The Passion of Christ captured in Michelangelo's Pietá

Dec 25, 2009

Pietá, Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1499.

Michelangelo's Pietá is one of my favorite sculptures.  Carved from marble, it took Michelangelo nearly two years to complete it.  Commissioned as a funeral monument for a cardinal, it now sits appropriately in St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City.

The sculpture is a depiction of the crucified Christ and his mother, Mary.  Jesus' pierced, lifeless body drapes over Mary's lap like her abundant robe.  Mary holds Jesus' body with her right arm as she lifts her left hand towards Heaven.  Her expression is one of resolute faith, not much different than how she is depicted in other art works holding the newborn baby Jesus. 

The powerful story of Pietá is perfectly executed by the skillful hands of an artist who lived 1500 years after the Crucifixion.  It was the only work that Michelangelo signed, and he was only 24 years old when he completed the masterpiece.  Within a decade after finishing Pietá, Michelangelo created the Statue of David and had begun painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was more than just an accomplished artist, he had God-given gifts to create a visual world that to this day profoundly touch people's hearts and souls.


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