Antonio Forcellino

A New Replica of the Pietà painted by Michelangelo for Vittoria Colonna

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In 2019 the Roman antiques market has yielded a new copy of the Pietà painted by Michelangelo for Vittoria Colonna and given as a present to the British cardinal Reginaldo Polo. Such new copy perfectly corresponds to the original painting, as has been proved by reflectographic and radiographic analysis which revealed the use of the same cartone for both specimens. This paper will explore the relation between the new copy of the original painting, and the first copy also emerged from a roman private collection in 2012. Moreover, a series of pertinent documents from the Italian archives will be presented. This double approach will allow to retrace the history of the examined iconographic composition, proving how it represented almost a reliquia within the restricted group identified by the inquisition as the “spiritualiµ. Such name identifies a group of innovative intellectuals involved with the interpretation of the Lutheran theology, among which are included Vittoria Colonna, Reginaldo Polo, Michelangelo himself and other important intellectuals of the time who attempted a recomposition with Luther’s theology in the mid-sixteenth century.

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