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Michelangelo as Nicodemus: The Florence Pieta

Jane Kristof
The Sixteenth Century Journal
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 163-182
DOI: 10.2307/2540657
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2540657
Page Count: 20
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Michelangelo as Nicodemus: The Florence Pieta
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Abstract

In the religious turmoil of the sixteenth century the terms "Nicodemus" and "Nicodemite" were used to characterize Catholics who secretly sympathized with Reformed theology. This usage was given particular currency by a polemical tract of Calvin of 1544. The description was applied, among others, to the Italian Spirituali with whom Michelangelo had close ties through his friendship with Vittoria Colonna. It is here suggested that the concept of "Nicodemism" may explain Michelangelo's self-portrait as "Nicodemus" in the Florence Pieta and may further account for his abandonment and partial destruction of the group.

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