La Pietà by Michelangelo: a teaching of compassion and devotion
The famous Pietà is a marble sculpture, designed and realized by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed today inside the Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is a timeless and unique piece of Italian art which is adored by many Christians from all over the world, depicting the Blessed Mother Mary while holding up Her ailing son Jesus Christ, right after being crucified on the Calvary.
Do you know what its true meaning is?
Discover it by reading our blog post.
Michelangelo’s Pietà: the story of the sculpture
This famous sculpture was commissioned for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, who was the French ambassador in Rome at that time. Entirely made with high quality Carrara marble (from Tuscany), it was made for the cardinal’s funeral monument and it was then moved to its current location (St. Peter’s Basilica, right hand side after entering it). It is the only work of art that Michelangelo ever signed and depicts the Holy Virgin Mary holding up the suffering body of Jesus Christ, after his crucifixion. It is a majestic and unique piece of art which balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism and it has been adored by many Christians for its deep meaning.
Did you know that you can have your own representation of the Pietà by Michelangelo?
On our website, you will find two different versions of this world famous sculpture: one realized in white marble, like the original one, and another in hand-painted wood that can be a colorful option for your Catholic home decor.
Choose your favorite!
The meaning of the Pietà
As everybody knows, the Pietà represents the Virgin mourning over the dead body of her only Son, Jesus. It represents the chastity of the Blessed Mother Mary, her passion towards her Son, and the principle sublimity of death. In this artistic representation, St. Mary looks very young; maybe even too young if we consider that Jesus was around 33 when he was crucified. This is because, through her youth, Michelangelo wanted to express to Christians the effects on the Virgin of being such a noble example of chastity and purity. Her complete lack of lascivious desire allowed her to stay young much longer than other women. Even if it is a work of art depicting loud cries of mourning or devastation at the death of her Son, the Virgin exhibits rather a serene scene of tranquility and graceful acceptance, typical of those who have a strong faith in God's will and plans for us.
The representation of compassion and devotion
The word Pietà, which is “mercy” in English, finds its origins in the Italian word for “pity” and the Latin word for “Piety”, giving it a sense of compassion and devotion at the same time.
Exactly as the Virgin looks serene and shows a graceful acceptance, in the same way Christian should embrace the will of God, because He loves us unconditionally, to the point of sacrificing His only Son. This is the reason why the Pietà by Michelangelo can be considered a graphic representation of devotion and acceptance of God’s will.
What gave the Virgin that serene expression, despite the great mourning, is her strong faith in God and in his will. When we completely embrace God’s will and trust in Him, we will never fail, we will never fall apart, because He is our pillar, our Eternal Father that always guides us on the right path.
So, even when going through a hard time, do not be afraid, because God always has a plan for you.
If you feel very compassionate and devoted to God and want to show it, bring these two powerful Christian values always with you, by wearing the Pietà’s Medal, available in many different sizes and materials, such as metal, sterling silver or 18K gold.
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