Where can I see the Pietà?

Where can I see the Pietà? And do they make small reproductions of it that I can buy for my nightstand?

The term “Pietà” refers to any image of Mary holding Christ’s dead body. The most famous one is the statue made by Michaelangelo, on display at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. I’ve never seen it in person (though it’s on my list of things to see before I die), but I’ve heard that it’s tremendously moving. Alas, it’s also shielded behind glass; ever since the statue was vandalized by a mentally unbalanced man in 1972, visitors have had to view it from a distance. (Thankfully, the statue was carefully restored to its former beauty.)

You can have a closer encounter with a Pietà reproduction. Many small versions are available through Catholic online stores like The Catholic Company (it won’t be the real thing, but it’s definitely cheaper than a trip to Rome). Meditating on the Pietà is also a great way to reflect on the sacrifice made by Christ, as well as the sacrifice made by his mother. The world is full of so many joyful images of Mary holding the infant Christ that it’s a powerful jolt to see that same mother holding the lifeless body of her adult son. It’s a reminder of the close bond between them, and of maternal love that never dies.


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