It being the day before Good Friday, I thought it timely to share one of my favorite sculptures with you. A major highlight of a visit to the Duomo Museum in Florence is to see Michelangelo's "The Deposition", also known as the "Florentine Pieta". Of course, Michelangelo's better known Pieta sits in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome (see bottom photo); crafted by the genius as a young man, the Vatican's Pieta is arguably the greatest carving ever created.
The Florentine Pieta is also beautiful, but in a different way. Crafted in marble (of course), it shows the dead Christ being held up by his mother, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and Nicodemus. Michelangelo worked on it on and off between 1547-1553. Legend has it that Michelangelo was crafting this piece to decorate his personal tomb and that the face of Nicodemus under the hood is a self-portrait. Michelangelo is said to have abandoned the unfinished piece on discovering an impurity in the marble after working on it for years (additional work on it was later done by sculptor Tiberio Calcagni).
The Florentine Pieta never did make it to Michelangelo's tomb (which is nearby in Florence's Santa Croce church), but it allows us a glimpse of the great sculptor's face.
(The face of Michelangelo, as Nicodemus)
(The Vatican's Pieta, by Michelangelo. I believe the greatest carving ever crafted)