The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art















The exhibition has been organized by The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York, and the Musei Vaticani, Vatican City State. 

The exhibition's tour of the United States is sponsored by Philip 
Morris Incorporated through a generous grant to The Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 

Pan Am has been designated by The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
as the official carrier of the exhibition for its transportation assistance. 

An indemnity has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts 
and Humanities. 

The installation of the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum is 
made possible, in part, by grants from Manufacturers Hanover 
Corporation; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.; and The 
Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Charitable Trust; at The Art Institute of 
Chicago, by major funding from Continental Illinois National Bank 
with additional support from the City of Chicago; and at The Fine 
Arts Museums of San Francisco, by a generous grant from Standard 
Oil Company of California and the Chevron Companies. 

Front cover/jacket: Melozzo da Forli. Music-Making Angel (detail of 
cat. no. 76 A). Pinacoteca 

Frontispiece: Copy after a bronze attributed to the Greek sculptor 
Leochares. The Apollo Belvedere (detail of cat. no. 20). Marble, 
c. a.d. 130-40. Museo ^o-Clementino 

Back cover/jacket: Melozzo da Forli. Music-Making Angel (detail of 
cat. no. 76 B). Pinacoteca 

Copyright© 1982 The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Bradford D. Kelleher, Publisher 

John P O'Neill, Editor in Chief 

Ellen Shultz, Editor, assisted by Amy Horbar 

Designed by Irwin Glusker 

with Kristen Reilly, Christian von Rosenvinge, and Carla Borea 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 
Main entry under title: 
The Vatican collections. 

A catalogue of an exhibition to be shown at the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, New York, Feb. 26- June 12, 1983; the Art Insti- 
tute of Chicago, July 21-Oct. 16, 1983; and the Fine Arts Mu- 
seums of San Francisco, Nov. 19, 1983-Feb. 19, 1984. 

Includes bibliographical references. 

1. Art — Vatican City — Exhibitions. 2. Christian art and 
symbolism — Vatican City — Exhibitions. 3. Vatican — Exhibitions. 
I. Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y) II. Art Institute of 
Chicago. III. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 
N6920.V28 1983 707'.4'013 82-14305 

ISBN 0-87099-321-6 
ISBN 0-87099-320-8 (pbk.) 
ISBN 0-8109-1710-6 (Abrams) 






























































hrough your efforts to promote the patrimony of art that is preserved in 
the Vatican, you are giving an eloquent testimony to your esteem for art 
and for its role in helping to uplift the human spirit to the uncreated 
source of all beauty. 

In its constant concern not to neglect the spiritual dimension of 
man's nature, and to urge the world to direct its gaze upwards to God — the Designer 
and Creator of the universe — the Holy See welcomes your devoted collaboration with 
the Vatican Museums as they strive to communicate to as many people as pos- 
sible all the cultural benefits of that artistic heritage of which they are the custodian. 

In particular, I am happy that our meeting today coincides with the official 
announcement of the Vatican Exhibition in the United States entitled "The Vatican 
Collections — The Papacy and Art." This unprecedented event, which was fostered 
by Cardinal Cooke as a result of my own visit to the United States, immediately 

found the ready and generous cooperation of so many distinguished persons 

This important initiative, jointly organized by the Vatican Museums and The Metro- 
politan Museum of Art of New York, in collaboration with The Art Institute of Chica- 
go and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, likewise received the enthusiastic 
welcome of the Archdioceses of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco My spe- 
cial gratitude goes to all the representatives of the museums involved and especially 
to the directors thereof. 

In accordance with the purpose of the exhibition itself, the works of art will 
begin to relate the long and interesting relationship between the Papacy and art 
throughout the centuries. Above all, these works of art will have a contribution to 
make to the men and women of our day. They will speak of history, of the human 
condition in its universal challenge, and of the endeavors of the human spirit to 
attain the beauty to which it is attracted. And, yes! These works of art will speak of 
God, because they speak of man created in the image and likeness of God; and in so 
many ways they will turn our attention to God himself. 

And thus the history of the Church repeats itself: her esteem for art and 
culture is renewed at this moment and in this generation as in the past 



The 237 works of art (catalogued as 168 entries) selected for "The Vatican 
Collections: The Papacy and Art" are a most extraordinary distillation and syn- 
thesis of some of the highest moments of human artistic achievement. They will 
provide the great majority of Americans who have never visited Rome with a 
unique opportunity to see and to better understand some of the most admired 
ancient and Renaissance masterpieces — such as the Apollo Belvedere, the Belvedere Torso, the 
group of Marsyas and Athena after Myron, Raphael's tapestry The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, 
Leonardo's Saint Jerome, and Caravaggio's Deposition. But above and beyond the presenta- 
tion of these supremely important works, this exhibition has an entirely different dimension. 
It is not a mere anthology of treasures culled from the Vatican Museums, but is instead a 
thoughtful selection of works drawn from the entire range of artistic holdings within the 
Vatican, including the basilica of Saint Peter's and its Treasury the Papal Apartments, and 
the Apostolic Library. Ranging in date from Greek sculptures and vases of the fifth century 
b.c. to contemporary works of art by Andre Derain and Henri Matisse, these objects reflect 
the history of papal patronage and collecting and are thereby able to convey a broad cultural 
and historical message. 

Ever since the founding, about a.d. 320, of the church of Saint Peter's on the site of 
the tomb of Saint Peter, popes have commissioned, preserved, and collected works of art. In 
order to show the development and changing meaning of these activities throughout the 
centuries, this exhibition has been divided into five sections. In the first one, some of the few 
surviving remains from the decoration of Old Saint Peter's — such as three fine mosaics, 
two frescoes of Saints Peter and Paul, and a series of reliefs from the fifteenth- century cibo- 
rium of the high altar — kindle the visitor's imagination, providing a glimpse of the medieval 
church that stood for twelve centuries on the site now occupied by the great Renaissance 
basilica. In the second section, which covers papal patronage from the Late Gothic to the end 
of the Baroque period, the works exhibited evoke the beauty of the papal palaces in the 
Vatican, as well as the continuous concern of the popes for the preservation of Roman 
antiquities and the decoration of Saint Peter's. The colorful murals of the palace interiors are 
brought to mind by a group of thirteenth-to-fourteenth-century frescoes and by precious 
Flemish tapestries of the early sixteenth century. One of Raphael's best-known tapestries, 
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, and two of the most splendid and admired sculptures from 
the Vatican Belvedere — the Apollo Belvedere and the Belvedere Torso — present, in a dramatic 
and unique juxtaposition, the harmonious and powerful vision that lies at the heart of High 
Renaissance art. 

A complete set of pontifical vestments and the monumental silver-gilt cross and can- 
dlesticks commissioned in 1 582 for the main altar of Saint Peter's recall the solemn splendor 
of the new church, and several rare works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini remind the visitor of the 
role played by this artist, as well as by the great seventeenth-century popes Urban VIII and 
Alexander VII, in fostering Baroque art. 

With the dawn of the eighteenth century, the focus of papal patronage shifted from the 
commissioning of great artistic ensembles to an emphasis on historical studies and system- 
atic collecting. Two sections of the exhibition are devoted to this period.-The first conveys the 
essence of the three eighteenth-century collections at the Vatican Museums: the Early Medie- 


val reliquaries from the treasury of the Sancta Sanctorum and its precious Byzantine and 
Romanesque ivories in the Museo Sacro, founded in 1756 by Benedict XIV; the antiq- 
uities excavated in Rome during the course of the eighteenth century — including the Apollo 
Musagetes and the Eros of Centocelle — in the Museo Pio-Clementino, created by Clement XIV 
and the future Pius VI in 1770; and the important collection of paintings exhibited in the 
Pinacoteca that includes rare panels by Sassetta, Gentile da Fabriano, and Fra Angelico, and 
Raphael's beautiful predellas from his Coronation of the Virgin altarpiece and Baglioni Deposition. 

Nineteenth-century archaeological inquiry is reflected in the creation of four mu- 
seums under the pontificates of Gregory XVI ( 183 1-46) and Pius IX (1846-78). As antiqui- 
ties continued to be excavated in Rome and in the papal states, they were collected in the 
Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Museo Gregoriano Profano, and Museo 
Pio Cristiano, all established toward the middle of the nineteenth century. It is from their 
immense holdings that the fourth section of the exhibition presents, in chronological sequence, 
a selection of significant works: a group of precious Greek and Etruscan vases, several Roman 
portraits, rare Early Christian and Jewish inscriptions, all enhanced by such better-known 
masterpieces as the Augustus of Prima Porta and the statue of "The Good Shepherd." 

The popes' interest in art did not exhaust itself with the development of the archaeo- 
logical museums in the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century — as illustrated in 
the final section of this exhibition — papal patronage and collecting expanded in new directions. 
Moving beyond the heritage of Western art, Pius XI founded the Pontificio Museo Missionario- 
Etnologico in 1926 to "illustrate the efforts of all those who seek to increase the kingdom of 
God on earth"; from it the exhibition has drawn several African works and examples of 
the art of various peoples of Oceania and Pre-Columbian South America. 

The last museum to be established in the Vatican is the Collezione d'Arte Religiosa 
Moderna, created in 1 973 by Paul VI. A selection of its works by such artists as Georges Rouault, 
Ben Shahn, Henri Matisse, and Giacomo Manzu closes the exhibition in a tribute to the 
continuing concern of the Church for art that expresses the religious aspirations of mankind. 

This brief outline of the structure of the exhibition reveals the extent of its educational 
range and the significance of the artistic and historical issues it illuminates. No less important 
are those instances in which the exhibition has brought new contributions to knowledge. 
One example is the cleaning and removal of earlier restorations from the Apollo Belvedere. 
Many paintings also have been cleaned, as have a group of terracotta sketch-models by 
Bernini, adding to our knowledge and understanding of these works of art. 

In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the value of this exhibition resides not 
only in the supreme quality of the individual objects it presents, but also in the cultural 
experience that it provides of the single longest and most influential collecting tradition in 
the Western world. 

Philippe de Montebello 
Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

James N. Wood 
Director, The Art Institute of Chicago 

Ian McKibbin White 
Director, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 



His Holiness Pope John Paul II's mission to visit and to speak to all peoples of 
the world inspired the creation and realization of this unprecedented exhibition. 
In its many aspects, it reflects his will to understand and to foster man's spiritual 
growth and aspirations to artistic greatness. I am immensely grateful to the 
Holy See for the privilege of bringing these historic and beautiful works of 
art to the United States in order to give our visitors joy in the appreciation of the creative 
spirit in man's nature that transcends his worldly ambitions. 

His Eminence Terence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of New York and a Trustee of The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, played a principal role in making the exhibition possible. He 
viewed it as an instrument to extend the effect and meaning of His Holiness' s visit to the 
United States, and Cardinal Cooke's continuous commitment and concern were central to 
its realization. He was joined by His Eminence Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, Secretary of State 
of the Vatican, in his receptiveness to the wishes of the Holy Father. Cardinal Casaroli patiently 
and efficiently brought our plans for the exhibition to fruition. In this he was aided by His 
Eminence Sergio Cardinal Guerri, Pro-President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican 
City State, who guided our ideas and hopes until the exhibition became a reality. His successor, 
His Excellency Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who for years had envisioned such an impor- 
tant enterprise, nurtured our exhibition with energy and understanding throughout the 
exciting period of its formulation. His Excellency Marchese Don Giulio Sacchetti, Special 
Delegate of the Pontifical Commission, consistentiy supported the exhibition's formation, 
development, and realization. I thank them sincerely for their ready assistance and much- 
needed cooperation. 

Cardinal Cooke would also wish me to acknowledge the many advocates in the 
United States who helped support the exhibition. The most prominent among these are his 
aide Monsignor Eugene Clark and Lawrence K. Fleischman, Vice President of the Friends of 
American Art in Religion. 

To my colleague and friend Professor Carlo Pietrangeli, Director General of the Vati- 
can Museums, I also give warm thanks. His wide knowledge of papal patronage and the 
Vatican Collections, as well as of the broader history of artistic accomplishments throughout 
the centuries, infused our exhibition with special meaning and taste. Dr. Walter Persegati, 
Secretary and Treasurer of the Vatican Museums, was also indispensable to the exhibition's 
creation. Ever alert to all facets of its organization, he oversaw each stage along the way 
with dedication, sound judgment, and helpful tolerance. 

I am sincerely indebted to the heads of the other art collections in the Vatican. His 
Excellency Archbishop Lino Zanini, Delegate to the Fabbrica of Saint Peter's; the Reverend 
Alfons Stickler, Prefect of the Apostolic Vatican Library; and Monsignor Giovanni Sessolo, 
Camerlengo, and his predecessor Monsignor Antonio Masci, of the Capitolo of Saint Peter's, 
were most cooperative in sending to the United States some of their most glorious and 
historic treasures. 

My gratitude extends as well to Dr. Olga Raggio, Chairman of the Metropolitan 
Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, who planned and car- 
ried through the exhibition in all its aspects with her accustomed flair, using her broad 
knowledge of Rome and the Vatican to devise the exhibition's theme: to reveal the works of 


art through a history of the papacy's patronage of art. Dr. Margaret Frazer, Curator in the 
Department of Medieval Art and the exhibition's coordinator, monitored the development 
and growth of the exhibition with constant vigilance and energy from its inception to its 
installation. Together with me, they continuously refined the selection and display of the 
works to be exhibited. John P O'Neill, Editor in Chief, worked for more than two years with 
Vatican and Metropolitan curators, editors (in particular, with Ellen Shultz) , and production 
specialists to produce the exhibition catalogue. Metropolitan curators who greatly assisted 
in this project include Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer, Chairman, Department of Greek and 
Roman Art; Dr. Joan R. Mertens, Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Art; and 
Katharine Baetjer, Curator, Department of European Paintings. 

James Pilgrim, my Deputy Director, supervised with dedication and intelligence both 
the exhibition's curatorial and administrative apparatus. Because of lack of space in these 
pages, he must represent the many other people at the Metropolitan Museum who donated 
their skills, time, and energy to ensure the quality and success of this undertaking. 

The exhibition's magnitude and complexity were such that every service of the Vati- 
can Museums was called upon to give of its time and dedication. I wish to acknowledge the 
help and advice of the heads of the Vatican Museums: Dr. Georg Daltrop, Dr. Mario Ferrazza, 
Dr. Fabrizio Mancinelli, Monsignor Gianfranco Nolli, the Reverend Jozef Penkowski, and Profes- 
sor Francesco Roncalli. These individuals were essential to the formulation and outcome of the 
exhibition, as were the members of the Conservation staff: Dr. Nazzareno Gabrielli; Professor 
Gianluigi Colalucci; and Sig. Ulderico Grispigni, who expertly restored and prepared the 
works of art for exhibition, and Patricia Bonicatti, who was invaluable in arranging innumera- 
ble appointments, organizing photography, and coordinating many other activities. I also 
wish to thank the professional staffs of the Fabbrica of Saint Peter's, especially Professor 
Architect Giuseppe Zander and Dr. Architect Pier Luigi Silvan; Dr. Giovanni Morello of the 
Apostolic Library, and Professor Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani; and Monsignor Ennio Francia 
and Monsignor Salvatore Garofalo of the Capitolo of Saint Peter's who, with unfailing good 
will and industry, granted access to information about their collections. I also wish to empha- 
size the perceptive and enlightened cooperation given by the directors and staffs of the recipi- 
ent museums, James N. Wood of The Art Institute of Chicago and Ian McKibbin White of 
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

In conclusion, it is my privilege to acknowledge the contributors of financial support, 
without whom the exhibition would not have been possible. They are first and foremost 
Philip Morris Incorporated, the sponsor of the national tour; Pan Am, which provided trans- 
portation assistance; and the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, which granted an 
indemnity. We also wish to acknowledge grants toward local installation costs: in New York, 
from Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., and 
The Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Charitable Trust; in Chicago, from the Continental Illinois 
National Bank, and the City of Chicago; and in San Francisco, from Standard Oil Company 
of California and the Chevron Companies. 

