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Michelangelo Pieta

Evan O’Meara September 18, 2012 Humanities Seminar WF 11:30 Prof. Lomanno The Beauty of Pieta Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of the most critically acclaimed artists in human history. His artwork was created during the time of the Renaissance (15th century-17th century Europe).

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The Renaissance was a period of prosperity for literature, philosophy, art, music, politics, science, religion, as well as other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Michelangelo’s works have stood the test of time and are still available to the public eye today. Of all Michelangelo’s masterpieces the Pieta stands out from the rest.

This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus in the arms of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. It is an important work as it balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism. The statue is one of, if not the most beautiful works of art by Michelangelo Michelangelo’s Pieta is his most beautiful piece of art in my eyes. I have never seen a sculpture with such intricate detail in my entire life. Michelangelo is famous for sculpting every muscle, tendon, and vein on the human body with unfathomable exactitude, as he does with the Pieta.

The detail makes this sculpture beautiful because I have never seen anything like it. The sculpture almost looks too perfect. I cannot marvel how the hand of Michelangelo in such a short period of time produced such divine work. I cannot understand how one can just take a block of marble and have the Pieta as a finished product. It almost seems impossible, but that is what makes it beautiful. Another element of this sculpture that I find beautiful is the way Michelangelo sculpted the Virgin Mary’s robe. It almost seems as if her clothes are not made of marble.

Every crease in her robe is sculpted with such precision and detail. I do not know where Michelangelo found the patience to complete this piece. What most people could not achieve in a lifetime Michelangelo achieved in a year. He created a sculpture that defines divine beauty. Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pieta to represent death, but rather to show the religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of Jesus. The Virgin Mary’s face is youthful, yet beyond time; her head leans only slightly over the lifeless body of her son lying in her lap unlike other versions of the Pieta.

Michelangelo wanted to express divine beauty in his version. This version is more peaceful than the others. The crucifixion wounds on Jesus’ hands and feet are small and non-violent. The fact that Michelangelo wanted to sculpt a new version of the Pieta in which nobody had ever seen is beautiful to me. The Pieta truly is Michelangelo’s most remarkable work of art. It was the first piece he personally signed. It was his first masterpiece in his eyes. Just days after it was placed in Saint Peter’s, Rome, Michelangelo overheard a pilgrim remark that the work was done by Christoforo Solari, a rival sculptor.

Michelangelo knew his sculpture of divine beauty was going to be one of the best the world has ever seen. That night, in a fit of rage, Michelangelo took hammer and chisel and scrawled: “Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this” across Mary’s breast. This is the only work that Michelangelo ever signed. He later regretted his passionate outburst of pride and determined to never again sign a piece of his work. Signed by the artist or not, Michelangelo’s Pieta will forever be a work of divine beauty that is often imitated, but never duplicated. Word Count: 580

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