Pieta by Scalza

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This is a "pieta" (Mary with Christ after the Crucifixion) in the duomo (main church) in Orvieto. It was completed in 1579 by Ippolito Scalza. He signed it on the side. The date was in Roman numerals. It's carved from one block of marble. They say the artist was clearly inspired by Michelangelo's pieta. It took 9 years after it was commissioned.

Please zoom in so you can see the detail of Mary holding Jesus. Behind her is Nicodemus with ladder and hammer in one hand and nails and pinchers in the other. Around the ladder is wrapped a rope. I had never considered the ones who actually took the Savior down from the cross and how awful that must have been.

This work was so impressive and touching. The wrinkles in the cloth around Mary's face were so thin you could see through it. It was amazing. The details in the faces, the draping of the cloth, Jesus' veins and muscles on his body, the wounds.

There other woman on the side mourning is Magdalena.

There were not crowds of people in line to see this, it's not a destination spot for tour groups, it's not even in the tour books as a "must see". Yet, if I were to recommend a "must see" in Italy it would be this masterpiece that tells a thousands stories. And reminds us of the reality of his death.