michelangelo the pieta
Another explanation suggests that Michelangelo’s treatment of the subject was influenced by his passion for Dante’s Divina Commedia: so well-acquainted was he with the work that when he went to Bologna, he paid for hospitality by reciting verses from it. In Paradiso (cantica 33 of the poem), Saint Bernard, in a prayer for the Virgin Mary, says “Vergine madre, figlia del tuo figlio” (Virgin mother, daughter of your son). This is said because, since Christ is one of the three figures of Trinity, Mary would be his daughter, but it is also she who bore him.
In 2019, a small terracotta figure identified as a model for the final sculpture was displayed in Paris. 
In the Pieta, Michelangelo approached a subject which until then had been given form mostly north of the Alps, where the portrayal of pain had always been connected with the idea of redemption: it was called the “Vesperbild” and represented the seated Madonna holding Christ’s body in her arms. But now the twenty-three year-old artist presents us with an image of the Madonna with Christ’s body never attempted before. Her face is youthful, yet beyond time; her head leans only slightly over the lifeless body of her son lying in her lap. “The body of the dead Christ exhibits the very perfection of research in every muscle, vein, and nerve. No corpse could more completely resemble the dead than does this. There is a most exquisite expression in the countenance. The veins and pulses, moreover, are indicated with so much exactitude, that one cannot but marvel how the hand of the artist should in a short time have produced such a divine work.”
9. Among the most difficult damage to repair was Mary’s eyelid, which took approximately 20 tries before the restorers got it right.
Even from a young age, Dalí bristled at the confines of traditional schooling. He was bright but easily distracted, and more interested in doodling than studying. He began his education at age 4 at a local public school in his hometown of Figueres, but only two years later, his father transferred him to a French-speaking private school, “due to that first option having failed,” as the Dalí Foundation tactfully explains it. At his secondary school, he embraced his love of public attention by throwing himself down stairs in front of his classmates and teachers, as he wrote in his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.
If you look closely, you can see that Mary’s head is a bit too small for her very large body. When designing Mary’s measurements, Michelangelo could not impose realistic proportions and have her cradle her adult son as he envisioned. So, he had to make her—the statue’s support—oversized. To play down this poetic license on her form, Michelangelo carved out sheets of gentle draping garments, camouflaging Mary’s true fullness.
An examination of each figure reveals that their proportions are not entirely natural in relation to the other. Although their heads are proportional, the Virgin’s body is larger than Christ’s body. She appears so large that if she stood up, she would likely tower over her son. The reason Michelangelo did this was probably because it was necessary so that the Virgin could support her son on her lap; had her body been smaller, it might have been very difficult or awkward for her to have held an adult male as gracefully as she does. To assist in this matter, Michelangelo has amassed the garments on her lap into a sea of folded drapery to make her look larger. While this drapery serves this practical purpose, it also allowed Michelangelo to display his virtuosity and superb technique when using a drill to cut deeply into the marble. After his work on the marble was complete, the marble looked less like stone and more like actual cloth because of its multiplicity of natural-looking folds, curves, and deep recesses.
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.
In Christian art, a Pietà is any portrayal (particularly, a sculptural depiction) of the Virgin Mary holding the body of her son, Jesus. According to the bible, Jesus was crucified for claiming to be the son of God. Though Mary embracing her dead son is not explicitly mentioned in the holy book, the scene has proven a popular subject among artists for centuries, after German sculptors introduced wooden Vesperbild (a term that translates to “image of the vespers”) figurines to Northern Europe during the Middle Ages.
For centuries, the world has been captivated by the groundbreaking art of Michelangelo. Working in multiple mediums, the Italian artist was a true Renaissance man, culminating in an impressive collection of world-famous works that includes the Sistine Chapel ceiling, an iconic interpretation of David, and the Pietà, a monumental marble sculpture of the Madonna cradling Christ.