Unfinished Pieta

Michelangelo and the “Unfinished” Sculptures

I had mentioned in an earlier post about Michelangelo and the “Unfinished” sculptures. Here are some of the pieces in the Accademia’s main hall.

Unfinished Sculpture
Unfinished Sculpture

If you look carefully at them, it’s hard to truly call them unfinished – there is a certain deliberateness about what is carved finely and what is left rough.

Unfinished Sculpture
Unfinished Sculpture

The coarse textures blend very naturally with the revealed forms. To my eyes, and from my (granted rather limited) experience of stone carving, this kind of texture and modeling is something done very intentionally.

Unfinished Sculpture
Unfinished Sculpture

While there are certainly areas that are unrefined, the transitions are fascinating and at the very least provide an insight into the working technique of a genius master sculptor, and given how far ahead he was in so many other aspects of his art, it is entirely possible for him to have been five centuries ahead of his time in his thinking, much the way Caravaggio’s paintings were.

Unfinished Sculpture
Unfinished Sculpture

And I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without remarking on something that virtually everyone who’s ever looked at a Michelangelo painting or sculpture of a woman has noticed- his women are really just men with boobs and long hair. The hand of Mary that’s supporting a very robust looking Jesus in this “unfinished” Pieta is one of the manliest hands I’ve ever seen on a woman.

Unfinished Pieta
Unfinished Pieta

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