Opera Museum  - Table of Contents

Miscellany - Opera del Duomo Museum
Florence, Italy

On this page, below:
Biondo, St. Catherine of Alexandria

Michelangelo, Florentine Pieta

February 2020 photos

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Egyptian martyr

"St. Catherine of Alexandria, (died c. early 4th century, Alexandria, Egypt; feast day November 25), one of the most popular early Christian martyrs and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (a group of Roman Catholic saints venerated for their power of intercession). She is the patron of philosophers and scholars and is believed to help protect against sudden death.

"St. Catherine of Alexandria is not mentioned before the 9th century, and her historicity is doubtful. According to legend, she was an extremely learned young girl of noble birth, possibly a princess. She protested the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperor Maxentius—whose wife and several soldiers she converted while imprisoned—and defeated the most eminent scholars summoned by Maxentius to oppose her. During her subsequent torture, she professed that she had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, her spouse, and was sentenced to death. The spiked wheel by which she was to be killed broke when she touched it (whence the term Catherine wheel), and she was then beheaded.

After her death, angels allegedly took her body to Mount Sinai, where, according to legend, it was discovered about 800 CE. In the Middle Ages, when the story of her mystical marriage to Christ was widely circulated, she was one of the most popular saints and one of the most important virgin martyrs. St. Joan of Arc claimed that Catherine’s was among the heavenly voices that spoke to her."   - Encyclopaedia Britannica (online 2020) 

"Experts are poised to begin the restoration of Michelangelo’s marble Pietà at Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in full view of the public, the philanthropic group known as the Friends of Florence and the nonprofit Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore announced today.

"The sculptural group, on which Michelangelo worked from 1547 to 1555, when he was about to turn 80, depicts Jesus Christ after his descent from the cross, supported by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and an aged Nicodemus, who bears a resemblance to the artist himself. Michelangelo famously destroyed parts of the sculpture and left it unfinished out of frustration with his progress and the quality of the marble.

Michelangelo gave the damaged work to a servant who had it restored and then sold it. Then it changed hands several times, eventually arriving in Florence in 1674. It resided in a series of churches before it was transferred to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in 1981." - Nancy Kenny, Conservators to restore Michelangelo’s Florence Pietà in full view of visitors. Pub. Nov. 22, 2019 (online April 2020)

Pieta   ...   According to Vasari, Michelangelo made the Florence Pietà to decorate his tomb in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He later sold it, however, prior to completion of the work after intentionally damaging Christ's left arm and leg

Pieta   ...   Nicodemus, who bears a resemblance to the artist himself.

Pieta   ...   Mary Magdalene

 Pieta   ...   Mary, mother of Jesus

Pieta   ...  

Photos and their arrangement © 2020 Chuck LaChiusa
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