Philippe de Montebello 
Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

For centuries great artists and craftsmen have looked to the Vatican as both one of 
their benefactors and as a preserver of their works. Now it is with pride and satisfac- 
tion that we help to bring a stunning selection of these works of art to the 
United States. 

As sponsor of the American tour of "The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art," 
we hope to make a significant contribution to the enjoyment of our cultural heritage. This is 
in truth a landmark event. We are excited to be part of it as a manifestation of the growing 
cooperation between business and our great cultural institutions. 

George Weissman 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Philip Morris Incorporated 




Saint Peter's Square 



Saint Peter's Basilica 



Bernini's Colonnade 



Portone di Bronzo 



Scala Regia 



Scala Nobile 





Apostolic Paiaces 


Cortile di San Damaso 


Bastion of Nicholas V 


Cortile del Maresciallo 


Cortile del Pappagallo 
Cortile Borgia 
Cortile della Sentinclla 
Sistine Chapel 
Borgia Tower 
Borgia Apartment 
Collezione d'Ane 

Religiosa Modema 
Raphael Stanze 

(U Floor) 
Cortile del Belvedere 
Vatican Library 
Sala Sistina 
Vatican Library 
Museo Saao 
Galleria delle Cane 
(II Floor) 
Corridor of Bramante 
Galleria Lapidaria 
Cortile della Biblioteca 



Tower of the Winds 
Braccio Nuovo 
Museo Chiaramonti 
Cortile della Pigna 
Nicchione del Belvedere 
Vatican Library 
Museo Profano 
Galleria degli Arazzi. 
Galleria dei 
Candelabri (II Floor) 
Atrio dei Quattro 

Scala Simonetti 
Museo Gregoriano 

Museo Gregoriano 
Etruseo (II Floor) 
Museo Pio-Clementino 
Conile Ottagono 
Belvedere of 

Innocent VIII 
Scala del Bramante 
Fontana della Galera 
Entrance to the 
Vatican Museums 

39 Museo Gregoriano Profano 
Museo Pio Cristiano 
Pontifirio Museo 


40 Pinacoteca 

41 Museo Storico 

42 Casina of Pius IV 

43 Fontana detl'Aquilone 

44 Fontana del Sacramento 

45 Porta Sant'Anna 

46 Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri 

47 San Martino degli Svizzeri 

48 Vatican Printing Press 

49 Post Office 

50 Tapestry Workshop 

51 San Pellegrino 

52 UOsservatore Romano 

53 Vatican Gardens 

54 Vatican Radio Station 

55 Leonine Walls 

56 Grotto of Lourdes 

57 Tower of San Giovanni 

58 Pontifical Ethiopian College 

59 Railroad Station 

60 Mosaic Workshop 

61 Palazzo del Govematorato 

62 Santo Stefano degli 

63 Palazzo del Tribunale 

64 Palazzo di San Carlo 

65 Ospizio di Santa Marta 

66 Sacristy and Treasury 
of Saint Peter's 

67 Piazza dei Protomartiri 

68 Audience Hall 







The only public collection of an- 
tiquities that existed in Rome 
until the sixteenth century was 
that of the Capitoline museums, 
whose origins may be traced 
back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus 
IV (1471-84) donated the Lateran bronzes 
to the people of Rome. The birth of the Vati- 
can Museums coincides with the ascent to 
the papacy of Julius II (1503-13; see fig. 1). 
However, this first Vatican collection was of a 
somewhat different character — almost a 
princely private collection. 

In 1503, the new pope transferred to the 
Vatican the statue of Apollo, which, until then, 
he had kept in the garden of his cardinal's 
residence at San Pietro in Vincoli. The sculpture was placed 
in the Palazzetto of Innocent VIII, designed by Pollaiuolo on 
the pleasant Belvedere hillside (fig. 2), a place of repose, 
chosen by the popes, not far from the Vatican Palace. Hardly 
any time had elapsed since Pinturicchio had decorated the 
Vatican apartments of Alexander VI (1492-1503), and very 
soon Michelangelo would fresco the ceiling of the Sistine 
Chapel (1508-12) for the same Julius n while Raphael would 
paint the walls of the Stanza della Segnatura (1509-11), the 
pontiff's private library. 

To better utilize the Palazzetto del Belvedere, Julius II 
commissioned Bramante to connect it with the pope's 
apartment — the so-called Stanze of Raphael — by means of a 
walkway that would reach the upper floor of the Belvedere. 
The walk, supported by a series of arches that compensated 
for the uneven terrain, was to be level. 

Included in this project was the creation of a garden 
courtyard planted with orange trees and embellished with 
fountains, next to Pollaiuolo's building. In the walls of the 
courtyard were niches that would be filled with sculptures — 

(DETAIL). FRESCO. 1511-12. 

probably works already in the Vatican — such 
as the Apollo Belvedere, thirteen gigantic mar- 
ble masks that were set into the courtyard 
walls, and a statue of a Roman lady, looking 
like Venus, with Amor beside her, called the 
Venus Felix. In 1506, the modest collection 
was enriched by the Laocoon group (discovered 
at the Baths of Trajan in January of that year) , 
and, soon after, by the statue of Hercules car- 
rying the little Telephus — described as a por- 
trait of Commodus, "the wicked and dirty 
emperor," by Ulisse Aldrovandi. 

Francesco Albertini, in 1510, spoke of 
the marvels of ancient and modern Rome; 
he recalled, first, "the Antiquario delle Statue," 
and noted that above a door to the courtyard 
one read the Virgilian motto "Procul este, prophani" (Begone, 
ye profane ones) , indicating that this Parnassus, or garden of 
the Hesperides, was to be a place dedicated only to the 
initiated: the men of letters, the thinkers, and the artists. In 
fact, the works in the Belvedere were often copied by Raphael; 
Michelangelo, and his friend Francisco de Hollanda (who 
made splendid colored drawings after the antique statues in 
the papal collections) ; Maarten van Heemskerck, who visit- 
ed Rome from 1535 to 1536; Primaticcio, who had casts of 
the sculptures made for Francis I; Baccio Bandinelli, who 
ran an academy in Rome; and by many other artists. Be- 
tween 1513 and 1516, Leonardo da Vinci was the guest of 
Pope Leo X (1513-21). 

In 1512, the orange grove in the center of the courtyard 
was enhanced by the addition of two gigantic statues that 
recently had been discovered in the Campus Martius: the 
Tiber and the Nile. Also acquired at this time, from the Maffei 
Collection, was the Sleeping Ariadne, then known as the 
Cleopatra, which adorned a fountain in a comer of the court- 
yard. Placed in the opposite corner, in a niche designed by 


Michelangelo, was a statue of a river-god (with a restored 
head) — called Tigris, or the Amo — that was also transformed 
into a fountain. 

The two noteworthy accessions under Clement VII 
(1523-34) were the Venus ex balneo, a replica of Praxiteles' 
Aphrodite of Knidos, and the torso of a colossal statue of 
Hercules, which became famous as the Torso del Belvedere 
and won the admiration of generations of artists, the first of 
whom was Michelangelo. 

The last sculpture to join the Antiquario was the Antinous, 
a Praxitelean statue of Hermes that was found in a vineyard 
near the Castel Sant'Angelo and acquired in 1543. With this 
sculpture, the four corners of the courtyard and the center 
niches in the walls were complete. The two gigantic river- 
gods were placed in the center, among the orange trees. 

In the mid-sixteenth century, the time of Julius III 
(1550-55), the Antiquario underwent the first change. 
Ariadne-Cleopatra was removed from her niche — and replaced 
with a modern statue of a river-god — to decorate a grotto at 
the end of the Corridor of Bramante in the library. 

The successors of Julius III, Paul IV (1555-59) and Pius 
IV (1560-65), dedicated themselves mostly to adorning with 
ancient statues the Teatro del Belvedere and the "Casina" 
built by Pirro Ligorio in the gardens. 

During the pontificate of Pius V (1566-72) — who was 
pope during the Counter- Reformation period — a new strict- 
ness seemed to prevail at the Vatican. The statues in the 
Antiquario came to be regarded as pagan "idols," whose 
presence was inadmissible in the Papal Palace. It was feared 
that, like the monuments of classical antiquity, they would 
distract the pilgrims who visited Rome to venerate the tombs 
of the martyrs. The pope decided to donate some of the stat- 
ues from the Teatro del Belvedere and the Casina of Pius IV 
to the people of Rome, to be preserved on the Campidoglio. 
Other gifts were sent to Florence, to Grand Duke Cosimo I, 
to the Cardinal of Augsburg, and to Archduke Maximilian 
II. The pope even considered dismantling the entire collec- 
tion of the Antiquario, but, when several cardinals pleaded 
with him not to do so, he decided that the statues could 
remain, but that they should always be kept hidden. In fact, 
for some time the wall niches had been fitted with wooden 
shutters to preserve the precious sculptures from inclement 
weather (fig. 3). 

The rigors of the Counter Reformation passed, but noth- 
ing new entered the Vatican's small collection of antique 
sculpture until the beginning of the eighteenth century, when 
Clement XI (1700-1721), with the advice of the Veronese 
antiquarian Francesco Bianchini, assembled an "Ecclesiastical 


Museum" in the Belvedere, consisting primarily of carved 
inscriptions and bas-reliefs collected as historical docu- 

The museum lasted only a short time, and was dispersed 
even before the death of the pope, but its basic idea was 
revived by the Vatican Library. In the Galleria Clementina — 
formed in the time of Clement XII (1730-40)— a collec- 
tion of coins (Cardinal Alessandro Albani's collection) and a 
collection of Etruscan vases (Cardinal Filippo Antonio 
Gualterio's collection) were exhibited alongside books and 
manuscripts. The museum grew during the next pontificate, 
that of Benedict XIV (1740-58), the erudite Bolognese and 
devotee of art and culture. Several private collections subse- 
quently were added to the so-called Vatican Museum: those 
of Cardinal Gaspare Carpegna, which included furnishings 
from the catacombs, porcelain vases, and paintings; of 
Francesco Ficoroni; of Gori, a priest from Florence; of Saverio 
Scilla, which contained a large number of pontifical coins; 
and the gold glasses assembled by Senator Buonarroti and 
Cardinal Flavio I Chigi. 

With Francesco Vettori's donation, the pope decided to 
create a new museum, the Museo Cristiano, to be located 
at the end of the Gallery of Urban VIII. The installation was 
completed in 1756. The purpose of the museum was to docu- 
ment Christianity from its beginnings, and Vettori was named 
director for life. The gallery was fitted out with beautiful cabi- 
nets made of brierwood; its monumental entrance was de- 
signed by Paolo Posi, and its ceiling was painted by Stefano 

Pope Clement XIII (1758-69) decided to transfer the 
profane collection to an expressly designated location at the 
end of the Galleria Clementina, to be called the Museo 
Profano (fig. 4) . This museum would exhibit the numismatic 
and the glyptic collections, as well as bronzes and ivories. 
(Upon the suggestion of Cardinal-Librarian Alessandro Al- 
bani, Johann Joachim Winckelmann was named director of 
this new museum and Rome's Commissioner of Antiquities.) 
The ceiling was also painted by Pozzi, and the handsome 
cabinets of precious Brazilian wood ornamented with gilt- 
bronze mounts, still seen today, were designed by Luigi 
Valadier and added at the time of Pius VI (1775-99). 

Until the pontificate of Clement XIV (1769-74), there 
were two distinct collections of ancient art in the Vatican: 
the Antiquario, in the Belvedere, which remained unchanged 
from the mid- sixteenth century; and the "Vatican Museum" 
proper, in the library, which was divided into sacred and pro- 
fane sections. 

In Rome, there were also the Museo Capitolino, and 
the Pinacoteca attached to it, on the Campidoglio — the pres- 
tigious seat of civic authority, but under the direct control of 
the central government — the only public museums of paint- 
ing and sculpture in the papal state. If a statue were excavated, 
or a painting purchased, it was destined, automatically, for 
the Capitolino, although the collection already was full, with 
no room to expand. 

Clement XIV concerned himself with the continual 
outflow from Rome of antiquities, which were being sold by 
private collectors with Italian and foreign dealers serving as 



i II in ■ 


middlemen. Rome had become, at that time, the main cen- 
ter of the art market for antiquities, and attracted English, 
German, and Russian collectors. 

Clement XIV's treasurer, Giovanni Angelo Braschi, the 
future Pius VI, advised the pope to acquire antiquities des- 
tined to be sent abroad — the Barberini candelabra, the Meleager 
by Skopas, and the Mattei Collection — and, in 1771, an 
immediate need arose to create a new museum to house 
these objects. The new museum was called the Clementino. 
The Palazzetto del Belvedere, where the Antiquario delle Sta- 
tue already was installed, was chosen as the site. Alessandro 
Dori was the papal architect, commissioned to adapt the Bel- 
vedere to its new function, while the direction of the work 
fell to Giovanni Battista Visconti, Roman Commissioner of 
Antiquities, who had succeeded Winckelmann in 1769. The 
first spaces to be utilized were the loggia and the adjacent 
ground-floor rooms, which were transformed into the Galleria 



delle Statue, the Sala dei Busti, and the Sala degli Animali. 
The small chapel of San Giovanni Battista, frescoed by An- 
drea Mantegna — which was the chapel of the Palazzetto of 
Innocent VIII — was still preserved at this stage. During the 
course of this work, Dori died. He was succeeded by Michel- 
angelo Simonetti, who continued to be occupied with the 
museum for the rest of his life. 

Once the transformation of the Palazzetto's ground floor 
had been effected, attention was directed toward making bet- 
ter use of the courtyard where the Antiquario had been; a 
portico was constructed, thus permitting the removal of the 
unaesthetic wooden shutters that protected the sculptures. 
When work was completed at the end of 1773, an inscrip- 
tion commemorating the founding of the new museum was 
placed in the courtyard. 

Contemporaneously, progress was being made at the 
library. In 1772, in the Corridor of Bramante, Gaetano Marini 
had initiated and organized the epigraphical collection, while, 
next to the Museo Sacro, the Gabinetto dei Papiri was sump- 
tuously redecorated. In 1771, funds had been made available 
to repair the walls, and, the following year, the refurbishing 
consisted of decorating the floor and walls with colored 
marbles, and the ceiling with Anton Raphael Mengs's alle- 
gorical painting (see figs. 5, 30) of the founding of the Museo 
Clementino (1772-73). 

