Pieta by Michelangelo
|Courtesy of www.renaissanceart.org|
Michelangelo was only 24 years old. He exceeded the expectations written in the contract with his finished product. The piece is a fine example of his trademark desire to place remarkably beautiful figures in his work. Michelangelo viewed beauty as a manifestation of a divine spirit.
Christ appears slumped upon the Virgin Mary's lap. He is dead but his body appears unscarred and pure as if he were only sleeping. His veins still appear to be pulsing as he is cradled by his mother. Jesus is of normal proportion for a man, but the Virgin Mary is portrayed as larger than life. Her beautiful face exudes youthfulness. Critics voiced opinion that she looked too young to be Christ's mother. Michelangelo would reply that her lifestyle as a virgin had allowed her to maintain her epic youth and beauty.
The Pieta is the most carefully crafted and finished sculpture Michelangelo ever produced. Every detail is exceptionally delicate and refined. It catapulted Michelangelo into fame as a master sculptor. Today the Pieta is housed at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.