Rondanini Pietà by Michelangelo 

Rondanini Pietà Museum, Castello Sforzesco 

Unfinished, fragile, moving, poetic, intense ... This is how Rondanini’s Pietà is often defined. Michelangelo Buonarroti, dedicated more than ten years of work (from 1552 to 1564) to this marble sculpture expressing in it all the emotions of the last part of his life.

The symbol of piety runs throughout Michelangelo's life, from the Pietà di San Pietro, sculpted by a young Michelangelo in his early twenties and immediately recognized as a masterpiece, to the Bandini Pietà, left partially unfinished due to a break in the marble, up to the Rondanini Pietà, sculpted, not on commission but for personal purposes with its emotional and spiritual meanings.

One of the first things that catches the eye is the vertical tension of this sculpture, the upward momentum given by the two standing figures who, however, in turning their gaze downwards and in the slight curvature of the back, balance the composition showing the human fragility and tenderness of the mother who supports the child.

Michelangelo had already sketched the figure of Jesus when he decided to modify the structure of the sculpture by drawing the bust of Christ in front of the Madonna, creating a special closeness between the two bodies. Even looking at the work in profile, the visual effect is that the figure of the mother offers with her curvature the last shelter and thoughtful protection to her son.

Rondanini Pietà, hosted in the Castello Sforzesco in an entirely dedicated room and recently restored, dazzles mostly for its incompleteness, for the figure of Christ that seems to want to emerge from the marble and at the same time yields to rest, for the embraced bodies transpiring pain and tenderness, for the close faces that seem to caress each other, for that imperfection that leaves the right amount to the imagination ...

It looks beautiful in the picture but seeing it live is a touching experience!

Sign up for the Best Western Hotel City newsletter, discover other curiosities about Milan and receive the best available rates.