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Religions, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) In the eyes of his contemporaries, Michelangelo was a controversial figure. Deemed by many as ‘a [...] Read more. In the eyes of his contemporaries, Michelangelo was a controversial figure. Deemed by many as ‘a divine artist’, he was also criticized for his religious scenes, which raised doubts with respect to either their theological accuracy or moral appropriateness. In the mid-sixteenth century, Pietro Aretino praised the Medici tombs as carved by ‘the god of sculpture’, but he also maliciously noted that Mary, in the Vatican Pietà, was too young compared to her son, and he vehemently condemned the Last Judgment fresco as an indecent painting. Along the same path, an anonymous author of the 1540s labeled Michelangelo as an ‘inventor of filth saving the art but not the devotion’. However, Michelangelo did become a powerful inventor of mass-reproduced devotional images with several pious prints clearly—even indirectly, and without referencing his name—making use of his Vatican Pietà. View this paper