All three versions of Michelangelo’s Pietà are now on display at the Museo Opera del Duomo in Florence (you might recognize the museum from the Florence episode of Dream of Italy’s PBS TV show). The title of the exhibit, Le Tre Pietà di Michelangelo: Non vi si pensa quanto sangue costa (“We do not think of how much blood it costs”), refers to a passage in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The Pietà from St. Peter’s Basilica—arguably the most famous version—as well as the Rondanini Pietà from the Vatican Museums and the Bandini Pietà will remain on exhibit through August 1, 2022 in Florence, then will move to the Palazzo Reale in Milan in the fall.
The Museo Opera del Duomo exhibit is part of a wider traveling art initiative titled Mediterranean, Frontier of Peace, Education and Reconciliation themed around research, sociocultural impact and international cooperation from Mediterranean countries and the Pope.
The three marble pieces, collectively created from 1498 to 1564, represent a significant chunk of Michelangelo’s artistic life. The St. Peter’s Basilica Pietà (1498-1499) is the first one in the series, depicting a youthful Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus.
Next came the Bandini Pietà, also called The Deposition, sculpted from 1547 to 1555. Its four figures include Jesus supported by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and a hooded Nicodemus that is also believed to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo.
Michelangelo worked on the Rondanini Pietà from 1552 until his death in 1564, and the sculpture remains unfinished. It features the Virgin Mary mourning over a deceased Jesus.
Piazza del Duomo, 9; 39-055-2302885; www.duomo.firenze.it; open daily except Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; tickets from 15€
— Elaine Murphy