The Deposition (Michelangelo)

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The Deposition ("The Florentine Pietà")
Pieta Bandini Opera Duomo Florence n01.jpg
Artist Michelangelo
Year c. 1547–1553
Type Marble
Dimensions 226 cm (89 in)
Location Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence

The Deposition (also called the Florence Pietà, the Bandini Pietà or The Lamentation over the Dead Christ) is a marble sculpture by the Italian High Renaissance master Michelangelo. The sculpture, on which Michelangelo worked between 1547 and 1553, depicts four figures – the dead body of Jesus Christ, newly taken down from the Cross, Nicodemus (or possibly Joseph of Arimathea), Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. The sculpture is housed in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence.

Michelangelo's last sculptures were two pietàs (or three assuming the Palestrina Pietà is his work). According to Vasari, Michelangelo made the Florence Pietà to decorate his tomb in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. After smashing the sculpture, he gave it to his servant Antonio. Though there is no definite reason why Michelangelo wanted to destroy the piece, there are several theories about it. Vasari, a good friend of Michelangelo's, recalled that Michelangelo had complained that the marble was hard to work with in reference to a vein in the marble that had been giving him problems for awhile. Other theories include Michelangelo's increasing self-doubt he had in himself as well as a possible realization of the sexual connotation of Christ's slung leg over the Virgin Mary.[1] Later the servant sold the work and the new owner had it reconstructed by Tiberio Calcagni following Michelangelo's models. Additionally, the female figure at left was finished by sculptor Tiberio Calcagni.

The face of Nicodemus under the hood is considered to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo himself.


  • Bershad, David L. "Recent Archival Discoveries concerning Michelangelo's 'Deposition' in the Florence Cathedral and a hitherto undocumented Work of Giuseppe Mazzuoli (1644–1725)." Burlington Magazine 120, 901 (1978): 225–227.
  • Fehl, Philipp. "Michelangelo's Tomb in Rome: Observations on the 'Pietà" in Florence and the 'Rondanini Pietà." Artibus et Historiae 23, 45 (2002): 9–27.
  • Kristof, Jane. "Michelangelo as Nicodemus: The Florence Pietà." Sixteenth Century Journal 20, 2 (1989):163–182.
  • Liebert, Robert S. "Michelangelo's Mutilation of the Florence Pietà: A Psychoanalytic Inquiry." Art Bulletin 59, 1 (1977): 47–54.
  • Schulz, Juergen. "'Michelangelo's Unfinished Works," Art Bulletin 57, 3 (1975): 366–373.
  • Shrimplin-Evangelidis, Valerie. "'Michelangelo and Nicodemism: The Florentine Pietà." Art Bulletin 71, 1 (1989): 58–66.
  • Spector, Jack J. "Towards a Psycho-History of Art." In Problemi di metodi: condizioni di esistenza di una storia dell’arte. Ed. L. Vayer. Bologna: CLUEB, 1982, 117–24.
  • Steinberg, Leo. "Michelangelo’s Florentine Pietà: The Missing Leg." Art Bulletin 50, 4 (1968): 343–353.
  • __________. "Michelangelo's Florentine Pietà: The Missing Leg Twenty Years After." Art Bulletin 71, 3 (1989): 480–505.
  • Arkin, Moshe. “ ’One of the Marys . . .’: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Michelangelo's Florentine Pietà." Art Bulletin 79, 3 (1997): 493–517.
  • Wallace, William E. “Michelangelo, Tiberio Calcagni, and the Florentine ‘Pietà'." Artibus et Historiae 21, 42 (2000): 81–99.
  • Wasserman, Jack, Michelangelo's Florence Pietà. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton U P, 2003.


  1. ^ Shrimplin-Evangelidis, Valerie. "'Michelangelo and Nicodemism: The Florentine Pietà." Art Bulletin 71, 1 (1989): 58–66.