Seeing the Pieta: Question

I’ve read that the Pieta is behind glass and at some distance from the viewer. However, I can’t find information about how far away one is, and whether it’s sufficiently close for good appreciation. So I turn to you, my source for all well-reasoned opinions: Is the view of the Pieta in the Vatican sufficiently good to warrant the time and effort, or would one be as well (or better) served by a high-quality art book or film?

10,15 feet? She looked purty enouh for me.

Between 15 and 20 feet. The glass is obvious but it is well-illuminated and it appears almost in an aura. Worth it in its own way - it does work. Seeing it up close and being able to appreciate the craft of the sculpture - as opposed to taking in the effect of the overall presentation - would be a different thing altogether.

I was disappointed by the distance spectators were kept from the Pieta. The close-up views I had seen in art books were much more compelling.

Are you going to be there anyway? There are other things to see there, you know. Although it’s been a while for me, I can’t remember exactly what :slight_smile: It wasn’t like seeing Michelangelo’s David in person, but if you’re going to be there anyway, you might as well take a look.

I am no art student or art lover. I did not even know Pietà by Michelangelo existed until I walked into St Peters in Rome.
It is the most amazing work of art I have ever encountered. I should have been prepared before I walked in. It is one of the highlights of Vatican city.
There is no reason for the glass to still be there. It does not really affect one’s appreciation of the Pieta though.

I think there IS reason for the glass to be there-- some iconoclast zealot wacko attacked it with a hammer in 1972 and did some damage (but you might already have known that). Things like that happen all the time to really well-known pieces.

I thought it well worth the wait, and not so far that I couldn’t make out sculptural detail. Like The David (but to a lesser extent), studying it and seeing pictures cannot prepare you for the magnifinence of seeing it “in person,” as it were.

The rest of St. Peter’s is pretty spectacular too, so it’s worth the trip if you’d already planned to be in the Rome vicinity.


My point is that there are many such pieces out in the open with no protection. The only two works of art I remember being behind glass (when I toured around Europe for 4 months) were the Pieta and the Mona Lisa.
I have read all about the wacko Toth who damaged the Pieta. Is there any reason why the Pieta is now considered to be a risk? Do the wackos read about Toth and want to copy him?

From what I remember (and I could be totally screwing this up), there wasn’t a huge line to go see the Pieta; you walk in to St. Peters, and it’s somewhere off to your right. Usually, of course, there are a couple people milling about looking at it, but it’s not like you have to wait in a long line or anything to see it. Since St. Peters is so worth seeing anyways (and you can’t get a since of St. Peters from a book) why wouldn’t you go see it?

Oh, and for what it’s worth, you can’t get super close, but it didn’t seem to diminish anyone’s enjoyment of it when I was there.

I was last there in December - here’s a photo I took and while I think I did zoom in a little, it hopefully shows the clarity and the level of detail that you should get. What I do remember was that there is always a big crowd of people around it, and you have a wait a little if you want to get to the front. But then again, there’s always a big queue anywhere in Rome!

Thanks, everyone. The issue is that we’ll be in Florence and my partner wants to see the Pieta, which means taking a day to go to Rome (otherwise, we’d spend a day in Cinque Terre). I’m very happy to go to Rome, but some descriptions we’ve read suggested that the Pieta was too distant from the viewer to justify the trip.

I was able to see that sculpture many years ago. It was worth the trip just for that.

OK, it was on display at the World’s Fair in New York City and I rode the subway. :smiley:

A day in Rome is much preferable to a day in Cin

that is, preferable to a day in Cinque Terra. (Which I liked, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Rome, even if you will spend the whole day in Vatican City).