With the ascension to the papal throne of Pius VI 
(1775-99), former treasurer of Clement XIV, work on the 
museum continued (see fig. 6). In 1776, the pope decided 
to construct two new wings: on one side, lengthening the 
Galleria delle Statue by linking it with the old Stanza del Torso 
to create the Sala degli Animali, and building a new gallery, 
later to be called the Gabinetto delle Maschere; on the other 
side, creating a complex of very large galleries — the Sala 
delle Muse, Sala Rotonda, and the Sala a Croce Greca — 
which, by means of the grand staircase (now named after 
Simonetti), would link the museum with the library (the 
Museo Profano) . The planning and direction of the work by 
Simonetti necessitated the demolition of the Mantegna chapel, 
which met with no objections from contemporary scholars. 

The new areas, inspired by the architecture of ancient 
Rome, were ingeniously joined to the old, resulting in more 
articulated spaces with varying perspectives. This was accom- 
plished by using ancient materials (columns, capitals, paving 
mosaics, and statues serving as telamones; see fig. 7). Statues 
were placed on antique bases, or, if the bases were modern, 
they were richly decorated; busts were set on marble shelves, 
on two levels; and landscapes were painted on the walls be- 
hind some of the most important statues. 

The ceilings of the museum were decorated by Tommaso 
Conca (Sala delle Muse), Domenico De Angelis (Gabinetto 
delle Maschere), and Cristoforo Unterberger (Galleria delle 
Statue, Sala dei Busti); the stuccowork was modeled by 
Gaspare Sibilla, Giacinto Ferrari, and others; the decorative 
marble sculptures were by Francesco Antonio Franzoni. These 
new additions were well advanced in 1784 when the Scala 
Simonetti was opened to the public. One of those responsible 
for the museum, G. B. Visconti, died in September of that 
year. His youngest son, Filippo Aurelio, succeeded him as 

Commissioner of Antiquities, which included the direction 
of the museum, while a brother, Ennio Quirino Visconti, was 
named director of the Museo Capitolino in 1785, and, like 
his father, continued to oversee the growth of the Vatican 
Museum and to prepare the impressive seven- volume illus- 
trated catalogue, in folio, completed in 1807. 

In 1785, Simonetti began the arrangement of the Galleria 
dei Candelabri on the second floor, above the Galleria 
Clementina of the library; upon Simonetti's death in 1787, 
the very young Giuseppe Camporese finished the construc- 
tion of the Museo Pio- Clementino and designed the new 
entrance, the Atrio dei Quattro Cancelli, and, above it, the 
Sala della Biga (1786-87), whose decoration was not com- 
pleted until the next year. 

A three-room picture gallery, the Pinacoteca, was set up 
in 1790 to display works gathered especially from the papal 


palaces, in space that was created in the early eighteenth 
century by covering over a terrace; it is now the Galleria 
degli Arazzi. 

Meanwhile, the collections continued to grow, as a re- 
sult of excavations — at Castrum Novum (Torre Chiaruccia, 
near Civitavecchia) , Otricoli, Palestrina, Tivoli, Ostia, "Roma 
Vecchia" (the Villa dei Quintili), and the Lateran — and 
acquisitions — the group of Muses and Philosophers from the 
so-called Villa of Cassius, near Tivoli; Praxiteles' Apollo 
Sauroktonos; the colossal Genius of Augustus; the Juno Sospita, 
from Lanuvium; the Aphrodite by Doidalsas; the Diskobolos 
of Myron; and the Mosaic of the Masks. By 1792, the mu- 
seum already contained 1,445 items. 

The final years of the pontificate of Pius VI were particu- 
larly eventful; even the tiny papal states were involved in the 
French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon, and the occupation 



of a large part of Europe by the armies of the new "Caesar." 
The pope was obliged to subscribe to the harsh terms of the 
Treaty of Tolentino (1797), which called for the ceding of a 
selection of art masterpieces from the Vatican and from 
throughout the papal states, as well as ancient manuscripts 
from the library, to be chosen by a commission of experts 
created by the Directorate and removed from the Vatican be- 
tween April and June of 1797. After an eventful voyage by 
land and sea across the rivers and canals of France, the works 
of art reached Paris, where there was a spectacular procession, 
in the manner of an ancient triumph (fig. 8). The Louvre, 
renamed the Musee Napoleon, was the site chosen to exhibit 
the Apollo Belvedere; the Laocoon; the Antinous; the Belvedere 
Torso; the Ariadne; the statues of the Muses; the Zeus from 
Otricoli; the Meleager; the Doidalsas Aphrodite; the Diskobolos; 
the Amazon, from the Mattei Collection; the colossal statues 
of the Tiber, the Nile, Ceres, and the Melpomene; as well as The 
Martyrdom of Saint Peter by Guido Reni, The Martyrdom of 
Saint Erasmus by Poussin, The Mass of Saint Gregory by An- 

drea Sacchi, and Guercino's Saint Petronilla — all from the 
Pinacoteca, except for the Guercino, which had been in the 
Palazzo del Quirinale. Valuable coins and the precious gems 
and cameos from the Museo Profano were pillaged and the 
collection practically wiped out. Meanwhile, Pius VI, taken 
prisoner at the Quirinale and sent to France, died in Valence 
in 1799. 

A new pope, Pius VII (1800-1823), was elected in 
Venice the following year, and on July 3 triumphantly en- 
tered Rome. 

One of the first provisions regarding the arts, supported 
by Cardinal- Secretary of State Consalvi, was the nomination, 
for life, of the celebrated sculptor Antonio Canova as Inspec- 
tor General of the Fine Arts for the Pontifical State (August 
1802); Canova's prestigious name was favorably accepted 
by all sides. Then came the Constitution of October 1, 1802, 
drafted by the new Commissioner of Antiquities, Carlo Fea, 
which prohibited the export from Rome of works of art, and 
stated that private owners of art objects that were for sale 
had to declare them at the Camerlengato. Finally, an annual 
sum often thousand scudi was allotted for acquisitions. Thus, 
private owners who, until then, because of the competition, 
could dispose of their works of art at very good prices by 
selling them to Roman and non- Roman art dealers, now 
had only one buyer, the state, and, therefore, were forced to 
accept prices advantageous to the Holy See. A consultative 
commission of experts was set up to carry out the acquisitions. 

Newly acquired works of art gradually filled in the gaps 
left by Napoleon in the museums, but the Pinacoteca, ir- 
reparably damaged, was closed and the remaining paintings 
used to decorate the Vatican palaces. 

The early years of the pontificate of Pius VH were marked 
by good relations with the French. The pope even went to 
Paris in 1804 for the coronation of Napoleon as emperor. 

In 1805, work began on the new Museo Chiaramonti: 
The Corridor of Bramante, some 318 meters long, was cleared 
for the purpose. Half of it was used to establish a Galleria 
Lapidaria by transferring to it the collection of inscriptions 
that Marini had begun to organize at the other end of the 
corridor. In turn, all the antiquities that were acquired follow- 
ing the law of 1802 were arranged, in orderly fashion, along 
the walls where the inscriptions had been. 

In 1808, relations with France worsened and the pope 
was deported to Savona. Although the French occupied Rome 
from 1809 to 1814, men of the highest order administered 
the city — from which it, in fact, benefited. 

Canova remained as Director of the Imperial Museums 
of the Vatican and the Campidoglio. At this time, the Galleria 
dei Candelabri was lengthened to include the Pinacoteca of 
Pius VI. The old gallery then became known as the Galleria 
delle Miscellanee; the new one, as the Galleria dei Candelabri. 

After the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna 
(1814-15) ruled that works of art removed by the French 
were to be returned. On August 28, 1815, Canova, nom- 
inated Pontifical Plenipotentiary for the recovery of works of 
art, arrived in Paris, where his mission was greatly obstructed 
by the French. However, the assistance of the allied powers, 
notably England, helped in regaining a majority of the art 


removed from the Vatican and the Roman states. Despite all 
this, Pius VII made a spontaneous gift of a number of works 
to King Louis XVIII. The library, simultaneously, was reac- 
quiring part of its plundered collections other than the coins 
and gems, which, mostly, had been dispersed. 

The works reached Rome in two phases: Those that 
came by land arrived in January, and those that were shipped 
by sea came in July and August of 1815. 

Among other works, two colossal statues remained in 
Paris — the Tiber, and the Melpomene from the courtyard of 
the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome — as well as some por- 
trait statues and decorative art. 

On February 21, 1816, the pope visited the museum to 
see the recovered paintings and sculpture. He ordered the 
construction of a new wing to house recently acquired 
antiquities, the installation of the new Pinacoteca in the 
Borgia Apartment, and the lengthening of the Galleria dei 
Candelabri as far as the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche. The 
consultative commission was reestablished to oversee the ac- 
quisition of such works as the Athena Giustiniani, the famous 
fresco of The Aldobrandini Wedding, and a group of Egyptian 
sculptures; the last, set up in the semicircular corridor be- 
hind the Belvedere Niche (the Nicchione), became the nu- 

cleus of the Museo Egizio. 

The new wing, the Braccio Nuovo of the Museo 
Chiaramonti, was begun in 1817, after designs by Raffaele 
Stern, and completed in 1822 by the architect Pasquale Belli 
after Stern's death. 

This light-flooded gallery in the neoclassical style, about 
seventy meters long and more than eight meters wide, was 
decorated with mosaics and antique columns, and a barrel- 
vaulted ceiling containing skylights. Statues were placed in 
niches, and busts on brackets or column-shaped pedestals. 
On the walls were a series of allegorical bas-reliefs by 
Maximilien Laboureur. The Braccio Nuovo was inaugurated 
by the pope on February 14, 1822. 

The Museo Chiaramonti was ornamented from 1817 
on — through the munificence of Canova — with a series of 
lunettes painted by young artists (among whom was Fran- 
cesco Hayez) illustrating the efforts of the pope toward fur- 
thering the fine arts and culture. 

Pius VII created the Pinacoteca, initially, with works al- 
ready in the Vatican Palace that had been returned by France, 
adding Titian's altarpiece (once at the Quirinale) from San 
Niccolo dei Frari, near Venice; works drawn from the Capi- 
toline museums; ancient frescoes; and, above all, paintings 





belonging to churches and convents in the pontifical states 
that had been retrieved from Paris and were held in the 
Vatican. To the protests of the original owners, Consalvi 
harshly replied that the works had been lost as a result of the 
war and had been reconsigned by the allies to the pope so 
that they could be exhibited to the public, and that the pope 
could, therefore, dispose of them as he wished. 

And so, added permanently to the Vatican collections 
were paintings by Fra Angelico, works by Raphael and 
Perugino that were previously in Perugia and Foligno, 
Raphael's Transfiguration, Caravaggio's Deposition, The Com- 
munion of Saint Jeromeby Domenichino, Andrea Sacchi's Saint 
Romuald, and Barocci's Annunciation and Blessed Michelina. 

The Pinacoteca, installed in the Borgia Apartment, re- 
mained there only a few years, as the rooms were unsuitable. 
In 1821, the paintings were transferred to the Sala della 
Bologna, adjacent to the third-floor Logge di San Damaso. 

Upon the death of Pius VII, Leo XII (1823-29) became 
pope. Several important acquisitions during his pontificate 
were arranged through the Camuccini brothers: the Caryatid, 
which was restored by Thorvaldsen; the Demosthenes; the 
Amazon, from Hadrian's Villa; reliefs from Trajan's Forum 
that were formerly at the Villa Aldobrandini; and the Greek 
Relief with a Horseman, from the Giustiniani family. 

In 1824, the Vatican acquired the Marsyas by Myron, and 
a group of portraits, found at Veii, of the Julio-Claudian family, 
and purchased the Mosaics of the Athletes, from the Baths of 
Caracalla. During this period, the group of sculptures found at 
Tor Marancia, a bequest to the museum by Princess Marianna 
of Savoy, Duchess of Chablis, also entered the Vatican. The 
Pinacoteca was enriched by two important Umbrian works: 
the altarpiece of The Coronation of the Virgin by Pinturicchio, 
and Lo Spagna's Nativity — purchased from the Spineta Mon- 
astery near Todi — as well as by the celebrated fresco by 
Melozzo da Forli, Sixtus TV Nominates Platina Prefect of the 
Vatican Library (transferred from the library). 

Under this pontificate, three large rooms, once used by 
Pius VI for the Pinacoteca and subsequently transformed by 
Canova into the new Galleria dei Candelabri, were adapted 
as galleries. The creation of a permanent place for the 
Pinacoteca, and a new spectacular view from the Galleria 
dei Candelabri to the chapel of Saint Pius V, would be com- 
pleted under Pope Pius VIII (1829-30). 

The pontificate of Gregory XVI (1831-46) marked a 
period of great activity at the Vatican Museums. After Canova 
died (1822), the office of Inspector General, to which he had 
been reinstated in 1814 by Pius VII, was discontinued. The 
museum operated under the direction of the sculptor Antonio 
d'Este (1754-1837). In 1832, the sculptor Giuseppe Fabris 
had been named associate— and eventual successor— to 
d'Este. The idea of a sculptor as director of a museum of 
ancient sculpture was so deeply rooted at the Vatican that 
the practice endured— save for a brief hiatus— until 1920. In 
fact, the director of the museum personally repaired sculp- 
tures—generally, this meant complete restorations of the 
works of art. 

Pope Gregory XVI barely had completed the installation 
of the Pinacoteca in the space readied by his predecessors 

when that, too, proved unsuitable; five years later, it was 
therefore necessary to transfer the paintings to the apartment 
of Saint Pius V — four rooms, in addition to the chapel. Pur- 
chases in this period included the predella by Francesco del 
Cossa of The Miracles of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Titian's Portrait 
of the Doge Nicold Marcello. The Galleria degli Arazzi moved 
to the space vacated by the old Pinacoteca — where it remains. 
It was now possible to display Raphael's precious "Scuola 
Vecchia" tapestries. These had been stolen during the French 
Revolution and then sold at a low price, but, fortunately, 
they were recovered in 1812 and later restored. 

About 1837, an important initiative was undertaken by 
the library, that of assembling in the Museo Cristiano a collec- 
tion of more than one hundred valuable Byzantine paintings 
and "primitives" from churches and convents in the pontifical 
state; these were hung in what became known as the Sala 
degli Indirizzi. The following year, the library handsomely 
displayed its own collection of ancient frescoes, the gem being 
The Aldobrandini Wedding, in the adjacent Sala di Sansone. 

Gregory XVI founded the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco 
(fig. 9). It was installed in the apartment of the cardinal- 
librarian, behind the Nicchione del Belvedere, on the ground 
floor of the building erected by Pius IV in 1562 as the sum- 
mer residence of the popes. 

