The Vatican Museums are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the completion of restoration work on Michelangelo’s Pieta.
The Pieta, which stands in the nave of St. Peter’s basilica, was badly damaged on May 21, 1973, by a disturbed man, Laszlo Toth, who attacked the sculpture with a hammer. Painstaking restoration work was completed a year later.
To mark the 40th anniversary, the Vatican Museums hosted a series of events on the Pieta and the work of restoration. The sculpture, completed by Michelangelo when he was just over 20 years old, is now protected by bulletproof glass. The Vatican Museums have now begun protecting other sculptures by making 3-dimensional models as “clones” of the works.
In an entirely separate initiative, Vatican officials have begun tightening security in the Vatican Museums in response to increased presence of pickpockets, who prey on tourists especially in the Sistine Chapel.