what is the significance of the pieta by michelangelo
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.
When Michelangelo set out to create his Pietà, he wanted to create a work he described as “the heart’s image”. 
Michelangelo was a thoughtful, considered artist who also held great confidence in his own ideas, which meant he was happy to go his own way on any established theme within his different sculptures and frescos.
The Pieta sculpture took in influences from French art of that era and the piece itself was commissioned by French cardinal Jean de Billheres.
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.
The Pieta became famous right after it was carved. Other artists started looking at it because of its greatness, and Michelangelo’s fame spread. Since the artist lived another six decades after carving the Pieta, he witnessed the reception of the work by generations of artists and patrons through much of the sixteenth century.
Michelangelo’s Pietà is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the history of art and one of the most representative works of the Renaissance ideal.
News of the scam aroused a great deal of interest in the Papal City and Raffaele Riario became the laughing stock of the curia and of Roman nobility.
Kate McGrath 2010
While that experience is not mine, the image that I have of my mother holding her deceased son’s hand has become intertwined in my story of grief and loss. I find it tragic and yet at the same time, peaceful.