The face of Michelangelo's Virgin Mary from the Pieta was produced under the supervision of the Reproduction Studio of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from direct impression molds of the original Pieta sculpture developed by the Department of Scientific Research of the Vatican Museums. The copy is made of cold cast marble, a refined marble bonded with polymer resin.
In 1497, a young Michelangelo was commissioned by French Cardinal Jean de Bilheres Lagraulas to create “the most beautiful work of marble in Rome, one that no living artist could better”, for the cardinal’s future tomb in Old St. Peter’s Basilica.
Michelangelo sculpted the Pieta from a single block of Carrara marble, which he claimed was the most perfect block of marble he had ever worked with. He also claimed that he could “see” the sculpture within the marble itself and that it was his job to merely remove the excess in order to free the image inside. Michelangelo named his sculpture the Pieta. It depicts the dead body of Jesus after his crucifixion, draped across the Virgin Mary’s lap as she looks down upon his body in grief. Michelangelo was deeply religious and the Pieta is an expressive piece that was inspired by his deep faith.