Michelangelo’s Dying Slave is an iconic sculpture created between 1513 and 1516. Standing at 2.15 meters, the delicate yet imposing marble figure is held at the Louvre in Paris. The youth depicted in the sculpture has a strong body, standing with his right hand on his chest and his left arm raised to his curly head. His face tilts towards his shoulder with closed eyes and mouth.
The Dying Slave was one of six “slaves” designed by Michelangelo for the tomb of Pope Julius II, of which two are now held at the Louvre and four are found in the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. The original plan for the tomb included more than 40 figures, but it underwent many changes throughout its creation due to technical difficulties.
It is worth noting that Michelangelo spent years selecting appropriate marble blocks for all of his sculptures. Interestingly, despite this attention to detail with materials used, only one sculpture was completed following Julius II’s death in 1513: The Dying Slave. The subject matter expertly embodies themes such as grief, sweetness, and eroticism — characteristic of Michelangelo’s work during this period.
Overall, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave remains a masterpiece until today that captures everyone’s attention through its mastery of sculpture techniques coupled with remarkable emotional symbolism that comes along with every bit discernible by keen observers.