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[pahy-i-tas] /ˈpaɪ ɪˌtæs/

the ancient Roman personification of familial affection, patriotism, and piety.
[pee-ey-tah, pyey-tah, pee-ey-tuh, pyey-] /ˌpi eɪˈtɑ, pyeɪˈtɑ, piˈeɪ tə, ˈpyeɪ-/
noun, (sometimes lowercase) Fine Arts.
a representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of the dead Christ, usually shown held on her lap.
a sculpture, painting, or drawing of the dead Christ, supported by the Virgin Mary

“Virgin holding the dead body of Christ,” 1640s, from Italian pieta, from Latin pietatem (see piety).
Pietà [(pyay-tah; pee-ay-tah)]

A painting, drawing, or sculpture of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding the dead body of Jesus. The word means “pity” in Italian. (See photo, next page.)

Note: The most famous of four Pietàs by Michelangelo is a sculpture at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.


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