Michelangelo Pieta Composition

Michelangelo’s Pieta is a beautiful marble statue of Mary holding Jesus. You can immediately see when looking at the statue that Mary is much larger than Jesus and her body isn’t in proportion with the rest of this statue. Michelangelo accomplished this by using scale, emphasizing the mother and son relation Jesus and Mary shared. Michelangelo also used a shadow cast effect while sculpting Pieta. He accomplished this by chiseling into the marble, therefore creating a puncture as to where the shadow covers that hole which gives the illusion of being dark and having depth. On the other hand, Roger van der Weyden uses the illusion of spacing through implied lines and shading in Deposition. This creates a sense of spatial structure and organization amongst the people being depicted.

In Pieta, Michelangelo uses visual unity as a center point. This is seen by his sense of proximity and alignment. People viewing this statue can view its entirety without having any trouble. Whereas Roger van der Weyden uses visual unity with contrast. You can see this by the colors he used in the painting. When you first look at Deposition, the most prevalent color is red. Roger van der Weyden manifests blue in the center creating a contrast of color. Roger van der Weyden also uses alignment as a visual point. Jesus is centered becoming the focal point of the painting. Roger van der Weyden does this to portray his point which is the crucifixion of Jesus. Michelangelo is also portraying the crucifixion of Jesus, but he used his functions of visuality to create a sense of reality for the viewer.

Balance is not really seen in Michelangelo’s Pieta, but he wanted it to be that way. It is meant to be unbalanced. As mentioned earlier, Michelangelo did this to make the mother and son relationship between Mary and Jesus evident. She is holding and comforting her son. This brings an emotional appeal to the viewer and makes the statue come together. I would also say that Roger van der Weyden’s Deposition is balanced. There is a lot going on in the painting and there are a lot of different people. The framework of this painting is very strategic. The painting is organized, and although it may look clustered, the balance used in this painting gives it a sense of unity.