The secrets of the «Pieta» that Michelangelo tried to destroy come to light




Begun last November, after the interruption by the Covid-19 pandemic, the restoration of the “Mercy” of Miguel Angel, preserved in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Florence, also known as «Piedad Bandini». It is one of the three made by Buonarroti (the other two are in the Vatican and in Sforzesco Castle in Milan), it is unfinished and the artist tried to destroy it. As of next Monday, September 21, it will be possible to access the restaurant thanks to special guided tours, for a maximum of five people at a time, with the restorers and experts of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Detail of one of the most damaged areas – AFP

Meanwhile, the first cleaning of the surface, finished on the back of the sculptural group and in the initial phase on the front, is bringing out the colors resulting from previous marble treatments. From the restoration also arise unknown detailsFrom the marks made with different tools to the impressions of the nineteenth-century mold pieces or the traces of previous interventions, hidden under a thick layer of accumulated and modified deposits of dust mixed with waxes. in the more than 470 years of life of the work.

Another of the most damaged areas of the sculpture
Another of the most damaged areas of the sculpture – AFP

Sculpture, of more than two meters high, was started around 1550 in Rome. Represents the body of Christ sustained by Nicodemus, embraced by the virgin mary and, to the left of the group, Maria Magdalena. On the face of Nicodemus the artist made his own self portrait. At this time, Michelangelo was already very influenced by his deep religious thought. The idea was that this sculptural group was placed in his grave in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

A restorer repairs the arm of Christ
A restorer repairs the arm of Christ – AFP

Michelangelo sold the sculpture to Francesco Bandini for two hundred escudos, since he changed his mind and decided to be buried in Florence. The work was in the Roman villa of Francesco Bandini until its transfer and placement in the church of San Lorenzo in Florence by Cosimo III in 1674. There it remained until in 1722 it was transferred to Santa María del Fiore and finally from 1960 it is exhibited in the cathedral museum.

The «Piedad Bandini», by Michelangelo, from behind
The «Piedad Bandini», by Michelangelo, from behind – AFP

Miguel Angel, dissatisfied with his work, he began to destroy it, but was stopped by his servant. Are appreciated scars on the left arm and leg of Christ and on the fingers of the Virgin’s hand. The figure of Magdalena, to the left of the group, It was completed by Tiberio Calcagni, student and friend of Miguel Ángel.

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