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Rome Reports

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The other Pietà by Michelangelo recovers its splendor after delicate restoration process


It was necessary to use a special mix of hot deionized water to deep-clean the accumulated dust from the cracks and small slits in the rock. Each part has been restored with a specific process after a detailed analysis of the damages. The effort was worthwhile.

It's Michelangelo's other Pietà, not the most well-known, but perhaps the most personal. It's a piece created from old age. The artist sculpted it when he was nearly 80 years old.

Michelangelo was preparing it for his tomb inside a church in Rome. That could be why he sculpted his own face into the piece. His wish never materialized, and the genius abandoned the work. He even tried to destroy it, but one of his servants rescued it.

The sculpture depicts Nicodemus holding Christ's body. His face is that of Michelangelo. The body of the crucified also rests on the Blessed Mother. They're accompanied by Mary Magdalene.

The Museo dell'Opera of the Duomo in Florence now showcases the result of this restoration of the so-called Florentine Pietà, or Bandini Pietà. The cleaning tasks began last year, but were suspended because of the pandemic.

The project resumed as soon as possible, and this is the result: a marble piece from Carrara almost as dazzling as the one Michelangelo sculpted between 1547 and 1555.