The Rondanini Pietà is the last sculpture by Michelangelo, who worked on it until the last days of his life. The iconography of the Pietà is of northern provenance: and portrays the Madonna holding the dead body of Jesus Christ after the deposition from the cross. The theme is present throughout Michelangelo’s life, from the Pietà (Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica) produced during his youth, to the mature and complex Bandini Pietà (Florence, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo), which he created in the mid-1500s and destroyed around 1555. Following this episode, he started carving the marble that would yield the Rondanini Pietà. Unrestrained by requests that could be made by a client and free to work for himself, Michelangelo limits the number of figures to the Mother and Son, both standing,. A first version of the group can be observed in drawings and in some highly finished areas of the marble, such as the legs and right arm, which is detached from the body. At a later date , the sculptor decided to modify the group by reprocessing the marble and enhancing the slenderness of the figures, which become more delicate and finer. Direct work on the marble continues until a few days before the artist’s death in Rome in 1564, at the age of almost ninety. The sculpture still presents signs of intensive processing and thus remains impressively unfinished. Reported as present in the sculptor’s workshop after his death, it reappeared only in 1807, in the Roman Palace of Marquis Rondinini (hence the name, later distorted into Rondanini). It is only since the early 1900s that the sculpture awoke the interest of scholars as a genuine masterpiece that was consistent with the taste of the emerging Expressionism. The most significant part of the work’s ascent into the limelight was its purchase by the Milan Municipality in 1952, also with public donations. the sculpture was finally assigned to the Sforza Castle’s museums. In a city that was still marked by the bomb attacks of 1943, Milanese citizens considered the purchase a cultural rebirth.


  • Title: Rondanini Pietà
  • Creator: Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • Date Created: 1550 circa - 1564
  • Location: Comune di Milano - Civiche Raccolte Artistiche, Castello Sforzesco, Milano
  • Physical Dimensions: w70 x h196 x d73 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Comune di Milano - Raccolte Artistiche del Castello Sforzesco.
  • External Link: https://rondanini.milanocastello.it/
  • Medium: Marble
  • Art Form: Sculpture
  • Original title: Pietà Rondanini
  • Artist Nationality: Italian
  • Artist Death Place: Rome
  • Artist Death Date: 18 February 1564
  • Artist Birth Place: Caprese Michelangelo (Arezzo)
  • Artist Birth Date: 06 March 1475

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