The establishment of the Etruscan museum coincided 
with renewed interest in Etruria, occasioned by the excava- 



tions in progress and the studies of them that were under- 
way at the newly formed Instituto di Corrispondenza 
Archeologica and at the Pontifical Archaeological Academy. 
An agreement had been signed, in 1834, with the Campanari 
brothers of Toscanella, to undertake the excavations and to 
divide the objects that were recovered. However, it became 
necessary to prevent the continual exportation of excavated 
works, which, despite the protective laws, were disappearing 
from the pontifical state. 

Perhaps the impetus for the creation of the museum was 
the purchase, in 1835, of the Mars ofTodi, followed by the 
acquisition, shortly thereafter, of the exceptionally rich mate- 
rial from the Regolini-Galassi tomb at Cerveteri. After only 
three months of preparation, the Etruscan museum was in- 
augurated on February 2, 1837, by Gregory XVI. It contained 
sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, goldsmiths' work, and Etrus- 
can inscriptions; a group of Greek and Etruscan vases found 
in the tombs; and, also, furnishings from the archaic necrop- 
olises on the Albani hills — all assembled by type of object. 
There were also an ideal reconstruction of an Etruscan tomb 
and copies of tomb paintings from Tarquinia and Vulci. 

Gregory XVI created the Museo Egizio at a time of height- 
ened interest in Egyptian antiquities, encouraged also by the 
recent discoveries of J. E Champollion. As already noted, 
during the reign of Pius VII the Vatican had assembled a 
small, specialized sampling of Egyptian art; this was increased 

greatly after collecting all the Egyptian antiquities — in addi- 
tion to imitations — in Rome that were public property or 
that belonged to the state (for example, from the Musei 
Capitolino, Borgiano, and Kircheriano, and from scattered 
monuments). Four imposing galleries were put to use, a semi- 
circular one and a series of small rooms on the floor below 
the Museo Etrusco, decorated by Giuseppe Fabris in a style 
inspired by the objects to be displayed. The new museum 
was inaugurated in February 1839 (fig. 10). 

This left unresolved the problem of the Graeco- Roman 
antiquities, which were accumulating in different places in 
the Vatican palaces. The pope, as a result, decided to found a 
new museum — the Lateran — using the palace erected by 
Domenico Fontana for Pope Sixtus V (1585-90), which, im- 
properly cared for, was on the verge of collapse. Once restora- 
tion was quickly completed, the museum was set up on two 
floors. On the ground floor, fourteen rooms were adapted for 
the Graeco-Roman antiquities, and three rooms on the floor 
above were set aside for paintings. The Museo Profano 
Lateranense and the Pinacoteca Lateranense were opened to 
the public on March 16, 1844, with, among other works, the 
Marsyas; the reliefs from Trajan's Forum; the Sophokles from 
Terracina; the group of Julio- Claudian statues from Veii 
and Cerveteri; the Braschi Antinous, acquired in 1844; and 
the large Mosaics of the Athletes. The Pinacoteca received 
some eighteenth-century copies after paintings that had been 



IN 1838. LITHOGRAPH (FROM L ALBUM, 5, 1838-39) 

reproduced in mosaic in Saint Peter's. Among the recently 
acquired works were The Coronation of the Virgin by Filippo 
Lippi; the Montelparo polyptych by rAlunno; The Annuncia- 
tion by Cavalier d'Arpino; two paintings by Palmezzano; and 
the Portrait of George TV by Thomas Lawrence, donated by the 
British king to Pius VII. 

The ascent of Pius IX ( 1846-78 ) to the papal throne ush- 
ered in a period of great political upheaval: the riots of 1848; 
the Roman Republic of 1849, when Pius had to leave the 
papal states; and the capture of Rome by Italian troops in 
1870, ending the temporal power of the popes. Several im- 
portant archaeological discoveries enriched the Vatican Mu- 
seum at this time: Lysippus' Apoxyomenos (found in Trastevere 
in 1849), the Augustus of Prima Porta (discovered in the Villa 
of Livia in 1863), and the huge bronze Hercules (found in 
1866 near the Theater of Pompeius), called the Mastai after 
Pius IX (Mastai-Ferretti). A special commission instituted in 
1852 to further research on the catacombs produced notable 
results. A series of sculptors alternating as director general of 
the museum continued with Pietro Tenerani and Ignazio 
Iacometti, while at the Museo Pio-Clementino the rooms 
were renovated in keeping with current tastes and the walls 
painted a deep Pompeian red as background for the sculptures. 

In 1857, the Pinacoteca once again was installed in the 
apartment of Gregory XIII in the third loggia of the Cortile di 
San Damaso. In this period, Leonardo's Saint Jerome, a Fra 
Angelico Madonna, the Camerino triptych by l'Alunno, and 
Guercino's Saint Margherita were added to the collections. 
Where the Pinacoteca had been, a Galleria dei Santi e Beati 
was established, with mediocre contemporary works, the best 
of which was the Gorkum Martyrs by Cesare Fracassini. 

Pope Pius IX created a huge new museum at the Lateran, 
the Pio Cristiano, which he inaugurated on November 9, 
1854. It contained sarcophagi — in large part, from the 
churches of Rome — and inscriptions from churches and from 
the catacombs. The collection, the first of its kind in impor- 
tance and scope, included copies of catacomb paintings and 
two groups of medieval frescoes from San Nicola in Carcere 

and Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura. 

Under Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), Carlo Ludovico 
Visconti, an archaeologist, became the new director general; 
he remained at his post for a decade, followed by the sculp- 
tor Alberto Galli. Two special directors were nominated: the 
archaeologist Orazio Marucchi, for the Musei Lateranensi 
and Egizio; and Bartolomeo Nogara, an Etruscan scholar, for 
the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco. For the Vatican exhibition 
for the pope's Jubilee — held during this period — Sultan 
Habdul Hamid donated the celebrated Cippus of Abercio 
(Abercio was a bishop of Hierapolis in the second century 
a.d.). The Falcioni Collection of Etruscan and Roman antiq- 
uities was acquired for the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, and 
the Greek stele of an athlete for the Museo Pio-Clementino. 

Queen Maria Cristina de Borbon, Regent of Spain, do- 
nated two precious Tournai tapestries, and Prince Rospigliosi, 
the Rospigliosi polyptych by Bartolomeo di Tommaso, a rare 
Quattrocento painting from Umbria. The library was enhanced 
by the large collection of Cardinal Randi's papal coins. 

During the pontificate of Saint Pius X (1903-14), the 
collections of the Museo Sacro (in the Vatican Library) were 
augmented, in 1906, by the precious medieval relics found in 
the altar of the Sancta Sanctorum, the chapel of the medieval 
Palazzo Lateranense. In 1909, the large Pinacoteca Vaticana 
was founded in new, more suitable quarters on the ground 
floor of the Corridor of Pius IV, under the gallery of the library. 
The new Pinacoteca contained 277 paintings, of which fifty- 
six were from the old Pinacoteca, nineteen from the Lateran 
Pinacoteca (which was abolished), and 181 from the Biblioteca 
Apostolica — the collection of "primitives." Thus, the three 
groups of paintings in the pontifical palaces finally were united 
in one location. 

The first two volumes of the large catalogue of ancient 
sculpture by Walther Amelung were published then, as well 
as the first three volumes of the catalogue of coins by C. 

During the time of Pope Benedict XV (1914-22), the 
Museo Lateranense and the Museo Gregoriano Egizio under- 
went renovation, and the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco was 
reorganized under Bartolomeo Nogara, the new director gen- 
eral (from 1920). 

The next pope, Pius XI (1922-39), a scholar, had been 
prefect of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The signing 
of a concordat with the Italian state during his pontificate (in 
1929) created the state of Vatican City. For the benefit of vis- 
itors, a new entrance to the museums was built on the Viale 
Vaticano, and a modern Pinacoteca, to house the picture 
gallery of Pius X, was constructed, both completed in 1932. 

The latter, by the architect Luca Beltrami, its large rooms 
well designed with overhead illumination, was further en- 
riched by the so-called Scuola Vecchia tapestries by Raphael, 
some precious fragments of frescoes by Melozzo da Forli from 
the apse of the Santi Apostoli— until then stored in the Sac- 
risty of Saint Peter's — and several gifts, including the Castellano 
Collection, the highlight of which was Guido Reni's Fortuna 
Gavotti. Among the more recent gifts was the important Portrait 
of Clement IX by Carlo Maratta. 

The new building also housed the offices of the director 


general, the library, the photographic archives, and storage 
space for paintings. In 1923, a paintings conservation studio 
was established; in 1926, a workshop for restoring tapestries 
and carpets; and, in 193 3, a laboratory for scientific research. 

A rearrangement of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, begun 
in 1920, was inaugurated on February 19, 1925. Valuable 
material from the necropolis at Vulci was included in the 
collection donated a few years later by Marchese Benedetto 
Guglielmi of Civitavecchia. 

During 1925, a Jubilee year, the "Esposizione Mission- 
aria" took place at the Vatican. When the exhibition closed, 
rather than disperse the precious objects, Pius XI decided to 
create the Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico. It was 
established in the Palazzo Lateranense, in twenty-seven rooms 
and four galleries — to which was added the celebrated Bor- 
gia Collection from Velletri, formerly at the Sacra Congrega- 
zione di Propaganda Fide. 

Following a new division of directorial responsibilities, 
three noted scholars were put in charge of the different 
departments of the Vatican Museum: they were the archae- 
ologist Filippo Magi (Classical art); Enrico Josi, also an 
archaeologist (Early Christian art); and the art historian 
Deoclecio Redig de Campos (who oversaw the paintings in 
the Pinacoteca and the Vatican palaces). 

A Roman, Pius XII (1939-58), became the next pope. 
During World War II, the museums were closed from the 
summer of 1943 until September 30, 1944. Part of the 
museums' space was used to store Italian works of art that 
were transferred to the Vatican from the war zones; part, as a 
supply depot for the needy; and the remainder, as a dormi- 
tory for the Guardia Palatina, who welcomed many Italians 
and foreigners whom the war had endangered. 

After the war, the galleries were restored and reopened. 
In the Cortile delle Corazze, the reliefs from the Flavian pe- 
riod that had been discovered in 1939 under the Palazzo della 
Cancelleria, along with a frieze of the Julio -Claudian period 
from the 'Altar of the Vicomagistri," were put on display. 
After 1870, and the loss of jurisdiction over a vast territory of 
archaeological value, the only acquisitions by the Vatican, 
other than gifts or purchases, had been those excavated with- 
in the area of the tiny state or its extraterritorial dependencies, 
such as the Palazzo della Cancelleria. One of the above- 
mentioned reliefs, which was discovered outside the confines 
of the palace — and, thus, was not under Vatican jurisdiction — 
was exhibited at the Museo Capitolino. A few years later, the 
Italian state donated this relief to the Vatican. 

The 1939 centenary celebration of the Museo Gregoriano 
Egizio was marked by the publication of a special collection 
of essays contributed by specialists from all over the world, 
and by a notable accession — the Grassi Collection of small 
objects of Egyptian and Islamic art. The Pinacoteca partici- 
pated with loans to important exhibitions abroad, and hosted, 
in the Vatican palaces, a memorable Fra Angelico exhibition. 

The twenty-year reign of Pius XII was a very active pe- 
riod for the museums. After the death of Bartolomeo Nogara 
in 1954, Filippo Magi was acting director for the next seven 
years. The reorganization of the ancient sculpture in storage 
provided the opportunity to publish an excellent catalogue 

IN 1839. LITHOGRAPH (FROM L ALBUM, 5, 1838-39) 

by Guido von Kaschnitz-Weinberg, and allowed Hermine 
Speier to identify the Head of a Horse — originally, from one of 
the pediments of the Parthenon — that, until then, had been 
ignored. By means of an exchange with the city of Rome, 
the missing part of the Greek stele of an athlete was reinstated. 
Under the direction of Dr. Magi, the sixteenth-century resto- 
rations of the Laocoon were removed, and many scientific 
catalogues and guidebooks were published. 

Following a study by Luigi Pareti of the material from 
the Regolini-Galassi tomb (in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco), 
it was reorganized, as was the gallery of bronzes and stone 
urns. The collection of Italiote vases was rearranged in collab- 
oration with A. D. Trendall, who also published them in a 
catalogue. The layout of the new space allowed for the reor- 
ganization of the Sala delle Terracotte, the Falcioni Collection, 
and the Roman Antiquarium. 

The tapestry collection acquired seven scenes from the 
series of ten illustrating the life of Urban VIII woven in the 
Barberini tapestry factory in the seventeenth century; the other 
three were recovered later, in Paris and in Brussels. 

Meanwhile, the museum prepared to welcome the masses 
of people that, yearly, flocked to Rome in greater numbers. 
During the 1950 Jubilee year, the Vatican Museums were 
visited by more than one million people, sometimes as many 
as 12,000 a day. 

Next to the Pinacoteca, a department of contemporary 
art was created in 1957 to house valuable works that the 
pope received as gifts from Italian and non-Italian artists se- 
lected according to a definite plan. 

A highlight of the pontificate of John XXIII (1958-63) 
was the decision to use the Palazzo Lateranense that, in medie- 
val times, had been the papal residence once again for that 
purpose, as well as for some of the offices of the Vicariate of 
Rome. The three museums in the Lateran — the Gregoriano 
Profano, Pio Cristiano, and Missionario-Etnologico — were 
to be reunited in the Vatican. The Lateran museums were, 
therefore, closed to the public in February 1963, and the col- 
lections carefully put in storage; in the meantime, work start- 


ed on the new wing in the Vatican. It was completed under 
the next pontiff, Paul VI (1963-78) . His reign signaled a peri- 
od of exceptional activity for the museums and a new open- 
ness on the part of the Vatican toward contemporary art . The 
three directors general then were Count Paolo dalla Torre di 
Sanguinetto, followed by the acting director Professor Roncalli 
diMontorio (Director of Etruscan and Italic Antiquities) and 
by Dr. Redig de Campos, noted scholar of Renaissance art. 

Reorganization of the Pinacoteca began in 1963, start- 
ing with the "primitive" paintings and those of Fra Angelico. 
The curator is Dr. Fabrizio Mancinelli, responsible for medie- 
val and modern art in the Vatican Museums. 

A new regulation, adopted in 1971, divided the Vatican 
Museums into eight departments: Early Christian, Byzantine, 
Medieval and Modern, Etruscan-Italic, Classical, Oriental, 
Epigraphical, and Ethnological, with a director at the head 
of each one. In keeping with tradition, a director general 
appointed by the pope presides over the entire complex. Under 
his jurisdiction are the scientific research laboratory, the con- 
servation studio, and the auxiliary services: the library, pho- 
tographic archives, and the catalogue office. 

In the conservation studio, perhaps the most demand- 
ing assignments of late have been the work on Michelangelo's 
Pieta, damaged by a vandal on May 21, 1972; Pietro CavaHini's 
Crucifix (at San Paolo fuori le Mura in Rome) ; and Raphael's 

The ever-increasing number of visitors, between 1972 
and 1975, necessitated the installation of a closed-circuit tele- 
vision system. Visitors' services were reorganized and 
expanded, and selected itineraries were devised that took into 
consideration the diversified interests of the public. The new 
organization was studied in detail by Dr. Walter Persegati, 
Secretary and Treasurer of the Vatican Museums since 1971, 
drawing upon the most advanced examples in the field. 

