BANDINELLI, Baccio
(b. 1493, Firenze, d. 1560, Firenze)

Pietà

1554-59
Marble, over life-size
Santissima Annunziata, Florence

Vasari relates that when Bandinelli heard Michelangelo was carving a Pietà for his tomb, he immediately began to plan his own, which he finished shortly before he died. Like Michelangelo's, it includes an idealized self-portrait as Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus and was to be a four-figure group with St Catherine of Siena and St John the Baptist. His contemporaries considered his Christ too physical and indecorous. Strangely proportioned, he rests awkwardly on a block signed by the artist, which resembles a small altar as well as Michelangelo's blocks. The Christ may be a portrait of Bandinelli's son.

The amount of marble carved out of the block is astounding yet this anti-Michelangelesque practice became the wave of the future.