Michelangelo's Final Pieta
Michelangelo started this Pieta sculpture in 1547, when he was about 72 years old. This one was intended to be placed on his own tomb, but after working on it for almost a decade, Michelangelo smashed it in anger. According to writings by Giorgio Vasari, a fellow artist and the world's first art historian, Michelangelo destroyed it when he discovered the marble was flawed. He presented the damaged work to a pupil, who attempted to repair and finish it. There are obvious problems though, Mary Magdalene (who is on Jesus' right and not shown in this image) was too small to be supporting him, her head doesn't even come to his shoulder. Jesus' left leg, which was once positioned over Mary's is lost.
Nicodemus, standing behind and supporting Jesus, is a self portrait of the aging Michelangelo.
This piece did not go on Michelangelo's tomb, which was designed and executed by Vasari, but it is now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Duomo Museum) in Florence. This is the conclusion of your Art History lesson.
August 4th, 2013
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