It clearly brings out two images; that of a noble woman holding a brutalized young man in her lap. There is compassion in the woman’s eyes; compassion that only a mother could show towards her offspring. The nobility of the woman is perhaps best portrayed by cloth. The woman, the Virgin Mary, is well covered with reputable apparel from head to toe. She has a head cloth and her torso is well covered in generous amount of clothing. It is symbolic for the dignity that she was accorded, both by Michelangelo and the staunch believers in Christianity. This dignity is deprived the young man in the monument (Jesus Christ). Michelangelo almost portrays Jesus with nudity save for a flimsy clothing around his groin. This is symbolic for the disrespect Jesus was subjected to during crucifixion, and the brutality by which he was handled. The significance of this monument runs deeper than is seen in its meticulous color and texture. It is the only art work Michelangelo ever put his sign to, despite his varied amount of artwork in his life time. The artist, Michelangelo, on a piece of marble skillfully curved the structure, leaving nothing to chance. The Pieta has detailed characteristics, owing to its physical appearance. There are contrasting features of the statue, especially with the clothing, the face of the characters and the stone forming the base of the statue. Michelangelo held so much regard for this artwork that he decided to gift it to the Vatican City, which placed it at the St. Peter’s Basilica.
The personal touch that Michelangelo portrays with this monument emanates from the fact that it was a custom product for the French Cardinal, Jean de Billheres. Pieta was originally for the funeral of the French Cardinal and perhaps explains why Michelangelo signed it and accorded it utmost attention in terms of curving and detail. Michelangelo selects a very beautiful stone on which to curve this sculpture. With the same beautiful stone forming its base, the monument maintains consistency and compactness that accords it its elegance. Its smooth finishing accords it a shinny glow that adds onto its beauty. Michelangelo also ascertains to minimize extra baggage in the monument by making it concisely about Mary and Jesus. Despite its large size, the monument only depicts the two people without adding in the aspects of their surroundings. This ensures that details are clearly revealed without confusion and that anybody is able to translate meaning without stretching their imagination. Additionally, the monument is not haphazard. Michelangelo ensured that it acquired a pyramidal shape with the apex of the pyramid coinciding with Mary’s head. The top section of the monument then maintains a narrow outlook, which progressively widen towards the base. The wide base on which the monument stands represents the Rock of Golgotha and helps make the pyramidal structure perfect. However, critics of this monument argue that it comes out rather too big as Michelangelo opts to curve full-size portraits of the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ, instead of including aspects of their surrounding in the monument (Wallace). They argue it lacks proportion because it builds two large images upon a small base. Additionally, some argue that the near nude portrayal of Jesus Christ is unethical and disrespectful to the Christ (Wallace). A lot have been said about the body language between mother and son in this monument and the