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USA - $12 million cast bronze sculpture goes to auction

Provo, Ut - In a display of panache uncommon to Utah County, a $12 million sculpture will hit the auctioneer's block Monday at the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

One of nine existing replicas of Michelangelo's 1499 masterpiece "Pieta," which depicts a robed Mary cradling her son in her lap following his crucifixion, is the featured item in a sale of several high-ticket artworks being offered. The auction is designed to benefit the nonprofit Trauma Awareness and Treatment Center in Murray, a facility that helps victims of catastrophic events sort through psychological and physical aftereffects.

"Rarely do you have the chance to see a $12 million piece in Utah County," said Steven Bishop, a volunteer who is helping arrange the auction. "We will have some high-network people there. We will have some heavy hitters."

Several people have called with interest about the "Pieta" replica, but it remains to be seen whether it will sell and for how much, Bishop said. The sculpture was molded in 1982 by an Italian foundry working with the authorization of the Vatican, which holds the original.

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