It's amazing that a person of only twenty three years old could almost reach perfection from just a block of marble. At the time people were incredulous that such a young artist did such beautiful work. Although it was not the style at the time, La Pietà is the only sculpture signed by Michelangelo. The artist recorded his name with a chisel on the ribbon carried by the Virgin’s dress. The composition of the sculpture is in a triangular form, from the head of the Virgin to the wider base of the set representing the divine triad. The first time I saw it I was highly impressed. How can a sculpture evoke such deep feelings in the soul of a being? La Pietà transmits a deep sense of tenderness while also a huge sense of serenity. Commissioned by the French cardinal Jean de Bilhères, Michelangelo created the sculpture between 1498 and 1499 for the Church of St. Petronilla in Rome from a solid piece of marble. The sculpture is 5-feet 7-inches tall by 6-feet 4-inches wide and 2-feet 3-inches deep. The work shows the Virgin Mary holding the body of Christ after the crucifixion. The Virgin’s head looks down and not to the audience, expressing a deep humility and endearment, while conveying a deep empathy for the suffering depicted. The sculpture not only represents the deity supported by the arms of a woman but represents the deepest and purest love that human beings are capable of feeling, a mother holding her dead son. Michelangelo brings to life the face of a young and pure woman, as we all imagine when we picture Mary. It is clear that Michelangelo did this with the intention to emphasize that the mother of Jesus is the most transparent and honest of all women. When we look at her visage we note two tearless almond eyes and a great desire to mourn overcome us, a sense of compassion that we ought to give our tears to a mother who has apparently run out of them. The face of the Virgin reveals a pious young girl – and the fact that that time doesn’t affect the...
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