You find this beautiful sculpture in a side chapel
in the N.E. corner of St. Peter's, not far from the doors where you
enter from the great square. The square is now at your
right: part of the palace of the Vatican is at the other side of
the wall which you are facing.
You have many a time seen copies of this celebrated marble
group. This is the original, loved and admired for four hundred
years, bith as a reminder of the sorrow of the Blessed Virgin over her
dead Son, and as a work of artistic genius. Those bronze cherubs
were not any part of the great sculptures idea, but were added, years
afterwards, by another man who may indeed have been pious, but who
certainly had very bad taste! They are entirely out of keeping
with the majestic and solemn beauty of the original group
See how the sculpture tells you, in that thin wasted arm hanging so
limp and neverless, of the Saviour's life of poverty; of his
suffering on the cross; of the death and agony through which His
spirit passed out of this frame of human flesh. You can see the
mark left on that cold hand by the nail that held it spread out on the
tree. The sculptor was only twenty-four years old when he
produced this masterpiece, but he must have meditated over and over on
the story of the Crucifixion, or he could never have thought out in
his mind the way that Head hangs cold and still on the Mother's arm.
Notice how, in spite of the overwhelming grief of the Blessed Virgin,
which crushes her for the moment, she is made to give us the
impression of one in whom strength does abide; the artist
managed to give us both these ideas about her, by placing her gentile,
womanly figure at the center of the group as a whole.
From Descriptive Bulletin No. 2, copyrighted,
1904, by Underwood & Underwood.
of Statues, the Vatican, Rome.