michelangelo pieta sculpture
While discussing a late 14th-century figurine, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains that Jesus’ “small scale may reflect the writings of German mystics, who believed that the Virgin, in the agony of her grief, imagined she was holding Christ as a baby once again in her arms.”
Stock Photos from Elena Pominova/Shutterstock
In her utter sadness and devastation, she seems resigned to what has happened, and becomes enveloped in graceful acceptance. Michelangelo’s talent in carving drapery is matched by his handling of the human forms in the Christ and the Virgin, both of whom retain a sweet tenderness despite the very tragic nature of this scene. This is, of course, the moment when the Virgin is confronted with the reality of the death of her son. In her utter sadness and devastation, she seems resigned to what has happened, and becomes enveloped in graceful acceptance. Christ, too, is depicted almost as if he is in a peaceful slumber, and not one who has been bloodied and bruised after hours of torture and suffering. In supporting Christ, the Virgin’s right hand does not come into direct contact with his flesh, but instead it is covered with a cloth which then touches Christ’s side. This signifies the sacredness of Christ’s body. Overall, these two figures are beautiful and idealized, despite their suffering. This reflects the High Renaissance belief in Neo-Platonic ideals in that beauty on earth reflected God’s beauty, so these beautiful figures were echoing the beauty of the divine.
Here is perfect sweetness in the expression of the head, harmony in the joints and attachments of the arms, legs, and trunk, and 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, in so short a time, a work so admirable; and it is certainly a miracle that a stone without any shape at the beginning should ever have been reduced to such perfection as Nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh. Such were Michelagnolo’s love and zeal together in this work, that he left his name a thing that he never did again in any other work written across a girdle that encircles the bosom of Our Lady. And the reason was that one day Michelagnolo, entering the place where it was set up, found there a great number of strangers from Lombardy, who were praising it highly, and one of them asked one of the others who had done it, and he answered, “Our Gobbo from Milan.” Michelagnolo stood silent, but thought it something strange that his labors should be attributed to another; and one night he shut himself in there, and, having brought a little light and his chisels, carved his name upon it.
Vasari’s Lives of the Artists
When Michelangelo set out to create his Pietà, he wanted to create a work he described as “the heart’s image”. 
In 2019, a small terracotta figure identified as a model for the final sculpture was displayed in Paris. 
8. In May 1972, a delusional Laszlo Toth damaged the “Pieta” with a hammer. After repair work was complete, the Vatican had the marble statue encased in a triple layer of bulletproof glass.
3. Although he worked in Florence most of his life, Michelangelo sculpted the “Pieta” during a five-year period he spent in Rome. It was commissioned by Cardinal de Billheres.
The pietà developed in Germany (where it is called the “Vesperbild”) about 1300, reached Italy about 1400, and was especially popular in Central European Andachtsbilder.  Many German and Polish 15th-century examples in wood greatly emphasise Christ’s wounds. The Deposition of Christ and the Lamentation or Pietà form the 13th of the Stations of the Cross, as well as one of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin.
Pietà is one of the three common artistic representations of a sorrowful Virgin Mary, the other two being Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows) and Stabat Mater (here stands the mother).   The other two representations are most commonly found in paintings, rather than sculpture, although combined forms exist.