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The 10 Most Famous Sculptures of Michelangelo

20 January - 2017
by Vincent Moleveld


Michelangelo is one of the best known and best sculptor of all time. Everyone recognizes his David, this image attracts thousands of visitors a day. Michelangelo has made many sculptures in his life, and in this post we list the best and best-known for you. Read on for The 10 Most Famous Sculptures of Michelangelo!

Rondanini Pietà 1550 to 1564, Castello Sforzesco, Milan

The Rondanini Pietà is an unfinished, marble sculpture that Michelangelo worked on from around 1550 until the last days of his life, in 1564. The statue can be seen in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. As the last image of the artist, the Rondanini Pietà refers to Mary mourning over the body of her son Jesus. Michelangelo worked this theme out three or four times, for the first time in his famous Pietà from 1499.

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Pitti Tondo, 1503, Bargello, Florence

Pitti Tondo is a marble bas-relief of the Virgin and Child. It was produced between 1503 and 1504 and can now be viewed at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.



Cristo della Minerva, between 1515 and 1521, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome

The Cristo della Minerva, also known as Christ the Redeemer, the risen Christ or Christ carrying the cross, is a marble sculpture made between 1515 and 1521. The statue is in the Santa Maria sopra Minerva church, in Rome, to the left of the main altar . The statue was praised by artist Sebastiano del Piombo who made the later famous statement that "the knee of Christ is worth more than the rest of Rome". The originally naked statue was provided with a loincloth in the Baroque period, because the nude provoked protest at this prominent place in the church.



Florence Pietà, between 1547 and 1553, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence

The Florence Pietà (also known as the Descent from the Cross or the Pietà del Duomo) is a marble, unfinished, sculpture located in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, in Florence. The statue, which Michelangelo worked on between 1547 and 1553, was intended by him for his own burial monument in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, but never ended up there.

The artist himself broke the statue in a rage when during the work it became apparent that the marble was not in good condition. As a result, the left leg of the Christ figure is still missing. A student of Michelangelo, Tiberio Calcagni, has restored the work, and added the figure of Mary Magdalene on the left.



Madonna with child, between 1501-1504, Church of Our Lady, Bruges

The Madonna with Child, also known as the Bruges Madonna, is a marble sculpture of Mary with the child Jesus. The statue, preserved in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, is known as the only sculpture by Michelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime. Michelangelo made the statue between 1501 and 1504, just after he had made his famous Pietà.

The image in Bruges therefore has similarities in style characteristics with that image, for example in the face of Mary, but also with the way the clothing is designed. The statue was supposedly intended for the Piccolomini altar in the Cathedral of Siena for which Michelangelo also made a few other statues. The statue was acquired for 4000 florins by Giovanni and Alessandro Moscheroni (Mouscron, Moucheron). The image left Belgium twice. The first time in 1794 when the French occupier robbed it and brought it to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat, it returned to Bruges on January 3, 1816.

During the withdrawal of the German troops in 1944, the statue was picked up in the middle of the night from 6 to 7 September and, wrapped in a mattress, carried away in a truck with the Red Cross emblem, together with a dozen paintings from the same church. The shipment arrived in Germany via the Netherlands. In 1945 everything was found in a salt mine in the Austrian Altaussee. The Madonna returned to Belgium in mid-1945, and after being exhibited for a few months at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, it returned to Bruges and to the Church of Our Lady on 12 November 1945.


Buonarroti Michelangelo - Madonna and Child (detail)

Bacchus, 1497, Bargello, Florence

Bacchus is a marble sculpture of the Roman Bacchus (with the Greeks under the name Dionysus), the god of wine. It is in the Bargello museum in Florence. It was made in 1497. The image is 203 centimeters high. Michelangelo has deliberately depicted the image in an excessively faltering manner with a small satyr as a counterweight (and support).



New Sacristy of the Basilica San Lorenzo, between 1519 and 1534, Florence

Michelangelo worked on the tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano de 'Medici between 1520 and 1534. The two graves, although similar in composition, present subtle contrasts and in many ways reflect the different characters of the two men. While Giuliano is portrayed in an extroverted way, Michelangelo portrays Lorenzo receding, his body closed, his legs crossed, and lost in thought.


tomb of giuliano de medici

Moses, between 1513 and 1516, San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

Michelangelo's Moses is a marble sculpture made between 1513 and 1516. It is a representation of the Biblical person Moses in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. Originally the sculpture was intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II in St. Peter's Basilica, but Moses and the tomb were placed instead in the minor church of San Pietro in Vincoli on the Esquiline in Rome. The statue represents Moses with horns on his head.

It is assumed that this is due to the incorrect translation of Exodus 34: 29-35 by Jerome of Stridon. In these verses, Stridon translated Moses with karan ohr, meaning that rays of light came from Moses. No vowels are written in Hebrew. Stridon translated "קרן" (KRN) as "karan" which means "horn" instead of "turning", which means "radius". Michelangelo himself thought that Moses' artwork was his most lifelike creation. There is a legend that when Michelangelo finished Moses' right knee, he said "Perché non parli?" ("Why do not you talk!").

He spoke this while slapping his hammer on Moses' knee. The image shows a scar on the knee that is expected to occur as a result. According to some, Michelangelo would also have incorporated a very small self-portrait into one of the plucks of his bulky beard, although this is not one hundred percent clear and is therefore questioned by others.



Pietà, between 1498 and 1499, Sint Pieter, Vatican City

Michelangelo's Pietà is a famous marble sculpture by Michelangelo. The pietà is in a chapel on the right side of the nave of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. The dimensions are 174 cm by 195 cm. The French cardinal Jean Bilhères de Lagraulas ordered the statue in 1498 from the then twenty-three-year-old Michelangelo. The work was probably intended for his tomb in St. Peter's Basilica, but soon gained its own place in the new basilica.

Michelangelo himself attached great importance to the Pietà: of all his works, this is the only one signed by him. He would have signed the image only after he had noticed that there was a quarrel about who made it. Michelangelo then chiseled his signature on the ribbon that holds Maria's robe together. The image has been damaged several times, especially in 1972 when it was destroyed with a hammer by the geologist Laszlo Toth. This mentally disturbed man exclaimed that he was Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. The sculpture is now protected against attacks by means of a glass plate.



David, circa 1501-1504, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo's David is one of the best known sculptures in art history. The monumental statue was made between 1501 and 1504 at the time of the High Renaissance in Florence. It is located there in the Accademia Gallery. The statue is 5.17 m high, including the pedestal.

It represents the biblical figure of David as he is about to attack the giant Goliath with the loaded sling over his shoulder. Michelangelo's design was based on the marble block already damaged by Di Duccio, he did not add marble. As a result, the image is spatially wide, but not that deep. In proportion, the upper body is quite large, probably because the work was intended to be placed on a high pedestal and one would then see it in perspective, looking diagonally upwards.

This could also be the relationships of adolescent David. The image shows a strong physical appearance, with a beautiful anatomy. Originally the statue stood outside in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio. To better protect it against the weather, the work was moved to the Accademia in 1873. A replica has been on the Piazza since 1910.



  Source: Wikipedia