The Rondanini Pieta’

June 12, 2012 / Art & Archaeology
MIlan, Lombardia

Many people use Milano as a hub, seeing only the stunning painting of “The Last Supper” before heading elsewhere. However, if you give Milano a chance you’ll be richly rewarded with art, architecture, and culture.

A great first stop is stern Castello Sforzesco, once home to the Dukes of Milan, in the heart of the city overlooking Parco Sempione. Tucked away in the 15th and final room of the Pinacoteca in the Castello, you will find an unusual and extraordinary treasure… the final work of Michelangelo. He began work on the Pieta Rondanini beginning in the 1550s and continued right up until the last days of his life in 1564. It was at this time that he is said to have transformed it by chiseling away at it until all that remained of his original vision of the sculpture was Christ’s dismembered right arm. Perhaps sensing his own mortality changed his view, who is to say?

One thing that is clear is that this sculpture is very different from any of his others. You may even sense the master through the raw chisel marks left indelibly on its surface, just visible here as they are invisible on his other pieces. From certain angles it appears that Christ is holding Mary up, taking her weight against his back rather than her holding him.

If you are in Milan be sure to extend your visit for this incredible piece and for everything else this great city has to offer!

by Michelle De Martin

Michelle is an aspiring writer, Italophile, language lover, foodie, and wife of a first generation Canadian. She’s been fortunate enough to visit her husband’s family in Italy’s Veneto region frequently and travels throughout Italy fairly extensively.

9 Responses to “The Rondanini Pieta’”

  1. reid nichols

    *dukes, 1550s. Never use an apostrophe to make a plural. Grammatically incorrect.

  2. Joan Schmelzle

    This Pieta is indeed a great sight to see. I love Milan and never fly into there without spending enough time to see this and several other favorites. I have long said that whichever of Michelangelo’s Pietas I am standing in front of is my favorite, and that definitely includes this work.

  3. There are the obvious treasures of Milan such as the Duomo, Galleria, Last Supper of Leonardo and the Pieta. But, for future reference, I would love to know of other ‘treasures’ (not counting the couture that costs a treasure).

  4. francesco costa

    caro gb, torno da nove fantastici giorni trascorsi a lisbona che è una città meravigliosa, e piena di gente estremamente ospitale, ma che nostalgia delle bellezze d’italia, della mia trastevere e del tuo “italian notebook”! in nessun altro luogo posso essere felice come qui! devo leggere tutto quello che è stato scritto in mia assenza per rifarmi! ormai i vostri pezzi sono una specie di droga! un abbraccio e buon lavoro, francesco

  5. Gian Banchero

    When I was an art student this particular sculpture proved a strong inspiration to fellow students of modern art, though not finished it is still a masterpiece. Thanks Michelle for reminding me/us of its existence.

  6. Angela Finch

    The most moving of all his sculptures. Michaelangelo cuts to the core with the clarity brought on by old-age.


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