The piece of artwork I chose is the Pieta by Michelangelo. It is a sculpture depicting Mother Mary cradling her recently crucified son, Jesus. The Pieta is not one of a kind; rather, they are a certain kind of image that depicts the same scene of Mary cradling Jesus. They are especially common in the Eastern Orthodox Church. What sets this sculpture apart, however, is that this is the only work that Michelangelo signed. He was forced to do this after other artists were taking credit for this masterpiece. Currently, it is located in St. Peter’s in the Vatican. Interestingly, a mentally-insane Austrian man took to the sculpture with a hammer, screaming that he was Jesus Christ almost thirty years ago. He took of Mary’s nose which has since been replaced. These, along with David, are considered Michelangelo’s sculpting masterpieces. However, under my opinion, the Pieta is the better sculpture of the two.
I chose this sculpture because I think it shows the hyper-realistic perfection that Michelangelo was able to reach through marble. The expression that is shown through stone is unbelievable; it feels as though Mary’s melancholy look radiates around the whole sculpture, even affecting the audience. I think it is significant because it shows how Renaissance created immaculate artwork for the greater glory of God (ad majorem Dei gloriam.) It must have been a very proud moment for the Medicis to see where there once student had gone to create. The sculpture is so simple, yet so intricate and sentient. The beautiful draping of Mary’s clothing adds to the hyper-realism of the sculpture, but adds an airy and 3-D aspect to the work. I think that the Pieta was significant to the Renaissance because there was an arms race in terms of artwork throughout Italian city-states and it must have been a big deal for Michelangelo’s sculpture to be so prominently displayed in St. Peter’s.