Michelangelo was well known for his painting of the Sistine chapel but he also focused heavily on sculpture and some of his greatest work where cut from marble such as his iconic ‘David’ statue. Michelangelo was dedicated to his work and was said to be sculpting up until 1 week before his death at the age of 88. David was a masterpiece of the renaissance period made completely of marble cut by hand and took 3 years to complete (1501-1504). The statue itself stands 17feet tall. Although the statue was created for religious purposes to stand in the Florence cathedral it was instead used to symbolise the defence of civil liberties. Embodied in the republic of Florence at the time, as it was under threat of more rival states, the eyes of David where faced towards Rome as a warning.
The Pieta (1498-1499) was another of Michelangelo’s great sculptures depicting Mary the mother of Jesus Christ holding her sons body in her arms just after his crucifixion. The statue was commissioned for the French cardinal Jean de Bilheres in Rome. The sculpture was also made from marble taking 1 year to create.
The rape of Prosperina by Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a Baroque period sculpture depicting the Greek legend of Hades the god of the underworld capturing the daughter of Zeus, Prosperina. The sculpture of two figures was made of Carrara marble with each curve and dip to resemble skin in the most realistic way. Bernini was only 23 years old when he created his masterpiece and it is today recognised as one of the greatest marble pieces to date. It’s elaborate composition and theatrical sense make it a fantastic representation of Baroque style art.