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There have been a lot of Pietas, but the one by Michelangelo at St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City; the only work he ever signed or rather engraved on has always been my favourite, comparable in beauty only to the Shelley Monument at Oxford by Edward Onslow Ford.

Pietas, in essence are wont to convey a sense of desolate grief; what they also bring with them is the craftsmanship of the artist. The two elements together draw the viewer into a void to share the pain of the subject, mournful yet at a consoling peace like an unknown weeping maiden on a river bed. The sorrow of the maiden touches you as much as the serenity of the rives soothes you. Compared here the Pieta at Vatican and the monument to Mary and Percy Shelley* by Henry Weekes, Mary Shelley and Virgin Mary bemoan the dead inciting their pain whereas the bodies rest in absolute calm, almost a beautiful silence held together, trapped by the whiteness of the marble. Would one enjoy these works of art more if one was solely an observer, detached to the subject – weren't religious or did not love poetry?

(* The Weekes' statue is depicted here by an engraving by Goerge Stodart)
Image: Shelley monument courtesy Virtual Archive


Thyrsis said...

This image of Shelley is the copyright of Ian Fraser at Virtual Archive and you have not obtained permission to reproduce it. If you wish to use it, please add a link to the original image at Virtual Archive or legal action may be taken.

Thank you.

ojasvi mohanty said...

Sure, I've added the link.