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ichelangelo was only 25 years old when, by request of a French Cardinal, he gave birth to his first and most famous Pieta.

his was commissioned by a French Cardinal, Jean de Bilhères de Lagraulas, for the Chapel of the French Kings in the Basilica of St. Peter. It is sculpted from a single, 1.74-metre high, block of Cararra marble.

o piece of work made from stone have never and without any doubt seemed to be as miraculous as this one with its spiritual interior as well as its brightness and perfect shape.

ven before it was completed, those who were privileged to see it said everywhere in Rome that it was the most beautiful thing ever made.

iorgio Vasari says that one day, visitors from Lombardy were admiring the Pieta in St Peter of Roma when Michelangelo heard them pretend that its author was "our hunchbacked from Milan". He then came back on the same night with a lantern and carved on the Virgin's dress ribbon: "Michael Angelus bonarotus florentinus faciebat". It is the only masterpiece visibly signed by the Florentine Master himself.

fter having been moved to several places in the Basilica of St. Peter, the statue was, in 1749, finally placed in the Crucifixion Chapel, where we find it today.

n 1972, a deranged person who rained 15 hammer blows in it damaged the Pieta. It has since been perfectly restored and is now on display behind bulletproof glass. Since it can only be viewed from six meters far, it has become a kind of "inaccessible beauty".

n this exhibition apart from enlargements, most of the pictures of the face of the Blessed Virgin and of Christ, as well as some details, are the exact size of the work of Michelangelo. For this Robert Hupka was able to make exact measurements thanks to the co-operation of the Vatican Museum.

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