My Florence Pages: Michelangelo’s Pieta

Michelangelo’s Pieta at the Duomo Museum in Florence was probably my favorite sculpture and I am not really sure why. It was not his most perfect work.( He reportedly tried to destroy it- so imperfect did he think it was). Yet, it was the only sculpture that made me cry. There is something about Nicodemus wearing Michelangelo’s face that gives me goose pimples. It could be his expression as he carries Christ’s limp body or the gentle arc his body makes against the wall. It could very well be the fact that there was nobody else in the room for almost  fifteen whole minutes, while we were in there.

For me, the Pieta was a reminder that death is not fleeting. That it hangs as solidly as Jesus’ heavy hand. That life doesn’t go back to exactly the way it was, before death and loss, and that it doesn’t have to. I find that thought strangely comforting.



  1. I am sometimes vulnerable to even simple melodrama. But with most forms, the appreciation of the ‘craft’ invariably comes in the way being my moved.

    Sculpture – even with my minimal familiarity – baffles me. The realization in stone of the conceived ‘moment’ is so drenched in the creator’s sweat. It is hurdled by a hundred ‘sub-tasks’ of creating- each individually trivial – that it is a miracle that the conceived moment is realized in the final product – even if not in full measure- substantially. And when each of us sees it, we see it through our own prism. Everything that we know and are, rallies behind us as we see it.

    Your note about death and loss seems so bang on when I see the pic now.

    • You are right- the ‘oh my God! how did he/she do it?’ could come in the way of actually being moved by it. I try to sort of allow a visceral response before the appreciation kicks in..:) (but that doesn’t always work)

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