Created by the famous Italian Renaissance sculpture Michelangelo Buonarroti the Pieta is one of the greatest works of art ever created. Completed in 1499 AD this marble sculpture depicts the lifeless body of Jesus Christ lying on the lap of Mary (his mother) after his Crucifixion. On this page are lists of interesting facts about this famous Italian work of art. This information written for both kids and adults includes where the Pieta is on display, why Michelangelo sculpted it, and how it was damaged.
Michelangelo's Pieta Description
The Pieta depicts Mary holding her son Jesus Christ's body on her lap immediately after his Crucifixion.
This sculpture was carved using Carrara marble; a high-quality marble quarried in the city of Carrara located in modern-day Tuscany, Italy.
The general shape of this famous sculpture is triangular.
The Pieta's dimensions are 68.5 inches by 76.8 inches (174 centimeters by 195 centimeters).
The figures of Jesus and Mary are out of proportion, with Jesus being much smaller than a full-grown man would be in comparison to normal sized women. Michelangelo found this necessary for the statue to appear as he envisioned his masterpiece.
On the figure of Jesus can be seen small nail marks where he was nailed to the cross along with a wound on his side where according to the New Testament he was stabbed during his crucifixion.
One interesting aspect of the Pieta is that Mary is depicted as a very young woman. She looks more like a woman in her twenties or thirties, which is unusual considering her son Jesus was approximately 33-year-old at the time of his crucifixion.
The look on Mary's face is not one of a grieving mother but is rather serene.
Michelangelo's Pieta Interesting Facts
The English translation of The Pieta is "The Pity".
An amazing fact is that it took Michelangelo only 2 years to complete this masterpiece. He began work in 1498 AD and completed it in 1499 AD.
The Pieta was only one of Michelangelo's numerous great works of art. His other famous works include his sculpture David, the sculpture of Moses, and the paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
This work of art has been moved several times since its creation and original placement at the Chapel of Santa Petronilla; it is currently on display at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
The Pieta is the only work of art Michelangelo ever signed; he carved his name across Mary's chest.
A French ambassador in Rome, Cardinal Jean de Bilheres, commissioned the Pieta to serve as a memorial for his tomb.
The famous sculpture was loaned to the United States in 1964 and displayed at the New York World's Fair.
There is no mention in the Christian Bible of Mary holding Jesus after his crucifixion.
In the 1700s the sculpture was damaged while being moved. The damage to four fingers on Mary's left was repaired in 1736.
In 1972 a mentally disturbed man attacked the statue with a hammer doing severe damage including damage to Mary's arm and nose.