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Journal > Volumes > 52 (2021) / 1 (Spring)
Michelangelo’s Minerva Christ: The Medieval Man of Sorrows and Eucharistic Piety in the Early Sixteenth Century
Gloria de Liberali
University of Washington, Seattle

Reexamining one of Michelangelo’s least investigated works, the Christ in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, reveals how the statue’s uncommon subject matter, its now-lost architectural framing, and its original placement within the church’s crossing all contributed to articulate a special devotion toward the body of Christ that was prevalent in certain reformed religious circles of early sixteenth-century Rome. By looking at some of the statue’s iconographic precedents and retracing the process of its commission, design, and installation through period sources, this article considers the Minerva Christ beyond Michelangelo’s individual artistic vision, focusing instead on its memorial function as a funerary monument for the Vari-Porcari family and on its ritual value as a cult image championing Dominican sacramental theology.

Pages: 3 - 26