Never before have Michelangelo Buonarroti’s three Pietà sculptures been on display in one location- until now. From February 24 through August 1, 2022, the Pietà Vaticana, the Pietà Bandini, and the Pietà Rondanini will be side-by-side at the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence.
Pietà di San Pietro
The most famous sculptor of all time completed one of his greatest masterpieces in his early twenties, the Pietà Vaticana. Michelangelo was commissioned by the French Ambassador to the Holy See to sculpt a grieving Virgin Mary holding Christ in her arms. From a single block of Carrara marble, the young artist carved one of the most exquisite sculptures the world has ever known. The original Pietà is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome but a perfect plaster cast will be on display at the Opera del Duomo Museum.
The Pietà Bandini on display is the original piece created in marble between the years 1547 and 1555. Four figures are intricately carved including a deceased Christ, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Nicodemus who supposedly removed Christ from the cross. Already an old man when he carved it, Michelangelo was reported to have destroyed pieces of it in fits of rage and frustration (as noted by Giorgio Vasari). Today, the onlooker can easily see the defects in Christ’s left arm and missing right leg. Also known as “The Deposition” or the “Lamentation Over the Dead Christ” in English, the piece has been painstakingly restored over the last several years.
And last but certainly not least, the cast of what is known as the Pietà Rondanini will complete the epic journey of three of Michelangelo’s sculptures spanning over fifty years of his life. The Rondanini was his last work before his death in 1564. It is an unfinished sculpture of Christ and the Virgin Mary and art critics agree that this version of the Pietà is a reflection of Michelangelo’s own mortality.
The idea of placing all three Pietà in one place spawned from the Italian Bishops’ conference “Mediterranean: Frontier of Peace” which will be held in Florence in late February and will include a visit from Pope Francis.
For ticket information, guided tours, and requirements for visiting the Tre Pietà exhibit, please visit the official website of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.
To read more about Florence’s magnificent Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore, click here.Redattore
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