( noun ) - from the Latin (via Italian) fumare ("to smoke"), a painting technique. Sfumato means that there are no harsh outlines (as in a coloring book) present; areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color.
(Commentary from the guide to St. Peter’s Basilica)
This is probably the world's most famous sculpture of a religious subject.
A highly spiritual and Christian view of human suffering.
Artists before and after Michelangelo always depicted the Virgin with the dead Christ in her arms as grief stricken, almost on the verge of desperation.
Michelangelo, on the other hand, created a highly supernatural feeling.
Is Mary too young? Historically, she was around 45-50 years old when Jesus died. Michelangelo said he made her youthful deliberately because the effects of time could not mar the virginal features of this, the most blessed of women. He also said that he was thinking of his own mother's face, he was only five when she died: the mother's face is a symbol of eternal youth.
It is the only piece of art he ever signed: MICHAELA[N]GELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTIN[US] FACIEBA[T] (Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this)