Although seeing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel was a huge check off of my "bucket list", I found his Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica to be so much more compelling. I found it interesting how this marble form is so heavy and stable, yet at the same time so delicate and ethereal. The juxtaposition of the visual weight of Mary's body with the lightness and youth of her face and the frailty of Christ's figure made it's emotional impact even greater.
Often, religious art seems so "over the top", exaggerated, and idealized. This piece feels very human. It makes my heart break.
The downwardly sloping folds of fabric add to the sense of visual weight and movement. The same lines are echoed in Christ's arm, torso, and Mary's chin and facial features. Everything seems to be falling downwards, as tears would fall down one's cheeks.