The Pieta: Innovating Beauty
The great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo once said “a true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” He may have believed true art is but a shadow, but many of his works were truly brilliant. Born in 1475 in Caprese, Italy, Michelangelo, was raised in Florence.1 There he began his apprenticeship at the age of 13 under Domenico Ghirlandio, a renowned muralist. Soon after, Michelangelo was discovered by a great art patron, Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence at the time. Michelangelo learned about art, philosophy, and religion and was greatly influenced by many scholars, writers, and businessmen in Medici’s network while living at the Palazo Medici. Through his connections, Michelangelo was able to improve his knowledge and art; he studied the body to extreme detail as he obtained permission to study cadavers from the Catholic Church. Furthermore, Michelangelo had the opportunity to study under Bertoldo di Giovanni, a respected sculptor and curator of Medici’s sculpture gardens. Although some of Michelangelo’s most famous work may be found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, many of his most beautiful works were of marble. He believed “every block of stone has a statue inside of it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
I believe that one of his most stunning works includes the Pieta, currently located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Michelangelo seemingly brought to life and eternalized a singular moment in history out of a simple piece of earth. The Pieta is a beautiful work of art in my eyes because it was the first of its kind to exhibit such a beautiful representation of perfection, stimulate raw emotion singular to the humane and display Michelangelo’s masterful talent and workmanship.
A Pieta, an Italian word meaning pity or compassion, is a common artistic representation of the sorrowful Virgin Mary. In a Pieta, Mary is depicted as sorrowful or...