Pieta (c. 1498-99) by Michelangelo

Pieta - Michelangelo - 1499

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Artwork Information

Dimensions174 x 195 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationSt. Peter's Basilica, Vatican
Location Created Florence, Italy
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About Pieta

The Pieta by Michelangelo is one of the most renowned sculptures in the world. Completed in the late 15th century, it depicts Mother Mary holding her son Jesus Christ’s lifeless body after being taken down from the cross. The sculpture is made of Carrara marble and stands at 5 feet and 8 inches tall.

Michelangelo was inspired by his firm faith when working on this sculpture, and he portrayed Mary as youthful because he believed that virtuous women did not age. The work embodies both spiritualism and classical beauty: Michelangelo skillfully combined naturalism with idealized forms to create a masterpiece that has stood the test of time.

It’s worth noting that Michelangelo overheard someone attributing another artist’s name to the Pieta, thought to be Christoforo Solari’s. This spurred him to personally sign his work for identification purposes, which can now be seen engraved on Mary’s sash. Today, visitors can see this timeless piece at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

The Pieta was commissioned by a French Cardinal when Michelangelo was still an unknown artist – this Gothic theme was not popular in Italy at the time. However, once completed, it brought him great recognition worldwide. Even today, tourists admirably view it as one of Italy’s top attractions – drawing visitors from all corners of the world who want to witness its greatness up close despite having seen images throughout their lifetime.

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