The Pieta has been re-interpreted and re-imagined countless times, but it has never lost its power – even in our more secular age.

Below are a few modern Pietas we’ve stumbled across and liked. Please note that the following accumulation stems from curiosity rather than a deep knowledge…

Here is the famous Michelangelo Pieta to act as our benchmark.



Paula Rego used a young girl and boy as her models in the Pieta below to make their vulnerability more marked. Her model for Mary was her own granddaughter. In her picture Mary shows sorrow, but also a sense of bewilderment at what has happened.



This is a still from the 2001 installation by Sam Taylor-Wood where she holds Robert Downey Jnr in her arms. It’s an amazing piece of film, made more poignant by our knowledge that both artist and model have battled their own addictions and illnesses. If you watch the piece on YouTube, you can see the artist struggling to bear the weight of the famous actor.


The Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda won the 2011 World Press Photo of the Year Award for his image of a veiled woman cradling an injured relative.  It was taken at the zenith of the Arab Spring.



The question remains, why do we still find the idea of the Pieta so moving? A paragraph by Alain de Botton about the Virgin Mary is helpful in explaining:


‘The cult of Mary speaks of the extent to which, despite our adult powers of reasoning, our responsibilities and our status, the needs of childhood endure within us. We may long to be held and reassured, as we were decades ago by some sympathetic adult, most likely our mother, a person who made us feel physically protected, stroked our hair, looked at us with benevolence and tenderness and perhaps said not very much other than, very quietly, ‘of course’.’

Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton


We will now be absent for a week or so, sunning ourselves in the Caribbean.  But, if you have any thoughts about the blog or what you would like to read more of, then message our Lumitrix Facebook page and we will mull over them whilst sipping rum punch.