Unlike the delicacy of the Bruges Madonna or the bold, open composition of the Taddei Madonna, the figures in Michelangelo's Pitti Madonna (c. 1504) reflect the majesty and sculptural grandeur adopted by Michelangelo while he was developing plans for the tomb of Julius II. Here in the Pitti Madonna, created around 1504, the figures of Madonna and Child emerge from the stone with forceful gravity. The self-contained composition further accentuates the sober grace and dignity of the Madonna, who is the focus of the relief.
Michelangelo's Pitti Madonna is a marble relief, 33-1/2
inches tall, that hangs in the Bargello in Florence.
Note the serene and smiling face of the Pitti Madonna's Christ Child in contrast to the prophetic and watchful Mary. It has been suggested that the pose and countenance of the child recalls that of genii, ancient funeral figures from Roman mythology. This accords with the overall effect of the Pitti Madonna, which, despite the apparently playful attitude of the child, is one of sobering reality.
Michelangelo started planning the tomb of Julius II in 1505, shortly after the period in which he was working on the Pitti Madonna. See the next section of this article for more on the tomb.
To learn more about Michelangelo, art history, and other famous artists, see: