Michelangelo Sculpture
Sent to Prison

February 7, 2013 | Eugene Reznik

La Pietà Rondanini, a sculture Michelangelo worked on for 12 years and still left unfinished when he died in 1564, is going to jail — for now. Despite some “vociferous opposition” from art historians, the Milanese culture commissioner has ordered to move the work from it’s swank home at the Castello Sforzesc where 350,000 visitors saw it annually, to the Carcere di San Vittore prison while the castle undergoes renovation. According to Tim Robertson, chief executive of a London-based prison arts charity, the Koestler Trust, Michelangelo was a bit of an “outsider” himself prone to run-ins with the law, so this all makes a lot of sense.

Some supporters say that La Pietà Rondanini will have positive psychological effects on the prisoners “with its underlying themes of suffering and forgiveness.” It’s also culturally beneficial for the inmates, “many of whom have never come into contact with works of art.” Or, you know, freedom… in awhile.