Michelangelo’s La Pieta – The only piece he signed

Michelangelo’s La Pieta

A visit to Vatican City means the opportunity to see some wonderful art! You’ll see tapestries, paintings and sculptures. Many are excited to see Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling. As wonderful as that is…so is  his sculpture!

Michelangleo's La Pieta in St. Peter's photo from arthistorymom.com, Michelangelo's Pieta, www.theeducationaltourist.com

photo credit: arthistorymom.com

Michelangelo though of himself as a sculptor – not a painter. He loved to sculpt. He said that he simply set free what was inside the rock. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even want to paint his most famous work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. At the time, the pope was very powerful and when he asked Michelangelo to paint the chapel ceiling Michelangelo just felt he couldn’t say no.

This sculpture, Michelangelo’s La Pieta, is inside St. Peter’s in Rome. Michelangelo was in the crowd admiring his sculpture when he overheard two people discussing La Pieta. They were giving credit to an artist from a neighboring town. Michelangelo was so mad and jealous at not getting credit for his masterpiece! The next day he chiseled “Michelangelo did this.” on Mary’s sash. It is the only piece he ever signed.

It is hard to get close enough to get a good photo, but you can see a close up here from photographer Ron Soliman.

close up of Michelangelo's La Pieta with signature photo credit: Ron Soliman, Michelangelo's Pieta, www.theeducationaltourist.com

photo credit: Ron Soliman

Read more about visiting the eternal city –  Visit Rome with Kids  and Visiting Rome’s Colosseum with the Kids.

The Educational Tourist and kids inside the colosseum in Rome, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo, Michelangelo's La Pieta, www.theeducationaltourist.com


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22 Responses

  1. Vanessa says:

    Interesting story – I wish you had a photo of the piece that showed his signature in the sash – that would have been so cool!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      The angle makes it hard to even see the signature because it is best seen from the top and you have to look up at the Pieta, but you are SO right. I should have included a photo! So, I found one and have included a link to it now. Thanks for the tip!

  2. TheBohoChica says:

    Thanks for sharing this cool piece of information! If only Michelangelo would have known how famous he would be for all of time, he’d have no reason to take offense 😉

    • NatalieTanner says:

      That is an interesting idea and I’m sure you are right! He was certainly arrogant in life so perhaps he is smiling now knowing how famous he is… Thanks for stopping by!

  3. That is interesting. I didn’t realize that he was a sculptor. Thanks for the tip, and now I feel a little more prepared for when I head back to Rome 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      He is so well known as a painter it is interesting to know that sculpting was his first love. As a matter of fact, he had to have his arm twisted to paint the sistine chapel as he really didn’t want to!

  4. carolcolborn says:

    OMG, I didn;t know…I should have looked for that signature!

  5. It’s an incredible sculpture–have seen it several times.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Have you see his other Pieta in Milan? It is shocking it is so different and I never in a million years would have guessed it was his. We literally gasped when we walked in the room. Our guide said, “Oh, I see you have seen his Pieta in the Vatican!”

  6. Great bit of trivia, I never knew that !

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Love stuff like this and so do the kids! My eBooks for kids are full of it. Talking to them about these sorts of details keeps them happy and engaged while grownups enjoy the art! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. brmsimmons says:

    Who knew Michelangelo had a bit of a jealous streak?

  8. Jennifer says:

    What an amazing artist – it is worth traveling around the world to see his work.

  9. Michelangelo was an amazing artist!!
    La Pieta, the Sistine Chapel…. the artwork he left at Vatican, and in the whole Italy are incredible.
    Tks for sharing such curious information.

  10. Dana says:

    This is cool! We are hoping to get to Rome in a few months, so it will nice to point this little known fact out to my kids.

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