The Del Duca Family monument in Le Père Lachaise features a bronze sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the limp dead body of her son, Jesus Christ. In this sculpture Mary is lifting His body down from the Cross. Many of the pieta sculptures show Jesus lying on Mary’s lap, but this dramatic version depicts the moment Jesus was brought down, His suffering and sacrifice over.
Works of art, usually sculptures, depicting this subject first began to appear in Germany in the 1300s and are referred to as “vesperbild” in German.
Images of Mary and the dead body of Jesus began to appear in Italy in the 1400s. The most famous of these sculptures is Michelangelo’s pieta which he sculpted for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, carved when he was only 24 years old.
Pieta is Italian for “pity.”