La Pieta Essay, Research Paper
To see a scorned, beaten, and crucified man lying dead in the arms of his mother is an image, which can inspire overwhelming emotions within the heart of an observer. Yet, for the longest time I’ve had such difficulty looking at Michelangelo’s Pieta or any piece of art in this way. To me, art has never been about expressing oneself or conveying a message to others, but simply creating an image for the sake of beauty and perfection.
When I look at the Pieta I see a cold, solid mass of marble carved by the skilled hands of a master. I look at it in terms of the technique Michelangelo used, the understanding he had of the human form, the movement within the composition, and ultimately the precision and realism with which the piece was rendered. For it has been upon these standards that I have based my concept of what art is. In my eyes, art has always been just a unique ability that I have. I feel driven by it, not to express some deep emotion, but almost as an obsession to perfect my own ability. Every stroke of a brush and every motion of a file has been to make what I’ve created more detailed, graceful, and real.
I’m only now beginning to realize how much more there is to art than what I had previously understood. When I look at a piece of my work, I see the detail and realism of it, yet somehow I feel that these aspects are all that it possesses. I wonder whether or not I’ve almost turned my sense of art into a science that lacks the essential characteristics of art, which are expression and emotion. Yet now I have also begun to see that the strictness and precision of my art truly is an expression of who I am, and that through it, one can understand how I perceive the world around me. I feel uncomfortable in a world where nearly every aspect of our lives is becoming less clearly defined and where right and wrong are continually forsaken for a vague sense of truth. So in some respects, art provides me with the sense of structure, order, and continuity, which I feel, is lacking in modern life.
I’ve found that the meaning of art goes far beyond any technique or style, and that for each individual, art is a reflection of his or her own unique identity. While the touching image of a mother and child or the powerful story of the scorned savior in the Pieta may bring tears to the eyes of some. In my eyes the greatest beauty and the deepest meaning exists in the grace and realism that lies within every detail of this masterpiece.