ROME — A recovery of one of Michelangelo’s sculptures of the Madonna and Christ has discovered previously unknown particulars, including the artist’s instrument marks, which was hidden beneath centuries of wax and dust.
Florence’s Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo stated Wednesday the cleanup of this Bandini Pieta, which started last year but had been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, had resumed and that the public was invited in tiny bands to come view restorers on the job.
The cleaning, the earliest recognized recovery of this sculpture, is painstaking: Restorers are using cotton swabs dipped in deionized warm water to purify the accumulated scum in the cracks of the massive bit of Carrara marble.
Michelangelo carved the Bandini Pieta involving 1547-1555 when he was almost 80. It is the third known Pieta from the Renaissance master.
The Florence ministry stated that unlike the other two Pietas, in which Christ’s body has been held up only by his mommy, the Christ figure at the Bandini Pieta is held up too by Mary Magdalene and the biblical personality Nicodemus, whose head is a self-portrait of Michelangelo himself.
Michelangelo had planned the sculpture to be set at a Rome chapel close where he envisaged with his grave. However, the museum stated he finally abandoned the job and even attempted to destroy it before committing it to a slave who had it mended.