Restoration of unfinished Michelangelo masterpiece completed
TORONTO -- The project to restore an unfinished sculpture that was abandoned by Renaissance master Michelangelo has finally been completed.
The Deposition, also known as the Bandini Pietà, is over two metres tall, weighs approximately 2,700 kilograms and was carved in the middle of the 16th century. It depicts a figure of Jesus Christ being held by his mother, Mary Magdalene and a third figure whose face is a rare self-portrait of Michelangelo himself.
The sculpture was originally meant to decorate the artist’s tomb.
“It’s a deeply personal work that he intended to express his spirit even after he died,” Timothy Verdon, director of the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence, Italy, where the sculpture was restored, told CTV National News. “He was very old when he began. He was 80 when he stopped working on it.”
There’s a myth that Michelangelo was so unhappy with the sculpture that he tried to destroy it.
“He had begun to doubt that the art to which he had devoted his life was a sufficient justification for that life,” Verdon said. “He no longer believed fully in what he was doing.”
But the museum found no evidence that Michelangelo attempted to damage the piece. Rather, it’s more likely he simply stopped working on it due to imperfections in the marble.
For the past two years, visitors of the museum were able to watch its restoration live as workers used cotton swabs dipped in deionized hot water to dislodge centuries of dirt and candle wax encrusted in the sculpture.
Now, the public can view the restored, albeit unfinished, masterpiece through guided tours at the museum from Sept. 25 to March 30.