A section of the Vatican gardens, adjacent to the 
Pinacoteca, was chosen as the site of the new wing to house 
the former Lateran museums. The architectural firm of 
Vincenzo, Fausto, and Lucio Passarelli designed the new mod- 
ern building. The architects' main concerns were that it fit in, 
harmoniously, among the old Vatican palaces, and that the 
works of art on display be presented in a well-lit and well- 
thought-out format. The arrangement of the interior is daring, 
and includes an avant-garde system of modular iron sup- 
ports on which the sculptures rest. The completed building 
measures about 70,000 square meters. 

The Museo Pio Cristiano was reorganized by Professor 
Enrico Josi, with the collaboration of Father Umberto M. 
Fasola, from 1966 to 1970. It occupies the mezzanine of the 
new building, on the balcony overlooking the Museo Gregori- 
ano Profano, and contains sculpture, mosaics, and architec- 
tural fragments, as well as a rich epigraphical collection. 

The Museo Gregoriano Profano, which occupies ground- 
floor space, was organized by Dr. Georg Daltrop, Director of 
Classical Antiquities, and was inaugurated in 1970 (fig. 11). 
On exhibition are 640 works, mostly from the Lateran, with 
several important additions that include the Flavian reliefs 
from the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the Chiaramonti Niobid, 
and the Aurae of Pakstrina. Also exhibited are Roman copies 

of Greek originals and Roman sculpture from the Late Re- 
publican to the Late Imperial periods. Within these broad 
subdivisions, arrangement is by type, subject, and provenance. 
Two large galleries were set aside for the display of the floor 
Mosaics of the Athletes. Other rooms were reserved for the 
Laterano-Profano Lapidario, whose organization is a model 
of its kind: The inscriptions, mounted on sliding, see-through 
panels, were selected by Dr. Ivan Di Stefano Manzella. 

The Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, housed in 
a partly subterranean space, with Father Jozef Penkowski 
as curator, was opened in 1973. It consists of a main gal- 
lery of about three thousand objects (about five percent of 
the collection) — which is geared toward the general public, 
and demonstrates the religious expression of twenty-five 
non-European countries and cultures — and a second gallery 
for scholars. 

The Museo Gregoriano Etrusco received the Mario Asta- 
rita Collection of Greek, Etruscan, and Italic vases, terracottas, 
and bronzes, now displayed in a special room that was opened 
in 1971. The collection also includes numerous fragments, 
making possible useful exchanges with museums in Berlin 
(Charlottenburg) and New York (the Metropolitan Museum). 
The first three rooms of the Museo Gregoriano Egizio (di- 
rected by Monsignor Gianfranco Nolli) also were rearranged. 

In 1973, a new institution, the Museo Storico, was set 
up in a large room below the Vatican gardens. There are 
carriages and motor vehicles from the pontifical stables, arms 
from the Renaissance, and paraphernalia from the dissolved 
Army Corps (the Guardia Nobile, Guardia Palatina, and the 
Gendarmi). The Collection of Modern Religious Art, also 
formed under the pontificate of Paul VI, was inaugurated on 
June 23, 1973. Offering a panorama of contemporary art, 
"in relation to its capacity to express a religious feeling" (in 
the words of Mario Ferrazza, curator of the Vatican's collec- 
tion of contemporary art), the earlier collection was 
augmented, significantly, by gifts from individuals, and as a 
result of a special national committee organized after an ap- 
peal to artists by the pope— in the Sistine Chapel, on May 7, 
1964 — for a rapprochement between the Church and the 
contemporary art world. The new collection was installed in 
areas in the Borgia Tower and Apartment, in the adjacent 
rooms, as well as in a series of spaces under the Sistine Chapel. 
In all, some fifty-five rooms provide well- articulated and im- 
pressive exhibition space. 

The 542 works on exhibition (about half of the collection) 
include paintings, sculpture, and graphic art, organized by 
Monsignor Pasquale Macchi with the assistance of Professor 
Dandolo Bellini, Dr. Mario Ferrazza, and Patrizia Pignatti. 
After its founding, the museum sponsored numerous exhibi- 
tions and seminars, some in collaboration with the associa- 
tion known as Friends of American Art in Religion. 

In 1977, the Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie 
Pontificie was first published; it provides an annual summing- 
up of new accessions, restorations, studies, and changes in 
installations in the museums. 

Under the current pope, John Paul II, elected after the 
brief reign of John Paul I (1978) , the newly arranged first three 
rooms of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco opened in 1979, with 


the reinstalled Regolini-Galassi tomb. In 1981, the base of the 
Column of Antoninus Pius, previously in the Cortile della 
Pigna, was restored and set up in the Cortile delle Corazze, 
and the Museo Lapidario (formerly in the Palazzo Latera- 
nense) was reinstalled in the Museo Gregoriano Profano. 

In 1979, the Department of Medieval and Modern Art 
organized a traveling exhibition based upon the restoration of 
Raphael's Transfiguration that included photographic enlarge- 
ments of the work in progress, made possible for the first 
time through new techniques developed by the Polaroid 
Corporation. The same year, a special exhibition by the Depart- 
ment of Classical Antiquities focused on Athena and Many as. 
In 1980, the Department of Nineteenth-Century and Contem- 
porary Art presented two exhibitions: one, of recent acces- 
sions of modern religious art; the other (organized in the 
United States by the Friends of American Art in Religion), enti- 
tled "A Mirror of Creation," consisted of American landscapes. 

The Braccio di Carlo Magno, built by Gian Lorenzo Ber- 
nini to the left of Saint Peter's Square, is used for temporary 
exhibitions assembled by the Vatican. In 1981, to celebrate 
the three-hundredth anniversary of the death of the sculptor, 

an extremely successful exhibition was held there, in collabo- 
ration with the Biblioteca Apostolica and the Reverenda 
Fabbrica of Saint Peter's. 

There are also small rotating exhibitions on various sub- 
jects of current interest — such as newly restored works — in 
specially equipped rooms near the Pinacoteca. 

The cleaning of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine 
Chapel was begun in 1980 by the conservation studio, with 
extraordinary results; the task will take about twelve years to 
complete. Another recent project of enormous complexity has 
been the restoration of those paintings and sculptures included 
in the current Vatican exhibition in the United States — among 
them, the Apollo Belvedere. Through loans from the Vatican 
Museums, the Holy See, in recent years, has supported exhi- 
bitions of high cultural value throughout the world. In this 
context is the Vatican exhibition in America — one without 
precedent — which underscores the noble efforts of the popes, 
over the course of five centuries, in rescuing works of art 
from neglect and in spreading art and culture by sharing the 
collections of the Vatican Museums. 

Carlo Pietrangeli 




Saint Peter, to whom Christ gave the keys to his king- 
dom, was crucified in the Circus of Nero on the 
west bank of the Tiber River near the populous 
quarter of Rome, now called Trastevere, where most 
Jews and other Near Easterners lived. He was in- 
terred in a simple burial immediately to the north 
of the circus. Physical remains of the circus have been discov- 
ered by archaeologists south of the present-day basilica of 
Saint Peter's, abutting its eighteenth-century Sacristy. During 
World War II, excavations beneath the basilica revealed an 
extensive and handsome necropolis of mausoleums of the 
second and third centuries a.d., belonging mostly to the pros- 
perous middle-class families of freedmen. An inscription on 
one of these mausoleums specifically refers to its being next 
to the circus. In the middle of this necropolis, an open area 
was found that contained a simple shrine on which were 
inscriptions indicating that, from about a.d. 270, the site had 
been venerated by the Christian community of Rome as the 
burial place of Saint Peter. 

In the early fourth century, when the Emperor Constan- 
tine began to patronize the Christian Church, a great basilica 
was erected over this site. The necropolis was partially demol- 
ished in order to provide level ground for the church, and 
what was left of it was filled in to support the foundations 
and pavement of the new building. It appears that the con- 
struction of the basilica occurred roughly between 320 and 
330. The excavations of forty years ago revealed extensive 
traces of the foundations of this building and something of 
its rising walls, which, coupled with old drawings and ac- 
counts of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, per- 
mit a fairly accurate description of the basilica's appearance. 

Old Saint Peter's was an extremely large building, mea- 
suring about 208 x 355 feet (63 x 108 meters). It comprised 
a nave and two aisles on each side, abutting, at the altar end, 
a lateral transept, which, although narrow, extended side- 
ways well beyond this main vessel (fig. 12). On the center 

line of the nave and transept, a vaulted, semicircular apse 
opened out, at the midpoint of whose chord rose a monu- 
mental trophy structure placed directly above the site vener- 
ated as that of Peter's burial. This structure was surmounted 
by a baldacchino, supported by four twisted and carved col- 
umns of Greek marble, which, along with two others, were 
donated by the emperor. These elaborate columns served as 
the inspiration for the great twisted columns designed by Gian 
Lorenzo Bernini to enframe the pontifical altar of the Renais- 
sance church; incorporated into the piers supporting the dome 
of the present basilica, they survive to this day. When the 
Constantinian basilica was completed, it achieved its major 
impression through its size — the approximately 1 1 0-foot-high 
wooden roof over the nave was equal to that of the much 
later Gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris — rather than 
through the elaborateness of its decoration. Envisaged at the 
time of the basilica's construction, but erected only over a 
longer period, was a forecourt, or atrium, which was as wide 
and as long as the nave. Completed in the early sixth cen- 
tury, the atrium was a large, open, paved area surrounded 
on all four sides by columnar porticoes, preceded by a monu- 
mental gatehouse and focused on an imposing central foun- 
tain. Some of the fountain's decorative classical elements 
survive today in the niche of the Cortile della Pigna of the 
Vatican palaces. 

The Vatican Basilica, as it was originally called, remained 
essentially unaltered for about twelve hundred years. During 
this period, however, it received innumerable artistic embel- 
lishments in the form of rich liturgical furnishings, mosaics, 
frescoes, statues, and decoratively carved tombs. As a result, 
the basilica became the embodiment of important religious 
sentiment, and a monument of historical documentation, as 
well as a remarkable assemblage of Early Christian, medieval, 
and Early Renaissance art. 

Alfred Frazer 






The Italian word fabbrica, derived from the Latin 
fabrica, signifies the working place of a faber, or 
artificer — an artisan who is a specialist yet not 
necessarily an artist. In the Middle Ages, a broad 
distinction arose between the homo faber, an 
artisan of initiative and personality, and the 
homo mechanicus, an ordinary manual craftsman. The work- 
shop of the homo faber was considerably more important. 
Gradually, a new sense of the word fabbrica developed in 
Italy, in the context of the building of sacred edifices, espe- 
cially the great cathedral churches and sanctuaries (fig. 14) . 

In Tuscany, cathedral construction was coordinated within 
the Opera del Duomo, or cathedral works, in the Central 
European sense. Elsewhere in Italy, the terms fabbrica or, in 
the case of Venice, procuratoria , prevailed. 

Old Saint Peter's, built by the Emperor Constantine be- 
tween a.d. 320 and 330 — following a tradition that has been 
confirmed by modern archaeological research — by the time 
of the Early Renaissance was filled to overflowing with a 
collection of medieval altars and tombs that spanned a 
millennium. By the fifteenth century, an obvious need exist- 
ed for a general restoration of the basilica. To that end, Pope 


Nicholas V (1447-55) consulted the eminent architect and 
theorist Leon Battista Alberti, and, with great courage, decided 
to build a new basilica to replace the old one. He ordered work 
to begin according to plans by Alberti's follower Bernardo 
Rossellino, but such difficulties as the Fall of Constantinople 
(1453) and the pope's death did not permit the building to 
progress very far during the fifteenth century. 

Pope Julius II (1503-13) inaugurated Saint Peter's as 
we know it today. It was built after the designs of Donato 
Bramante, with successive additions by Antonio da Sangallo 
the Younger and, of course, Michelangelo. A series of mea- 
sures undertaken by Julius II favored the formation of the 
body that would later be known as the Reverenda Fabbrica 
di San Pietro (in Latin and in Italian commonly abbreviated 

The basilica works set a lively example, proving its effi- 
ciency as its dramatic achievements were continually un- 
veiled to the Roman people and to foreign visitors. Such an 
event as the completion of Michelangelo's cupola (finished 
after his death by Giacomo della Porta and Domenico 
Fontana) had far-reaching consequences; the solutions to tech- 
nical problems that permitted raising the greatest dome in 
Christendom were closely studied by theorists as well as by 
architects. The actual building crafts as practiced at Saint Peter's 
also were emulated elsewhere. Thus, in a seventeenth-century 
contract for the facade of the Roman church of Sant' Andrea 
della Valle, it was stipulated that the travertine was to be 
worked with the same degree of perfection as on Bernini's 
grand colonnade, which almost rings the piazza of Saint 
Peter's. The basilica organization continued to develop and 
flourish in the eighteenth century, overseeing the construc- 
tion of Carlo Marchionni's monumental Sacristy (of 1776-84) 
at the southern arm of the transept of Saint Peter's, and, to 
be sure, the Vatican Museums, themselves. 

Pope Clement VII (1523-34) had created a college of 
sixty members, entrusted with the task of administering the 
basilica's construction. Once the cupola had been completed, 
Clement VIII (1592-1605) substituted for the college a con- 
gregation of cardinals headed by the archpriest of the basilica 
as prefect. Benedict XTV ( 1 740-58) strengthened its role with 
the constitution "Quanta curarum" (of 1751). The congre- 
gation's powers, diminished by Pius IX in 1863, were rein- 
forced by Saint Pius X's (1903-14) apostolic constitution of 
1908, "Sapienti Consilio," and, again, by Paul VI's apostolic 
constitution of 1 967, "Regimini Ecclesiae Universae." Its stat- 
utes provide for the R.F.S.P. to have a cardinal-president, 
assisted by a prelate, with the title of delegate, who holds the 
same office on the administrative committee. Whereas, in 
times past, the Fabbrica had been in charge of building, today 
it is more concerned with maintenance; it tends to avoid am- 
bitious restoration projects. However, important works have 
been completed in recent decades, such as the strengthening 
of the windows in the drum of the cupola and the excava- 
tion of the Vatican necropolis (fig. 13), both projects realized 
in the reign of Pius XII (1939-58). 

The Fabbrica gives constant service to the basilica and its 
dependencies, under both routine and special circumstances, 
through its corps of workers known as the "Sampietrini." 


Today, there are about sixty, each gifted in one of the build- 
ing arts: among them are carpenters, masons, carvers, painters, 
cabinetmakers, electricians, and plumbers. 

