La Pietà

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Having gone to visit my grandparent’s at their house today, I noticed a small statue towards the back of their coffee table that seemed to represent an important religious symbol. Known as the Pietà, this Renaissance sculpture was created by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the late fourteen hundreds and can be found in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This Carrara marble sculpture was said to have been commissioned for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères’s funeral monument in the Chapel of Santa Petronilla when having passed away, but in contrast to having it taken towards his monument, it was directed towards Saint Peter’s Basilica. Within the statue, one can observe the body of Jesus Christ on the lap of his mother Mary following the Crucifixion on the rock of Golgotha. However, contrary to how interpretations of the Pietà had been made by other artists, Michelangelo attempted to sculpt a version that did not represent death but rather “the religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son,” representing the communion between man and God by the sanctification of Jesus Christ. Said to be one of his greatest works, Michelangelo set out to create the most beautiful work of marble in Rome, depicting a scene that had been well-known throughout the time in Northern European art- the moment Mary removed Jesus Christ from the cross. However, throughout the time the sculpture had been completed, Michelangelo was known to have faced various forms of criticism for portraying Mary as an extremely young mother of a thirty-three year old, attempting to indicate her honorable purity. Having this sculpture present in my grandparents’ house symbolizes a representation of their Catholic faith as well as their belief in honoring Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, having them present to protect, guide, and help them through any difficult situation they may undergo.

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