Skip to Main Content


UE: HUM 110CL: Giants of the Arts: Michelangelo

About Michelangelo



La Pieta

La Pietà (Rome, St Peter’s), is considered the work that marked the turning-point in Michelangelo’s fortunes. Commissioned in 1497 by the French Cardinal Jean Villiers de La Grolais (c. 1430–99) for his own tomb, it was begun the following year and was finished by 1500. It signals the beginning of Michelangelo’s maturity as a sculptor. It shows great textural richness, a characteristic noted by Vasari in his description of the inert body of Christ. This sensitively carved surface is strongly contrasted with the unpolished textures of rock and tree stump. . . Its grace of contour is most apparent in the drapery: the tight, dampfold loincloth of Christ, the ruches and complex crinkles of Mary’s robes and the controlled but generous sweep of the shroud, which both cradles and displays Christ’s corpse. Much of the pathos of the group derives from this drapery.  - Oxford Art Encyclopedia online