The sole organization within the Fabbrica of Saint Peter's 
that can perform work other than that ordered by the basil- 
ica or the Holy See is the Studio del Mosaico, whose opera- 
tions are, perhaps, the most fascinating to the popular 
imagination. It was gradually realized, in the course of the 
sixteenth century, that mosaic decoration on the vast walls 
of the basilica was more luminous and durable than paint- 
ing in fresco. Many Mannerist and Baroque painters pro- 
duced designs for the mosaicists working in Saint Peter's, 
including Girolamo Muziano; Cesare Nebbia; Giovanni de' 
Vecchi; Girolamo Sicciolante, called Sermoneta; Cavalier 
d'Arpino; Francesco Vanni; Cristofano Roncalli, called Pom- 
arancio; Pietro da Cortona; Andrea Sacchi; Giovanni Lan- 
franco; Giovanni Francesco Romanelli; and Carlo Maratta. 
The Studio del Mosaico was formally instituted by Benedict 
XIII in 1727. Today, the basilica's mosaicists achieve more 
accurate and more brilliant effects than ever before, through 
the use of bits of opaque enamel instead of the traditional 
stone or glass. The studio has at its disposal no fewer than 
32,000 shades of enamel — capable of giving chromatic ef- 
fects as subtle as those of any Impressionist painting — from 
which its artisans can choose. 

Giuseppe Zander 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Fumagalli, "Lo Studio del Mosaico Vaticano," in L'Osservatore 
della Domenica, 46, 15 (3288), April 9, 1978. 





Rome: front, c.a.d.3 70; relief slabs, c.a.d. 400 
Marble, front: height, 29 Vie" (74.5 cm), width, 
87" (221 cm); relief with The Confession of 
Peter: height, 30 'Vis" (78.3 cm), width, 
41 W (106 cm); relief with The Miracle of the 
Spring and The Miracle of Healing: height, 
30 Vie" (76.3 cm), width, 43 Vs" (109.5 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

Until 1981, these three reliefs were considered 
part of a single sarcophagus. The presumed ends 
originally had nothing to do with the front, but, 
because they were appropriate in theme, they 
were joined together about 1590. No traces of 
chisel marks are visible on the backs of the two 
smaller carvings. Since, in antiquity, the front 
and ends always constituted a homogeneous 
box, it is improbable that these two smaller pieces 
belonged to the same sarcophagus. Where the 
end pieces meet the front, the edges of all three 
panels have been beveled to a forty- five degree 
angle so that right angles are formed. This man- 
ner of attaching the reliefs to create a sarcopha- 
gus was not usual in ancient sculpture. 

The front slab was broken into four pieces and 
reassembled. One break begins behind the sec- 
ond column in the upper left and extends to the 
ankles of the seated Christ, in the center; the 
background is broken vertically just to Christ's 
right; a further break runs obliquely from the 
feet of Christ through the figure of Peter and 
ends at the top, near the second column from 
the right. Along these breaks are many repairs, 
some major. Further, the heads of Pilate and of 

the apostle in the second niche from the left 
have been restored, as have both of Christ's arms, 
the right arm of Paul, the right hand of Pilate 
and the basin below it, as well as tips of noses, 
the front portion of the head of the lamb, Isaac's 
right leg, and Abraham's left hand. Abraham's 
sacrificial knife has been broken off. 

The relief on the front is divided into seven 
sections by eight columns, with a faceted archi- 
trave in the form of a portico. The richly orna- 
mented columns have decorated bases, shafts 
encircled with grape vines or acanthus vines (the 
two middle ones have winged genii, as well), 
and Composite capitals. The architrave has bead- 
ed moldings in the central and right-hand niches, 
and there is a leaf cyma at the bottom. In the 
three central niches, the giving of the nova lex 
—the New Law — or the "traditio legis," is rep- 
resented. A youthful Christ, seated in the center, 
appears to be above the heavens. Christ gives 
the open scroll in his left hand to Peter, who 
receives it in his own draped hands. Christ's right 
hand is raised as though he were speaking (both 
arms undoubtedly are correctly restored). His 
feet are resting on a veil that Caelus spreads 
above himself. Christ turns to look at Paul, who 
approaches from the right. In the niche on the 
far left is the Sacrifice of Isaac (who kneels on 
an altar) by Abraham (who holds a knife aloft 
in his right hand), an allusion to the paradigm 
of salvation by death. As a counterpart, on the 
far right, the Roman Pilate is seated on a podium, 
and a servant standing behind him is pouring 
water over his hand from a jug. In front of Pilate, 
separated by a column, stands Christ, turned 
toward his judge. In the context of fourth- 
century thought on salvation, Pilate evokes that 
"felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit 
habere redemptorem" (from the Exsultet of the 
Easter liturgy). 

The axial symmetry of the composition is ap- 
parent in the identical ornamentation of oppo- 
site pairs of columns. Narrower and wider niches 

alternate at the sides. In the central and end 
niches, Christ, Abraham, and Pilate face front, 
while, in the subsidiary niches, Peter and Paul 
appear in profile. The figures in the foreground 
seem almost three-dimensional, compared to the 
accessory figures crowded in behind them. A 
wealth of linear folds in the drapery makes for a 
certain elegance of form. A classicizing accent is 
unmistakable in the style, anticipating the Theo- 
dosian period — as in the reliefs on the base of 
the Obelisk of Theodosius in Istanbul (of 390). 

Legitimized by having received the Law, Peter 
occupies a central position in both of the small- 
er reliefs. In The Confession of Peter — on the left 
end — a narrow framing border was cut away 
on the right side in order to connect the panel 
to the front of the sarcophagus. Two rectangu- 
lar holes near the top — made to hold the clamps 
that secured the lid when the pieces were re- 
used as a sarcophagus — have been repaired. The 
right forearm of Peter has been restored; Christ's 
restored right hand has again broken off. Peter 
is shown receiving Christ's exhortation to build 
the Church on the rock depicted, despite the 
fact that it was Peter who disclaimed him — to 
which the cock on the column refers. (The cap- 
stone of the round building should be noted, 
especially, as it bears the monogram of Christ. ) 

The upper border and the top of the cupola 
of the right-hand structure in the relief on the 
right end, showing The Miracle of the Spring 
and The Miracle of Healing, have been cut away 
(as confirmed by the measurements) . The head 
of Christ has been repaired, as have the right 
hand of the bleeding woman, the top of the olive 
tree, and the two rectangular clamp holes near 
the top. The head of Peter appears to have been 
considerably reworked, to judge from the back- 
ground surface. In this panel, Peter, as the lead- 
er chosen by God, causes the living water to 
spring from a stone. 

All three reliefs were discovered beneath Saint 
Peter's. In the drawings by C. Menestrier, there 

is the notation "sub Sixto V" below the view 
of the front (192 r.), and the date 1591 below 
the relief of The Confession of Peter (193 r.), 
although Sixtus V died on August 27, 1590. 
Yet, Menestrier believed that the reliefs belonged 
together. Antonio Bosio (1575-1629) saw the 
sarcophagus at the entrance to the convent of 
the Theatine monks at Sant' Andrea della Valle; 
Paolo Aringhi (1600-1676) remembered it 
in the Villa Pamphili (now the Villa Doria- 
Pamphili); and it was seen in the courtyard of 
Sant'Agnese in the Piazza Navona by Giovanni 
Gaetano Bottari (1689-1775). Since the found- 
ing of the Museo Pio Cristiano, in 1854, the 
sarcophagus had been displayed in the Palazzo 
Lateranense as number 174. At the suggestion 
of Monsignor Ludwig Kaas (1881-1952), it was 
returned to the grottoes below Saint Peter's, on 
October 8, 1949. 

The combination of the images as a parable 
of salvation, conceived around the figure of Peter 
and the spot where he was interred, suggests 
that this was a sarcophagus for a pope. Possibly, 
it held the body of Sixtus V for the brief time 
that it lay in the chapel of Saint Andrew in Saint 
Peter's, before being removed in 1591 to Santa 
Maria Maggiore— or, perhaps, it was used for 
one of Sixtus's three short-reigned successors . 

The Menestrier drawings are in the Biblioteca 
Apostolica Vaticana, lat. 10545, fols. 192/3. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Bosio, Romasotterranea, Rome, 1632, 
pp. 85-87; P. Aringhi, Roma subterranea novissima, I, Rome, 
1651, pp. 316-18; G. G. Bottari, Romasotterranea: Sculture 
e pitture sagre estratte dai cimiteri di Roma, I, Rome, 1737, 
pp. 131-37, pis. 33-34; F. W. Deichmann, G. Bovini, and 
H. Brandenburg, Repertorium der christlich-antiken Sar- 
kophage, I, Rom und Ostia, Wiesbaden, 1967, pp. 274-77, 
no. 677, pi. 106 (with extensive bibliography); J. Enge- 
mann, Gnomon, 41, 1969, p. 490; K. Wessel, "Der sieben- 
nischige Saulensarkophag in den Grotten von St. Peter," 
in Pantheon, 27, 1969, pp. 120-28 (claiming this as a 
new, early- 17th-century work based on a 4th-century orig- 
inal); H. Brandenburg, in Romische Mitteilungen, 86, 1979, 
pp. 464-65, pi. 149, 1. 

2 A 



Rome, 705-6 

A. Pope John VII (705-7) 

Height, 33 ll /, s " (85.5cm); width, 25Vs" 
(64.5 cm) 

B. The Bath of the Christ Child 
Height, 23 Va " (60 cm); width, 21 V 4 " 
(54 cm) 

Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

Pope John VII, of Greek ancestry, had a funer- 
ary oratory built in the north aisle of Old Saint 
Peter's, against the inner wall of the eastern 
facade, and, on March 21, 706, he dedicated 
the oratory to Holy Mary, the Mother of God 
(Dedicatio Domus Huius S[an]c[t]ae D[e]i Genitricis 
d[i]e XXI M[ensis] Mart[i] Indjictionis] 111). The 
pope was buried in front of the altar of the ora- 
tory in 707. During the Renaissance, the chapel 
was referred to as Santa Maria ad Praesepio be- 
cause it contained a relic of Christ's crib. When 
the chapel was destroyed in the early seventeenth 
century, sketches were made of about one-half 
of its surviving mosaic decoration, some of which 
was saved, including these two fragments. Both 
come from the large mosaic that was placed over 
the half-ciborium, above the altar, on the east 

2 B 

wall. There was an over-life -size central image, 
perhaps Eastern in type, of the Virgin as Queen 
of Heaven, raising her arms in prayer, to whom 
John (on the left) — his square halo signifying 
that he is living — offered a conventionally de- 
picted model of his oratory. Rectangular panels 
with scenes from the Infancy, Ministry, Passion, 
and Resurrection of Christ framed this iconic 
representation on three sides. The fragment of 
The Bath of the Christ Child, from the lower- 
right section of the Nativity, was directly over 
the panel of the Virgin. 

Above the altar was a mosaic of the Virgin 
and the Christ Child, flanked by Saints Peter and 
Paul, and on the oratory's north wall were scenes 
from the lives of the princes of the apostles. The 
mosaics on the south wall were destroyed before 
the seventeenth century, but the Liber Pontificate 
speaks of images of the reverend fathers — per- 
haps, as Josef Wilpert suggests, busts of apostles 
or early theologians, as in the frescoes, executed 
during the reign of Pope John VII, at Santa 
Maria Antiqua, the Greek church in the Roman 

The mosaic fragment of Pope John has been 
extensively restored; only the upper part of the 
head retains original marble and glass tesserae 
in tones of white and beige, modeled in purples, 
russet, and dark sienna. In better condition is the 
fragment with The Bath of the Christ Child. 
Set in a landscape, a turbaned nursemaid, per- 
haps Salome, washes the Child, who stands in 
a golden basin— resting on a tall pedestal— into 

which a second servant, formerly on the left, 
had poured water. Richly colored white, yellow, 
pink, purple, green, red, blue, and gold marble 
and glass cubes of different sizes are set deeply 
and widely apart, into the white mortar bed, in 
a technique that E J. Nordhagen suggests came 
from Byzantium. 

Precious materials were used throughout the 
oratory. The lower walls were reveted in marble, 
and supporting the ciborium were twisted col- 
umns carved with vine scrolls imitating those 
over the tomb of Saint Peter. The mosaic decora- 
tion reflects John's devotion to the Mother of 
God, and the chapel's funerary purpose. As the 
Queen of Heaven, the Virgin, surrounded by 
scenes of Christ's Incarnation and childhood, 
intercedes for the donor. The large number of 
panels illustrating the Ministry of Christ — and, 
especially, that of Saint Peter, the first bishop of 
Rome — as well as the images of the reverend 
fathers, may have been chosen as exemplars for 
John's papacy. Finally, Christ's death and resur- 
rection were depicted to emphasize that, for man, 
the way to salvation was through Christ. 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E Muntz, "Notes sur les mosaiques 
chretiennes de l'ltalie, IV. L'Oratoire de pape Jean VII," in 
Revue Archiologique, 1877, pp. 145-62; P J. Nordhagen, 
"The Mosaics of John VII (705-707 a.d.)," in Acta ad 
Archaeologiam, 2, 1965, pp. 121-66; J. Wilpert and W M. 
Schumacher, Die romischen Mosaiken der kirchlkhen 
Bauten vom IV-X1II Jahrhundert, Freiburg and Vienna, 
1976, pp. 167-74. 



Limousin workshop active in Rome, shortly before 

Copper, with champleve enamel and gilding 
Christ: height, 16 W (41 cm); apostles: height, 

8 n / 16-10 V*" (22-26 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 

nos. 2430, 2428, 2429, 2431, 2432, 2433 


Each applique relief is made from a single 
sheet of copper worked in repousse, with the 
addition of direct chiseling, engraving, chample- 
ve enamel, and mercury gilding. The enamel- 
ing is dark blue, light blue, turquoise, dark green, 
glaucous green, dark red, and white. The eyes 
are inset pearls of dark blue, presumably of glass. 
Small cabochons also presumably of glass — 
some of which are lost — are additional insets 
that decorated the crown, book, and borders of 
the garment of the largest figure, Christ. The three 
preserved original cabochons are amber and 
garnet-red in color. The orange cabochon in the 
center of Christ's chest is a replacement. The 
borders of the garments of all of the figures are 
variously engraved with lozenge, circle, quatri- 
lobe, vermicule' (rinceau), and crosshatched 
decoration. Each figure has two holes, in the 
chest and between the feet, for attachment to a 
lost background; the rivets also are lost. Both 
the enameled and the gilt surfaces have suffered 
throughout from pitting and abrasion. The backs 
of the three unidentified apostles are each incised 
with a letter (F, G, and a reverse S), which may 
represent guides for assembly within a larger 

Christ is seated, his right hand held out and 
above his shoulder in a gesture of blessing; in 
his left hand is a codex, formerly jeweled, fas- 
tened with two straps. He wears a crown, an 
orphrey, and a mantle draped over his left shoul- 
der and across his lap. The apostles, although 
standing, are each about half the size of Christ. 
They also hold closed and decorated codices in 
their left hands. Peter and one of the unidentified 
apostles holds a codex with a veiled hand. The 
apostles' right hands, unlike Christ's, are posi- 

tioned within the contours of their bodies. Paul, 
tentatively identified by his bald head and long 
beard, uses both hands to grasp his codex. All 
of the figures, including Christ, are barefooted 
and bearded. 

