Pieta by Michelangelo Buonarroti
The Pieta is arguably one of the most famous and best Renaissance sculptures that renowned artist Michelangelo Buonarroti has ever created. Maybe Michelangelo would agree since this is the only piece he has signed. This elegant sculpture depicts the lifeless body of Jesus lying on his mother Mary’s lap after his crucifixion. Carving out stone is not an easy task. Michelangelo obviously paid close attention to detail on the Pieta, leaving many to wonder about the realistic and idealistic elements. With as many views and facts that have been concluded about the Pieta, which realistic and idealistic elements stand out the most? Most first impressions of the Pieta would be the symbolic and emotions that the Pieta portrays, but what about taking a step back and analyzing the obvious and not so obvious physical features of Jesus and Mary. Looking at the frail body of Jesus, his arms and legs are limp; his head is laid back proving his death and struggle. Although his body looks to be in fair condition, despite the events leading to his crucifixion, I would think damage to his torso and limbs would have been implemented into the stone. The Virgin Mary also stands out in my observations; one being her size proportion to Jesus. Mary dwarfs Jesus while sitting down and her drapery amplifies her size even more. The Pieta is beautiful sculpture that has a lot to show and tell.
It seems that most of the physical and realistic features correlate hand and hand, with idealistic elements that Michelangelo incorporated in this masterpiece. For example, the frail body of Jesus looks very realistic, yet his left leg seems to be “flexed” or “self-supported” as though there is still some strength left in him. One might even go as far to say the artist did this intentionally to solidify Jesus rising from the dead on the third day. I think Michelangelo wanted to portray this event in a beautiful manner, hence the lack of abrasions to Jesus’ body....
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