Restoration will remove centuries of grime and stabilise the sculpture at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Experts are poised to begin the restoration of Michelangelo’s marble Pietà at Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in full view of the public, the philanthropic group known as the Friends of Florence and the nonprofit Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore announced today.
The sculptural group, on which Michelangelo worked from 1547 to 1555, when he was about to turn 80, depicts Jesus Christ after his descent from the cross, supported by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and an aged Nicodemus, who bears a resemblance to the artist himself. Michelangelo famously destroyed parts of the sculpture and left it unfinished out of frustration with his progress and the quality of the marble.
Over the centuries, the work has accumulated dirt and candle wax and undergone interventions in which iron rods were inserted to repair breakages, says the conservator Paola Rosa, who will lead the restoration. Friends of Florence is financing the conservation project, which was commissioned by the monument watchdog group the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and is expected to continue until early summer next year.