...the pulses and veins so wrought, that in truth Wonder herself must marvel that the hand of a craftsman should have been able to execute so divinely and so perfectly...

Michelangelo’s Pietà

Michelangelo claimed that the block of Carrara marble he used to work on this was the most “perfect” block he ever used, and he would go on to polish and refine this work more than any other statue he created.

1488-1489 CE

Michelangelo carved a number of works in Florence during his time with the Medici, but in the 1490s he left Florence and briefly went to Venice, Bologna, and then to Rome, where he lived from 1496-1501.  In 1497, a cardinal named Jean de Billheres commissioned Michelangelo to create a work of sculpture to go into a side chapel at Old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  The resulting work – the Pieta – would be so successful that it helped launch Michelangelo’s career unlike any previous work he had done.

This was a special work of art even in the Renaissance because at the time, multi-figured sculptures were rare.  These two figures are carved so as to appear in a unified composition which forms the shape of a pyramid, something that other Renaissance artists (e.g. Leonardo) also favored.

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rome, italy

How far back?

Point in Timeline 86%

2020 | Present