Michelangelo, Pietà, 1499

This is my favourite Michelangelo sculpture, and I was fortunate enough to be able to see it in person last year at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. What makes Michelangelo’s version of the Pietà so striking is that Mary is shown as a young woman, despite her son being a grown man by the time of his death. Though this wasn’t an uncommon alteration in Renaissance art, the non-existent background and surrounding figures here mean that all of our attention is drawn to the youthful Mary. Furthermore, her face is positioned at the summit of the pyramidal composition, which confirms her prominence.

St Peter’s Church is a Church of England parish church located in the heart of Bournemouth, Dorset, England. It is a Grade I listed building and was completed in 1879 to a design by G.E. Street as the founding mother church of Bournemouth. The building incorporates work by some of the finest Gothic Revival architects and artists, including Street, George Frederick Bodley, Ninian Comper, Arthur Blomfield and Edward Burne-Jones, with stained glass and frescoes by Clayton and Bell. The chancel has been described as ‘one of the richest Gothic Revival interiors in England’ x


St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, completed 1626. Own images.

These photos are from my second visit to the Vatican City, when I clearly had an obsession with Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s colonnades: they feature in nearly every image! The current St Peter’s Basilica was built in the 17th century, but it was actually constructed on top of an older 4th century version of the same church. Visitors can still venture underneath the current church and visit its predecessor. It is quite a strange experience!