Bringing a deathly Michelangelo sculpture back to life

Bringing a deathly Michelangelo sculpture back to life

Michelangelo was an old man when he began working on a sculpture he envisioned for an altar for his own tomb: It was of a marble Pietà, depicting Jesus supported by the Virgin Mary, St. Mary Magdalene and the pharisee Nicodemus, whose face is a barely etched self-portrait of the aging artist. Michelangelo worked on the project between 1547 and 1555, while he was in his 70s, and it was a difficult project from the outset. His friend and biographer Giorgio Vasari wrote the marble block was flawed and full of impurities and that “the chisel often struck sparks from it.” Michelangelo grew frustrated, eventually abandoning the work, and Vasari wrote that Michelangelo tried to destroy it. But the sculpture survived, and last week the Pietà was publicly celebrated here after its first major restoration in almost 470 years. Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director of the Opera del Duomo Museum, which has been home to the statue for the past 40 years, said, “This is Michelangelo’s
Michelangelo was an old man when he began working on a sculpture he envisioned for an altar for his own tomb: It was of a marble Pietà, depicting Jesus supported by the Virgin Mary, St. Mary Magdalene and the pharisee Nicodemus, whose face is a barely etched self-portrait of the aging artist. Michelangelo worked on the project between 1547 and 1555, while he was in his 70s, and it was a difficult project from the outset. His friend and biographer Giorgio Vasari wrote the marble block was flawed and full of impurities and that “the chisel often struck sparks from it.” Michelangelo grew frustrated, eventually abandoning the work, and Vasari wrote that Michelangelo tried to destroy it. But the sculpture survived, and last week the Pietà was publicly celebrated here after its first major restoration in almost 470 years. Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director of the Opera del Duomo Museum, which has been home to the statue for the past 40 years, said, “This is Michelangelo’s