Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums hosts Pietà sculptures until 6 January.

Plaster casts of the three Pietà sculptures by Renaissance master Michelangelo are on display together in the Pinacoteca at the Vatican Museums from 7 April until 6 January 2024.

The three “historic casts” portray the Pietà in St Peter’s along with casts of the Bandini Pietà, from Florence’s cathedral museum, and the Rondanini Pietà from the Vatican Museums.

The display in the Vatican is the third and final part of an exhibition that saw the three casts displayed first at the Museo Dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence and then at the Palazzo Reale in Milan last year.

The cast of the Bandini Pietà dates to around 1882, while the cast of the Rondanini Pietà was made in 1953.

The plaster cast of the St Peter’s Pietà was made in 1975, three years after the masterpiece was badly vandalised in the infamous attack by Laszlo Toth.

Organisers say the display will allow viewers to study the evolution of Michelangelo’s art over a period of more than half a century.

A brief history

The St Peter’s Pietà dates to 1498–1499 and was completed when Michelangelo was aged just 24. The world-renowned work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

Michelangelo worked on the Bandini Pietà, also called The Deposition or The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, between 1547 and 1555 when he was in his 70s.

It depicts Jesus after his descent from the cross, supported by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and an aged Nicodemus, who bears a resemblance to Michelangelo himself.

The artist sculpted the Rondanini Pietà, his last work, from 1552 until the last days of his life, in 1564.

The marble statue, which was left unfinished, is on display today at Milan’s Castello Sforzesco.

It depicts the mourning Virgin Mary struggling to hold the upright body of Jesus close to hers.

The exhibition at the Pinacoteca is included in the Vatican Museums itinerary. Photo ANSA.

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