Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini protected from vibrations and earthquakes

For the first time in history, a famous World Heritage masterpiece, Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini, will be fitted with special high-performance engineering technology — a base isolation system — to protect it from earthquakes and traffic vibrations. “This is a pioneering project of the City of Milan and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage because there was no previous experience in protecting a marble statue from both earthquake and traffic vibrations with a specially designed isolation system,” said Marco Cossu of the engineering firm, Miyamoto International Italy.


Sismocell, an antiseismic system brand realized and projected by Reglass, has participated in the works to secure the Pietà Rondanini by Michelangelo in Milan. Miyamoto International, an international engineering studio, has outlined the project’s operations. Sismocell has studied and realized the security device so as to obtain a dissipative, not rigid, connection of the security system between the statue and the base, as well as some antiseismic devices used to stabilize the statue’s base.

From Miyamoto International Newsletter

Sforzesco Castle - Michelangelo's Pietà Rondanini
Milan, Italy, 5th of February 2015Protecting Michelangelo’s last masterpiece

The project

The isolated base of the statue, designed by an engineering team, led by Miyamoto Italy’s engineer Devis Sonda, was tested in December on a shake table using a copy of the statue. The Discovery Channel also was there filming a story on the project, which you can see here. The isolation system will be added to the real statue in April, in time for EXPO2015, the Universal Exhibition in Milan. Michelangelo worked on the Pietà Rondanini from 1552 until the last days of his life; he died in 1564 at age 89. The work is housed in the Museum of Ancient Art of Sforza Castle in Milan. Unfinished yet beautiful, it was his final sculpture and revisits the theme of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of the dead Christ. The art world refers to the Pietà as Michelangelo’s final masterpiece. “There was a great team effort to find the best solutions”, said Giovanna Mori of the City of Milan, who coordinated the project.

Pietà Rondanini by Michelangelo - Milan, Sforza Castle
Pietà Rondanini by Michelangelo – Milan, Sforza Castle