos perception of Pietà was much different from that of other artists, since he sculpted a youthful and beautiful Mary rather than an old woman about the age of 50.
  • The signs of the crucifixion are limited to very slight nail marks and an indication of the wound on the side of Jesus.
  • The face of Christ does not show the signs of the Passion. Michelangelo did not want his version of Pietà to reflect death, but rather to depict the “religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son,” that is, the depiction of unity between man and God by sanctification through Christ.
  • When Michelangelo set out to create his Pietà, he wanted to create a work he described as “the hearts image”

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