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Michelangelo’s Pieta

Michelangelo’s most famous piece of sculpture is probably the Pieta of 1498-9.  Art essays like to compare this with another religious piece of sculpture, the St. Matthew, which was executed in the first decade of the 16th century.

The Pieta is undoubtedly one of the great technical masterpieces of carved stone.  Michelangelo’s PietaIt is all delicacy and precision and Michelangelo’s most finished sculpture.  The word “virtuosity” (which de Tolnay applies to it) must surely come to one’s mind when one views this exquisitely crafted piece of sculpture.

The St. Matthew is an entirely different work. For one thing, it is unfinished; it was part of the work Michelangelo, did on the tomb of Julius II, work that, because it was never completed, caused Michelangelo great distress. Here we have a work not of elegance, but power, a work not of gentle sadness, but of the primitive suffering of the soul struggling in the too narrow envelope of the body.

The aesthetic beauty of the Pieta is something extraordinary and its technical perfection exemplifies one of the key aspects of Michelangelo’s genius—his mastery of the various media in which he chose to work.  One gets the impression from the Pieta that its creator could do anything with stone that he liked, that he had achieved a kind of confidence and authority with respect to technique that gave him the freedom to create anything he wished to create. Great virtuosos in any art form convey that sense of authority and mastery over the media that they make use of; within their realm they appear almost superhuman.

Related Research Paper Topics

Michelangelo's David - Michelangelo's David research papers discuss one of his most famous sculptures.

Michelangelo and Giotto - Michelangelo and Giotto research papers discuss the similarities, as well as contrasts, between Michelangelo and Giotto.

High Renaissance - High Renaissance research papers examine the Italian Renaissance period famous for artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Baroque Art - Research papers on Baroque Art talk about the art pieces that were created between the late-1500s and the early-1700s.

Baroque Architecture - Baroque Architecture research papers discuss the European Architecture that began in the late 16th century.

Italian Renaissance - These new techniques were applied to painting as well, represented by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Botticelli.

Romanesque Art - Romanesque Art research papers examine the Roman art that is frequently concerned with religious imagery.

Early Christian Art - Early Christian Art research papers overview how early Christian artists adopted various pagan motifs as means of not raising suspicion.

Gothic Art - Gothic Art research papers examine the art style that emerged during the late Middle Ages.

Giotto di Bondone - Giotto di Bondone has made a major impact in art history, and it is debated that he was the beginning of the Renaissance art period.

Early Renaissance - Early Renaissance painting research papers look at the era of Greek and Roman paintings along with Italian Artists.

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