Michelangelo was one of the greatest artists of all time, and his works continue to inspire and impress people all over the world. He created so many excellent works of art over the course of his career, but there are perhaps none more famous and well-known than his Renaissance sculpture The Pieta. You can see this prized piece of art with a trip to The Vatican City in Rome.
The Pieta has inspired religion, faith, and imitation, and is considered one of the most astounding works of art ever created. The sculpture shows the body of Jesus Christ cradled on the lap of his mother Mary, following his death by crucifixion. So, let’s take a closer look at this stunning work of art, and find out some of the awesome things you never knew about it.
It was the only work of art Michelangelo ever signed
Known for being a maverick and an enigma, Michelangelo never signed any of his works of art, except for this one. On close inspection, you can see that the artist has signed his signature across the chest of the statue of Mary. It is thought that he made the decision to do this after overhearing strangers attribute the work to another. The artist regretted his decision and vowed never to sign another piece of work again.
He carved it from a single piece of marble
What makes this sculpture even more breathtaking is the fact that it is actually carved from a single piece of marble! Michelangelo used Carrara marble for the piece, a blue and white stone that is strikingly beautiful, and named after the region in Italy where it is mined. It was a favorite for many sculptures at this time and first rose to prominence in Ancient Rome. But managing to carve something so exquisite from a single piece is just unbelievable.
It’s a combination of styles
One of the most interesting things about the Pieta is the fact that it was made using a combination of different sculpting styles. In fact, Michelangelo was famed for marrying different styles during his career, and this is one of the best examples of that. The piece was made using a combination of Renaissance style, combined with naturalism, and this is why the piece is so compelling.
It had to be restored
Following a hammer attack on the sculpture in 1978 (yes, really), the piece had to undergo restoration work. This took around 10 months to complete, and it was secured behind bulletproof glass following its restoration. There was some debate about the merits of leaving the sculpture as it was prior to the restoration project, but eventually, sculptors worked on returning it to its former image.
These are just a few of the most stunning and little-known facts about the sculpture and its creation. Michelangelo is revered for so many pieces of work, but this one, which he created in his early 20s, is rightly considered to be his masterpiece. And now you know a little about how it was made, as well as why it became the only work of art Michelangelo ever chose to sign.