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Ten, Karen Ami

Michelangelo's Pietá

The Museum of Biblical Art has recently acquired a life-size replica of Michelangelos
Pietá cast in bronze and authorized by the Vatican. It came directly from the Michelangelo
Museum--Fondazione Casa Buonarroti in Florence, Italy.

This extaordinary bronze was cast by Ferdinando Marinelli, Sr. working with family members, who have cast monumental sculptures all over the world. Working many years for the Vatican, Ferdinando had the opportunity to create negative molds on nearly every
important original classical and Renaissance sculpture, particularly Michelangelos masterpieces. The Artistic Foundry in Florence created the bronze replica using the same
traditional lost wax casting technique that was used by Greeks and Romans and by
famous artists of the Renaissance.

When Michelangelo completed the Pietá in 1499, he was only 24 years old and the
premier sculptor in Italy. Though he lived to be almost 90 and carved sculptures of inimitable force and compassion, Michelangelo never again achieved the sublime expression of the Pietá.

The scene of the Pietá, in which Christs body is placed across his mourning mothers knees, is not mentioned in the Bible, but during the middle ages was cited as one of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin. the serenity of Michelangelos interpretation is a departure from the prior tradition. Our deepest feelings are touched by the sight of Christ, as if in death he has again become a child gathered up in his mothers arms. Her expression is mild and contemplative and the Savior's torso and limbs are smooth--hardly showing the marks of his sufferings.

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