Pietà by Michelangelo

Who was michelangelo?

Along with his rival, Leonardo da Vinci, he is considered to be one of the most versatile artists of the era and a worthy contender for the title of Renaissance Man.

backstory behind pietà

The Pietà statue is aesthetically harmonious, and the tranquil expressive tonality of it corresponded very well with the political and religious communication between Italy and France.

inspiration behind pietà

Michelangelo’s Pietà is considered to be a powerful art piece that was inspired by his strong faith. As he thought that virtuous women did not age, Mary is portrayed as youthful.


The statue is composed of Mary in a seated position, wrapped in robes while cradling the lifeless body of Jesus.  This is meant to portray the aftermath of the crucifixion of Christ and the two figures are disproportionate to one another.

use of space

The sculpture is shaped similarly to a pyramid, with the top of the head of Mary being the peak. Implementing disproportions in a sculpture was common during the Renaissance art movement and this is one of the reasons that the Pietà was not considered to be unusual or bizarre.


This religiously-themed sculpture is designed to evoke sorrow within the viewer as it portrays a mother that has lost her child, despite it being a divine sacrifice.  This sculpture is one of the most powerful portrayals of almost any biblical scene.

critical reception

When Michelangelo was assigned to produce the Pietá, he was an unknown artist and the theme of the sculpture was unheard of in Italy during that period.

understanding the creation of pietà

The Pietà was an extremely popular subject during the Renaissance. The word translates to “compassion” or “pity”, and portrays the sorrow of Mary as she holds her dead son.

fact no. 1

Michelangelo’s Pietà is  located in a corner inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

fact no. 2

The original Pietà is valued at a whopping $300 million!

fact no. 3

Pietà is the only masterpiece that Michelangelo engraved his name on. This was done after he heard a group of people giving another artist credit for his work.

fact no. 4

In May 1972, Pietà was damaged with a hammer by Laszlo Toth. This resulted in a bulletproof case placed around the statue.

fact no. 5

The 1964 World’s Fair saw the first time that the Pietà had left Rome since it had been made.