Art: For Sale

At the foot of a curving staircase in the little modernistic Villa Sanseverino stands the last privately owned Michelangelo in the world, the Pieta Rondanini.* Every month, dozens of visitors go out to the outskirts of Rome by bus, ring the villa's bell, and ask to see the unfinished, life-sized statue of the dead Christ and Virgin Mary on which the 89-year-old Renaissance master was working when he died. The 72-year-old Countess Ottavia Sanseverino has always let the tourists in, interrupting her meals and muddying her gleaming marble floors, even though...

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