The style, especially apparent in the fall of 
the looping lines of the drapery folds, seems to 
be a codification of a classicistic trend evident 
in a whole series of metalwork objects produced 
by Mosan and Rhenish artists about 1200. A 
prime example is the shrine of Saints Piatas and 
Nicasius inTournai Cathedral, completed in 1205 
by Nicholas of Verdun (Rhein undMaas, 1972, 
K-5). Variations of this style may be seen in 
certain roughly contemporary stone sculptures 
in Emilia and Tuscany, as in Benedetto Ante- 
lami's marble Deposition relief in Parma Cathe- 
dral, dated 1178 (G. de Francovitch, 1952, fig. 
194), and in the marble pulpit reliefs, dating to 
about 1200, formerly in San Pietro Scheraggio 
in Florence (T. P F. Hoving, 1961, pp. 116-26, 
figs. 4-7). This classicistic style, transferred to 
artists from the Limousin working in Italy, is 
exemplified not only by the Vatican reliefs but 
also by the large applique figure of the hermit 
Saint Barontus (height, 21 V 2 " [54.5 cm]) from 
the enameled sarcophagus of the saint in the 
crypt of the church dedicated to him in Pistoia 
(M.-M. Gauthier, 1972, pp. 287-88, fig. 9). This 
figure, now in the Allen Memorial Art Museum 
at Oberlin College, may be a product of the same 
workshop that produced the Vatican reliefs. 

The present reliefs probably come from the 
large enameled and arcaded rectangular closing 
panel that originally covered, yet gave access to, 
the niche of the Confessio of Saint Peter in Saint 
Peter's. This panel was made for Innocent III 
(1 198-1216) on the occasion of the Twelfth Ec- 
umenical Council of Lateran IV, in 1215. In a 

hypothetical reconstruction of the panel proposed 
by Marie-Madeleine Gauthier (1968), Christ in 
Majesty appears in the center beneath a copper- 
gilt arch or lunette (preserved in the Museo del 
Palazzo Venezia in Rome). Twelve relief busts of 
Old Testament prophets, identified by inscrip- 
tions that also announce the coming of Christ, 
appear on the lintel-like, horizontal member of 
this arch. Twelve busts of apostles occupy the 
arch, itself, while a centrally held disk bears 
images, in relief, of the Lamb of God with the 
four Evangelists' symbols. The background of 
all of these relief figures is engraved with a 
vermicule (rinceau) pattern. The reverses of the 
arch and lintel are engraved with a series of seat- 
ed bishops within an arcade. On the reverse of 
the disk is an engraved enthroned bishop, proba- 
bly Innocent III, himself, holding Peter's keys 
— thereby specifically underscoring the apostol- 
ic succession of the bishops of Rome, the direct 
heirs of Peter. 

The full-length reliefs of the apostles shown 
here are the only remnants of the series of twelve, 
which must have been arranged symmetrically, 
in two registers, surrounding Christ (as suggest- 
ed by Gauthier). Paul and Peter probably stood 
next to Christ. The surmounting bronze grille, 
still in its original location, bears in its inscrip- 
tion the name of Innocent III, which, in turn, 
provides a terminus ante quern, because Inno- 
cent died in 1216. 

The applique figures were removed to the Vati- 
can Library during the papacy of Benedict XIV 
(1740-58). They have been exhibited in the 
Museo Sacro since the end of the nineteenth 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Stohlman, Gli Smalti del Museo Sacro 
Vaticano (Catalogo del Museo Sacro delta Biblioteca Apostolica 
Vaticana, II), Vatican City, 1939, pp. 33-34, nos. S22, S20, 
S21, S23, S24, and 1416 (respectively); M.-M. Gauthier, 
"La Cloture emaillee de la confession de Saint Pierre au 
Vatican, lors du Concile de Latran, IV, 1215," in Synthro- 
non, Recueil d' etudes par Andre Grabar et un groupe de ses 
disciples, Paris, 1968, pp. 237-46, figs. 4, 5, 9; L. von 
Matt, G. Daltrop, and A. Prandi, in Art Treasures of the 
Vatican Library, New York, n.d., p. 181, nos. 138-140. 

Comparative works cited: G. de Francovitch, Benedetto 
Antelami, Florence, 1952, pi. 107, fig. 194; M.-M. Gauthier, 
"L'art de l'email champleve en Italie a 1'epoque primitive 
du gothique," in II Gotico a Pistoia, Rome, 1972, pp. 287- 
88, fig. 9; T. PF. Hoving, "A Long-Lost Romanesque An- 
nunciation," in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 
XX, 4, December 1961, pp. 116-26, figs. 4-7; Rhein 
und Maas, Kunst und Kultur 800-1400, Cologne, 1972, 
pp. 323-24, K-5. 



Rome, 12th-early 13th century 

Marble, serpentine, and porphyry, with borders 

of red lacquer, black enamel, white marble, and 

gold glass 

Large panel: height, 34" (86.3 cm), width, 45" 
(114.3 cm), depth, 5" (12.7cm); smallpanel: 
height, 34" (86.3 cm), width, 18 3 A" (47.6 cm), 
depth, 5" (12. 7 cm) 

Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

The panels are heavily restored, and parts of 
the borders are missing. 

Cosmati mosaic work is essentially a medie- 
val art that originated in Rome — where Cosmati 
pavements, cloisters, campanili, church furniture, 
and tombs abound — but spread to other parts 
of Italy and even beyond. It differs from tessel- 
lated mosaics in that the designs are determined 
by the shapes of the semiprecious stones that 
are used: rectangular or circular pieces are sur- 
rounded by small triangular or bullet- shaped 
ones. In tessellated mosaics, the shapes of the 
tesserae have no influence on the design. The 
twelfth- and thirteenth-century families of crafts- 
men who created this marble and mosaic work 
have become famous as the Cosmati, probably 
after Cosma and his four sons — the last family 
to work in the style — although not all scholars 
think that the Cosmati can be differentiated 
from the Laurentians. The latter and the Vas- 

salletti were the most celebrated families of 
Cosmati craftsmen. All were master decorators, 
but many were also builders. 

The two panels consist of large rectangles of 
porphyry and serpentine, each surrounded by a 
narrow border of triangular pieces and set into 
a wide, molded, marble border, which is sur- 
rounded, in turn, by broad borders consisting 
of small pieces of red lacquer, black enamel, 
white marble, and gold glass. The most salient 
features of the borders' designs are eight-petaled 
rosettes and eight-pointed floral motifs. The 
borders of the two panels differ. 

One aspect of the twelfth-century Renaissance 
in Rome clearly is exemplified by these panels: 
the use of such antique materials as serpentine — 
known as "verde antico" — and porphyry, cut 
into pieces and placed in a new context. Be- 
cause of their probable total dimensions and their 
overall design, the panels seem most apt to have 
come from two choir screens; they are similar 
to the choir screen of San Cesareo in Rome. 

The only information concerning the history 
of either panel is an old photograph showing 
the larger panel set into the wall of a seven- 
teenth-century chapel in the Grotte. The panel 
was surmounted by a statue of the Virgin and 
Child in a niche, flanked by marble panels with 
cherubs and by small panels similar in type to 
the large panel. 

K. R. B. 



Rome, 12th-early 13th century 

White marble, blue and black enamel, red 
lacquer, and gold glass 

A-C: overall height, 40V 4 " (103.5 cm), 
height of base slabs, V/s" (2.9 cm), depth, 
4 l / 2 " (11.4 cm); D.: height, 40 'A " (102.9 
cm), height of base slab, 3 " (7. 6 cm), 
depth, 4 W (11.4 cm) 

Reverenda fabbrica di San Pietro 

The marble inlays in the shafts of the colon- 
nettes are heavily restored. The fact that three of 
the colonnettes have twisted shafts and the fourth 
is fluted may indicate that, originally, they were 
not designated for the same monument. How- 
ever, the shafts of all four are similarly decorated 
with tiny triangular pieces of blue and black 
enamel, red lacquer, white marble, and antique 
gold glass. Two of the twisted colonnettes are 
crowned with capitals composed of two pairs 
of eagles with wings displayed, while the capi- 
tal of the third consists of stylized acanthus leaves. 
The capital of the fluted colonnette is similar to, 
but not exactly the same as, the latter. 

These colonnettes, products of the twelfth- 
century Renaissance in Rome, copy and reinter- 
pret Roman and Late Antique forms, while the 
eagles with wings displayed betray a familiarity 
with the contemporary Byzantine art that flour- 
ished south of Rome. 


We know from Giacomo Grimaldi's descrip- 
tion in Instrumenta Antiqua of 1619 that the two 
colonnettes with eagle capitals came from the 
aedicula of the tomb of Urban VI, who died in 
1389. Grimaldi's drawing of the sarcophagus 
(showing its lid, and the bust of Nicholas III) 
on folio 116 r. would seem to support his 
statement, since the front of the sarcophagus is 
decorated with escutcheons bearing eagles with 
wings displayed. The accuracy of Grimaldi's de- 
scription and drawing is confirmed by Tiberio 
Alfarano, who apparently saw the tomb still in 
its original place just prior to 1588. We do not 
know yet how these four colonnettes were used 
before the two were incorporated into the tomb 
of Urban VI, although various proposals have 
been advanced. In 1606, under the direction of 

Pope Paul V, the two colonnettes with eagle 
capitals, together with the two present ones, were 
incorporated into an episcopal throne in the 
Grotte. In the center of the throne was the fa- 
mous marble statue of the seated Saint Peter, 
which, according to Gustave Clausse, had been 
brought from the exterior of the main entrance 
of the basilica. The statue was flanked by two 
angels, considered by some to be late works of 
Arnolfo di Cambio. The three statues between 
these four colonnettes were placed on a high 
platform of Cosmati work, supported by crouch- 
ing lions. Above the colonnettes was a seven- 
teenth-century marble frieze decorated with 
cherubs, surmounted by a Gothic Cosmati-work 
canopy. According to Clausse, the throne was lo- 
cated in the chapel of Santa Maria ad Porticum 

at the southern extremity of the Grotte. Today, 
the colonnettes support a restored mosaic show- 
ing Christ between Saints Peter and Paul, but, 
as late as 1935, the mosaic was described as 
being within a tabernacle. Thus, the Cosmatesque 
canopy of the seventeenth-century throne still 
may have been associated with the colonnettes 
as recently as 1935. 

K. R. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Clausse, Les Marbriers romains et le 
mobilier presbytiral, Paris, 1897, pp. 332-34; A. L. 
Frothingham, The Monuments of Christian Rome, New 
York, 1908, pp. 143, 249-50; G. Cascioli, Guida illustrata 
alle Sacre Grotte Vaticane, Rome, 1925; P. Laurentius 
Dionysius, Sacrarum Cryptarum Vaticanae Basilicae Monu- 
menta, Rome, 1928; G. B. Ladner, Die Papstbildnisse des 
Altertums und des Mittelalters, II, Vatican City, 1970, pp. 


Rome, second half of the 13th century 

A. Saint Peter 

Height, 15 Vs " (39 cm); width, 10 % " (2 7. 6 cm) 

B. Saint Paul 

Height, 15 " (38 cm); width, 10 % " (2 7 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

These vivid, painted fragments come from a 
thirteenth-century fresco cycle illustrating the 
life of Saint Peter that decorated the portico of 
Old Saint Peter's. From sketches by Giacomo 
Grimaldi of the few frescoes that survived from 
this cycle, made shortly before the portico's de- 
struction in the early seventeenth century, it 
seems certain that these fragments came from 
the scene that depicted the episode in which 
the two apostles to the Romans appeared to the 
sleeping Emperor Constantine, who, according 
to legend, was afflicted with leprosy. They in- 
structed him to seek a cure from Pope Silvester I 

The fragments show only the busts of what 
were, originally, half-length figures of the apos- 
tles standing behind the emperor's bed. The scene 
takes place before a partially arcuated portico 
adjoining an apsed structure seen in cross sec- 
tion behind the emperor's head; a small por- 
tion of a yellow pier from this structure is visi- 
ble behind Saint Paul's right shoulder in the 
fresco fragment. The background is a deep 
turquoise. The figures are modeled in shades of 
ocher, olive green, and red, with a deep russet 
outlining their facial features, the characteristics 
of which had been established in Early Chris- 
tian times. White is used to highlight Peter's face 
and for the traditional color of his hair and short 
beard. The artist exhibits a free and sure hand 
in his painting, employing broad strokes to form 
the major folds of the apostles' draperies and a 
finer brush for the heads, which he outlined with 
a stylus. Since the frescoes were to be seen from 
some fifty feet below, the top two-thirds of the 
saints' heads and haloes were raised in relief, to 
give them extra prominence. 

No contemporary documents survive that re- 
cord tne commissioning of these frescoes or the 

6 A 

name of the artist. On the basis of comparisons 
with Roman painting of the second half of the 
thirteenth century, and of references to the cycle 
by Vasari and by later historians of Rome, 
however, Antonio Munoz suggests that the fres- 
coes were painted during the pontificate of Urban 
IV (1261-64). Irene Hueck proposes that the 
artist went to Assisi in the early 1270s to paint a 
series of apostles in the upper church of San 
Francesco, at the gallery level of the north 
transept's east wall. The close stylistic relation- 
ship between the Roman and Assisi frescoes is 
patent, but the latter seem to be the work of a 
different, though allied, artist, whose figures are 
more sophisticated and exhibit a more highly 
developed sense of realistic modeling and a gran- 
deur achieved through the use of an expressive 
line. Hans Belting accepts Hueck's attribution 
of the Roman and Assisi works to the same 
master, but dates the Old Saint Peter's frescoes 
to 1279-80. 

The stylistic influence of the life of Saint Peter 
cycle from the portico of Old Saint Peter's can- 

6 B 

not be assessed properly, due to the small amount 
of surviving contemporary work. The fresco 
program, however, seems to have had a consid- 
erable effect, particularly on the early-fourteenth- 
century frescoes of scenes from the life of Saint 
Peter at San Piero a Grado, near Pisa — as 
R D'Achiardi has shown. 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E D'Achiardi, "Gli affreschi di S. Piero 
a Grado presso Pisa e quelli gia esistenti nel portico della 
basilica Vaticana," in Atti del Congresso Internazionale di 
Scienze Storiche, VII, Rome, 1905, pp. 193-285; A. Munoz, 
"Le pitture del portico della vecchia basilica vaticana e la 
loro datazione," in Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 
XIX, 1913, pp. 175-80; S. Waetzoldt, Die Kopien des 17. 
Jahrhunderts nach Mosaiken und Wandmalerei in Rom, 
Vienna-Munich, 1964, pp. 66-67; I. Hueck, "Der Maler 
der Apostelszenen im Atrium von Alt-St. Peter," in 
Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz, 14, 
1969, pp. 115-44; H. Belting, Die Oberkirche von San 
Francesco in Assisi: Ihre Dekoration als Aufgabe und die 
Genese einer neuen Wandmalerei, Berlin, 1977, pp. 51, 
90-95, reviewed by I. Hueck, in Zeitschrift fur Kunst- 
geschichte, 41, 1978, pp. 326-34 (esp. p. 331). 




