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‘Pieta’ By Michelangelo

The ‘Pieta’ is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo created in 1499 for French Cardinal Jean de Billheres. It depicts Mary holding the dead Christ after he was removed from His cross. It is 68 X 76 inches in size and is currently displayed at the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. I was quite affected by this work because of the emotions depicted in the sculpture and the very careful attention to detail by the artist.

When I first looked at the sculpture I immediately noticed certain emotions in the faces of Mary and Christ. I was moved by the sorrow depicted in the face of Mary as well as the subtle signs of motherly love in face and the way her hands hold Christ. Both of their faces also show a certain degree of peace and acceptance other than the sorrow on the face of Mary.

In a way, my beliefs have been changed by the sculpture, especially my concept of the mother-child connection. The effect on me has been permanent in that before I always thought that death had all sorts of gruesome things attached to it, but when I lad eyes on the sculpture I began to feel hope even in the face of death because other than the emotions I mentioned evident in the faces of the subjects of the sculpture, both faces were pictures of hopefulness.

I was also astounded by the degree of detail that the artist put into the work like in the folds of the shroud and Mary’s robe – not until now did I realize that it was possible to depict such ‘softness’ in a medium as hard as marble. I believe that my reaction to the sculpture is not subjective because in art, the objective of the artist is to convey emotions through his work, and considering the accuracy of portrayal of Michelangelo, it is very possible that other people had felt the same emotions that I felt.

This piece is the first of many Christian themed works of the great Michelangelo and the work is exquisite; the mere fact that it has remained intact and in perfect condition after many centuries is testament enough to the quality of the work. Other than this the piece is also a masterful illustration of how the artist knows his art. The work that went into this sculpture and the attention to detail is astonishing. It is a masterpiece, and if there was someone who could do work the way Michelangelo did, then there is no reason why other pieces like this should come into fruition.

Other than the emotions shown in this piece, there are also moral messages that come across, like the importance of a strong mother-child relationship. Aside from this, the work also conveys the Christian value of love and how Christians should find solace in the fact that Christ suffered to save us from our sins and that His suffering should be the basis of how we should, as Christians, live our lives in accordance with the commandments of love.

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