The exhibit is open daily until 7 p.m. free of charge and is a good chance to see the interior of the magnificent Palazzo dei Priori with its frescoed rooms. The paintings are usually kept in the city's Civic Museum which has been closed for over a year now due to structural problems.
The nocturnal Pietà was painted between 1513 and 1516 following designs by Michelangelo who also did the carboncino sketches, a face and a full figure, visible on the painting's retro.
In the background are the hot baths that Viterbo was (and still is) known for .
The masculine Madonna is probably one of the most unusual portraits of Mary ever done. The painting is full of esoteric, mysterious symbols which have been well explained by Andrea Alessi in his book Dante, Sebastiano e Michelangelo -L'Inferno nella Pietà di Viterbo (Electa, 2007).
|Palazzo dei Priori, Viterbo's city hall|
|entrance to the City Hall's Sala Regia|
The entrance to the exhibit is through this doorway. Note the coat of arms of Pope Julius II della Rovere, the reigning pope under whom Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo both worked.
It has beautiful stucco work, gilded ceilings and frescoes. The model of Santa Rosa, set up in the center of the room, is the pinnacle of the Macchina di Santa Rosa.
There are several blog posts to help you find out more about Santa Rosa and Viterbo, just use the search bar at the top of the blog page.
|Santa Rosa statue|
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