The Pietà – An Artist’s Rendering

Published on August 07, 2009, 10:23 am
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Almost two years ago, I was sitting on the couch at a friend’s place, browsing through her friends’ profiles on a popular social networking site when I saw a scaled down image of a painting of a standing female with a tall hat, holding in her arms the wounded body of a male, whose eyes were piercing the empty space between him and the spectator.

War by Hannah Corbett.

Beach Rose by Hannah Corbett.

John by Hannah Corbett.

Nighteengale by Hannah Corbett.

Prisoner by Hannah Corbett.

Crows by Hannah Corbett.

Pietà by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni.

Could that be a version of Pietà? That it was, one that intrigued and captivated me outright. I immediately inquired with my friend and it turns out her friend was publishing a literary magazine, the cover of which was featuring the painting of a young New York artist, Ms. Hannah Corbett.

A quick search on the artist’s name online landed me on her website, looking at a larger version of her painting. An e-mail inquiring whether the paining was available for sale followed and the beginning of a wonderful friendship was laid.

A few months later I was able to acquire the Pieta, delayed by fears of losing my day-time job, which later materialized, only to be reversed two and a half weeks later, but this is a different story. Hannah had the large painting wrapped with care to protect it from the elements on a rainy afternoon earlier this year when I picked it up from her place in the city. It has been gracing my living room wall since.

The Pietà (pl. same; Italian for pity) is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ. When Christ and the Virgin are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, the subject is strictly called a Lamentation in English, although Pietà is often used for this as well, and is the normal term in Italian. The Pietà developed in Germany (where it is called the “Vesperbild”) about 1300, reached Italy about 1400, and was especially popular in Central Europe. Many German and Polish 15th century examples in wood greatly emphasise Christ’s wounds.

The most famous Pietà is by the Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo.

Hannah Corbett was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. She began studying oil painting portraiture at the age of fourteen. She received her BA from Smith College in 2000 with Special Studies in Painting. She has shown her work extensively throughout the US and lives/works in the greater NY metro area. As well as painting, Hannah maintains a discipline in figure drawing, dabblesin curating and enjoys illustration projects.

Most of her work could be seen on her website here as well as on the image gallery to this article (right).

The artist’s resumé follows.

Solo Exhibition- l’art au refuge:  July 2009, Haven, NY, NY.
Retrospective in miniature- July 2009, Baby Grand, NY, NY.
Group Show- Antagonist Art: April 2009, Antagonist Gallery, NY, NY.
Solo Exhibition- Unsaid Release: January 2008, Great Lakes, Brooklyn, NY.
Group Show- Dossier, Donald Ackerman Exhibition: October 2007, The Pure Project, NY, NY.      
Solo Exhibition: January 2005, Briana Gallery, Florence, MA.
International Group Show: December 2004, Gallerie, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY.         
Featured Artist: December 2004,, NY, NY. 
“An Art Show”: November 2004, W.A.M.P., Brooklyn, NY.
Featured Artist: July 2004, Empire Studios, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.         
Fabulass Group Show: October 2003, Film Haus Tribeca, New York, NY.
Solo Exhibition: October 2002, Divynl, Tacoma, WA.         
South Sounds Juried Exhibition: September 2002, Commencement Art Gallery, Tacoma, WA.
Fabulass Group Show: May 2002, Selooto Room, Chicago, IL.         
Group Show: January 2002, Art Not Terminal, Seattle, WA.
Solo Exhibition: March 2001, The Furnace, Tacoma, WA.         
Special Studies Exhibit: May 2000, Hillyer Hall, Northampton, MA.

Exhibitions Curated
Co-curator and producer 
Fabulass: October 2003, Film Haus Tribeca, New York, NY.
Curator and Producer
American Red Cross Art Auction to benefit the FDNY after the events of 9/11: October 2001, Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA.

Unsaid Magazine, cover 2008, online collection 2004

Smith College, Northampton MA. 
Major: Studio Art. Minor: Film Studies. BA received May 2000.
Honors: Special Studies in Painting.


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