GIOTTO (12677-1337), attributed to 

Italy (Tuscany), c. 1310 

Diameter, 23 l Vi 6 " (60. 5 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

In 1610, a mosaic bust of an angel in a medal- 
lion was given to the church of San Pietro Ispano 
in Boville Ernica, near Frosinone. An accom- 
panying inscription noted that it had been part of 
the Naviculae S. Pietri (the nave of Saint Peter's) , 
and was painted by Iottus [sic] for the atrium of 
the old Vatican basilica. A similar bust, discov- 
ered in 1911 underneath an eighteenth-century 
copy, also was assumed to have belonged to the 
mosaic known as the Navicella. This gigantic mo- 
saic was located above the entrance to the atri- 
um of the old Constantinian basilica but is now 
inside the portico of Saint Peter's. 

It is documented that Giotto was invited to 
Rome by Pope Boniface VIII (1295-1303) for 
the celebration of the jubilee that the pope had 
organized in 1300 and that he painted several 
frescoes at San Giovanni in Laterano. The only 
extant fragment of these frescoes shows the pope 
at the moment of the proclamation, very much 
in the style and attitude of Arnolfo di Cambio's 
portrait bust (cat. no. 8). The fact that Giotto 
was in Rome about 1300 led some scholars 
to assume that the design for the Navicella cor- 
responded to that time. Recent research, however, 
has brought to light a 1313 document confirming 
that Giotto had spent time in Rome after that 
date. The style of the Navicella, in spite of its 
present condition (the product of extensive res- 
toration in the seventeenth century), and some 
drawings made shortly before this disfiguration, 
indicate that the painter had acquired a maturi- 
ty that only could be the result of his work at 
the Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padua, completed 
about 1309. Based on this fact, and on the 1313 
document, a date of about 1310 is very probable 
for the Navicella, since, by then, Giotto had 
finished his work in Padua, and he was back in 
Florence in 1311. Boniface VIII had died in 1303, 
and in 1309 the Holy See had been moved to 
Avignon, where it remained until 1377. Conse- 
quently, the large mosaic could not have been a 
papal commission, but, rather, was the idea of 
Cardinal Stefaneschi, who was canon of Saint 
Peter's and its keeper in the absence of the popes. 

On close examination, there are conspicuous 
differences between the Boville Ernica and Vati- 
can angels. The former is very well preserved, 
while the latter has suffered considerable losses 
all over, but mostly on the upper-left part of the 
head and nimbus, and has been heavily restored. 
Though the overall design of both is very close, 
the features of the Boville Ernica angel are more 
delicate, the light softer, and few shadows dis- 
turb the glowing colors. In the Vatican angel we 
can see a much stronger contrast of light and 
shadow that, in part, is the reason for a certain 
hardness of the features. Cesare Gnudi explains 
these differences between the two angels by the 
possible location of both medallions in relation 
to the Navicella. They could have been on its 

frame, together with several others that have 
never been found, or on either end of an inscrip- 
tion beneath. In either case, the Vatican angel 
would have been on the right, only partly 
illuminated, and the Boville Ernica one on the 
left, receiving light from some source to the upper 
right of the main composition. The discrepancies, 
however, are strong enough to suggest that dif- 
ferent hands worked on what is believed to be 
Giotto's design. It is very unlikely that the painter, 
himself, participated in the mosaic, as he was 

not skilled in this type of craftsmanship, and it 
is just as unlikely that, at the peak of his career, 
he would have been interested in experiment- 
ing in a new medium, regardless of how much 
he admired the mosaics that he saw in Rome. 

C. G-M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Salvini, Giotto, Milan, 1952, 1962; 
C. Gnudi, Giotto, Milan, 1959, pp. 175-80, fig. 145c; M. 
Calvesi, Treasures of the Vatican, Switzerland, 1962, pp. 
30-40, colorplate; E. Baccheschi, The Complete Paintings 
of Giotto, New York, 1966, pp. 110, no. 112, ill. 


ARNOLFO DI CAMBIO (c. 1245-c. 1310) 
VIII (1295-1303) 

Italy (Tuscany), c. 1296 

Height, 47 V 4 " (120cm); width, 37 W (95 cm); 

depth, 13 V 4 " (35 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

After the abdication of the ascetic Celestine V 
(1294), Boniface VIII became pope in 1295. He 
implemented his desire to glorify the Church 
and its pontiff by patronizing the best artists 
available. Arnolfo di Cambio, who had been one 
of Nicola Pisano's assistants in Tuscany, but 
who had a mind and a style of his own, was 
in Rome at that time. Among other works, 
Boniface commissioned Arnolfo — both as an ar- 
chitect and as a sculptor — to build a monument 
in honor of Saint Boniface IV, in which he want- 
ed to have his own sepulcher. The work was 
dedicated in 1296, although it might not have 


been finished until 1300,the year of the Jubilee. 

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
Julius II accomplished what other popes before 
him had attempted: the demolition of the 
Constantinian basilica, and its replacement, on 
the site, by the basilica of Saint Peter's as it is 
today. One of the many victims of that destruc- 
tion was the shrine of Saint Boniface IV, of which 
the sepulcher of Boniface VIII, two angels, and 
several architectonic fragments have been pre- 
served. There is no evidence, other than tradition, 
to indicate where the bust of Boniface was placed 
in relation to the shrine. It is not certain whether 
Arnolfo's work was only a monument, with 
the tomb under a baldacchino, or if it was a 
chapel. If the latter were so, the bust could have 
been attached to the chapel wall, and the pope 
would have been represented in life and after 
death, within the same space. Though the 
similarities between both representations are 
obvious, Arnolfo conveyed to the living image 
a portrait-like quality that is particularly notice- 
able in the asymmetry of the features, which 
lack the serenity and sublime expression of those 
of the dead effigy. The bust represents Boniface 
frontally; his right hand is raised in an attitude 
of blessing, while, with his left, he holds Saint 
Peter's symbolic keys. He wears an unusually 
high, double-crowned tiara, and a cope held to- 
gether by a morse under his bare neck. The or- 
namentation on both tiara and cope shows 
Arnolfo's fondness for minute detail, in contrast 
to the sculpture's overall compact and almost 
geometric volume. This latter quality brings to 
mind Giotto's fresco portrait of the pontiff paint- 
ed in 1300, at the time of the jubilee, when the 
painter was quite young and the sculptor was 
over sixty. In spite of the difference in years, it is 
not unlikely that the mature Arnolfo let himself 
be influenced by the innovative talent of the 
junior artist. 

Due to the many vicissitudes that this bust 
has undergone, the right side of the face has 
sustained considerable damage, three of the 
fingers of the right hand have been broken and 
restored, and the finial of the tiara has been lost. 
Recently, the face was restored, the added fingers 
removed, and the overall surface cleaned. In old 
photographs the bust has no background, but 
in more recent ones it is shown in front of a 
partially broken-off slab, which has now been 
completed. Whether this background — or part 
of it — is the original, or a re-creation of it, is not 
clear. One way or the other, this portrait of the 
strong-willed pontiff with his mesmerizing 
expression, as Arnolfo saw it, has managed 
to survive. 

C. G-M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, he Vite, 1568, Club del Libra 
ed., Milan, 1962, p. 231; G. Poggi, "Arnolfo di Cambio e il 
sacello di Bonifacio rv," in Rivista d'Arte, III, 1905, pp. 
187-98; G. Lander, "Die Statue Bonifaz VIII in der 
Lateransbasilika und die Entstehung der dreifach gekronten 
Tiara," in Romische Quartalschrift fur christliche Alter- 
tumskunde und fur christliche Kirchengeschichte, I, II, 
1934, pp. 35-68; H. Keller, "Der Bildhauer Arnolfo di 
Cambio und seine Werkstatt," in Jahrbuch der preus- 
sischen Kunstsammlungen, LV, 1934, pt. 2, pp. 25-28, fig. 
22; G. Fiocco, "Giotto e Arnolfo," in Rivista d'Arte, XIX, 
1937, nos. 3, 4, pp. 221-39; J. B. deToth, Grutas Vaticanas, 
Vatican City, 1960, no. 35, ill.; The Vatican and Christian 
Rome, Vatican City, 1975, p. 12, colorplate; A. M. Romanini, 
Arnolfo di Cambio, Florence, 1980, pp. 84-101, figs. XI-XV, 
pis. 76-104. 



England, c. 1280-1300 

Red silk twill, embroidered with gold and silver- 
gilt threads and colored silks 
Height, 54 " (137.2 cm); width, 122 " (309. 9 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2447 

Richly embroidered in silk and metal threads, 
this pluvial cope — a processional and ceremoni- 
al ecclesiastical vestment— is one of the finest 
late-thirteenth-century examples of opus anglica- 
num, the renowned medieval embroidery pro- 
duced in England primarily in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. The ground is heavy red 
silk (samite), and the design is executed in un- 

derside couching, split-stitch, and laid-and- 
couched work. The figures, wearing mantles of 
gold and robes of blue or green and yellow, are 
enclosed in eight-pointed stars and even-arm 
crosses that alternate along the diagonal. In the 
center of the back, in ascending order, are the 
Virgin and Child, the Crucifixion, and the Coro- 
nation of the Virgin, surrounded by seraphim 
standing on wheels, the apostles with Saint Paul, 
Saints Margaret and Catherine of Alexandria— 
the often-paired virgin martyrs — and Saint 
Stephen the protomartyr and Saint Lawrence — 
two of the original seven deacons of the 
Roman Church. 

The design has been trimmed along the semi- 
circular edge. The orphrey, an embroidered strip, 
would have run in opposing directions from the 
center of the back, following the straight edge, 
in order to be correctly oriented on either side 
of the front opening, which would have been 
fastened by a morse. The place of the original 


triangular hood, at the center of the back, can 
still be discerned where the silk is less faded. 

Unlike many examples of opus anglicanum, 
the Vatican cope does not depict specifically 
English saints. R. W. Lee, however, has discussed 
the particularly English character of the repre- 
sentations, as seen in details — notably of Saint 
Margaret, who stabs the dragon with the ban- 
nered cross, in accordance with a thirteenth- 
century English legend, and in the single figure 
of Saint Philip holding three loaves of bread, as 
on an English cope that bears his name in 
embroidery in the cathedral of Toledo. Unusual, 
and unique in opus anglicanum, is the depiction 
of Saint Peter holding the papal tiara in addi- 
tion to the keys. 

In iconography, style, and technique, the Vati- 
can cope compares with other surviving English 
embroideries. Several copes combine similar 
scenes — especially the English type of the 
Coronation, with Christ personifying the three 

figures of the Trinity and seated, with the Virgin, 
on a single throne. The Syon cope in the Vic- 
toria and Albert Museum is the closest to the 
Vatican cope, combining framed figures of the 
apostles and of seraphim with central compart- 
ments containing the Crucifixion and the Coro- 
nation of the Virgin. The figure style and the 
use of color have been compared to English 
manuscript illumination of the late thirteenth 
century, and the star-and-cross motif is found 
in the Westminster Abbey retable of about the 
same date. 

The Vatican cope, which had been preserved 
in a convent in Rome, was given to the Museo 
Sacro by Pius X (1903-14) in 1910. It is among 
the earliest in a long line of Gothic luxury em- 
broideries commissioned in England for use 
throughout Europe. Notable examples survive 
in churches as well as in major museums, in- 
cluding The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A 
number of copes in Italy, such as those in San 

Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, and in Pienza, 
are the heritage of the papacy. By 1295, the Vati- 
can inventory recorded more than one hundred 
examples of opus anglicanum, reflecting papal 
commissions, and gifts to Rome from English 
ecclesiastics, royalty, and nobility. In the 1320s 
and 1330s, both the Archbishop of Canterbury 
and the Bishop of Ely sent copes to the pope. 
The copes received by Nicholas IV (1291) and 
Boniface VIII (about 1295) from Edward I are 
closer in date to the present example. Although 
the earlier history of the Vatican cope cannot be 
established, its quality and style are in keeping 
with this kind of prized gift. 

C G-M., B. D. B. 
BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. W Lee, "An English Gothic Embroi- 
dery in the Vatican," in Memorie della Pontificia Accademia 
Romana di Archeologia, ser. Ill, III, 1932, pp. 1—34; 
A. G. L. Christie, English Medieval Embroidery, Oxford, 
1938; Opus Anglicanum: Medieval English Embroidery (exh. 
cat.), London, Victoria and Albert Museum, September 
26-November 24, 1963. 



Probably by PAOLO ROMANO (c. 1415-1470) 

and his workshop 

A. The Emperor Nero and Three Roman Officials 

B. Two Roman Soldiers 

C. Three Roman Soldiers 

D. Saint Peter in Chains between Two Guards 

E. Three Roman Soldiers 

F. Three Roman Soldiers 

G. Saint Paul in Chains between Two Guards 

H. Three Roman Officials 
Rome, c. 1460-64 

Height, each, 52 Vs " (133 cm); width, each, 14 % e " 
(37 cm), including marble base preserved only 
in reliefs E, F 

Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

The first of the reliefs (A) shows the Emperor 
Nero, faithfully portrayed after his Roman effigies, 
seated on a sella curulis, holding a scepter and 
presiding over the trials of the two apostles, who 
were martyred during the persecutions of the 
Christians in a.d. 64-67. Both events, divided 
among seven scenes, take place under the cof- 
fered ceiling of a tribunal. The architectural 
backgrounds, showing perspective views of 
arches and vaults, are preserved only in reliefs 
C, D, E, and F, but they presumably continued 
in the other four segments. The present sequence 
of the reliefs — based upon the conclusions of a 
recent, unpublished study by the architect Pier 
Luigi Silvan — takes into account the correct 
alignment of the architectural perspectives, and, 
much more importantly, the structure of the re- 
liefs themselves, each of which, as Silvan was 
the first to observe, is cut at a forty-five-degree 
angle on one or the other side — a detail that 
clearly shows that they originally were meant 
to be paired cornerwise. 
Although the reliefs, traditionally, are known 

to have come from the so-called ciborium of 
Sixtus IV (1471-84) on the high altar of Saint 
Peter's, no satisfactory suggestion as to their 
placement within the architectural design of the 
ciborium can be found, either in the generalized 
sketch in Grimaldi's codex (R. Niggl, ed., 1972, 
p. 199, fig. 85), or in the studies of Hugo von 
Tschudi (1887), Fritz Burger (1907), or Adolfo 
Venturi (1908), who assumed that the vertical 
panels were intended to be seen as a horizontal 
unified relief. Once it was understood that they 
must have decorated the four corners of an 
architectural structure, Silvan was able to recon- 
cile their measurements with those of the perime- 
ter of the ciborium itself, as revealed by the 
1940-51 excavations of the Confessio of Peter. 
Moreover, the height of the carvings is the same 
as that of the four large reliefs with scenes from 
the lives and martyrdoms of Saints Peter and 
Paul (still walled in, in the ambulatory, beneath 
the Confessio), which decorated the four faces 
of the ciborium of Sixtus IV The ciborium was 
supported by four porphyry columns, and, in its 


F G H 

overall design, must have been inspired by the 
monumental ciborium of Cardinal d'Estouteville 
erected in 1461-63 in Santa Maria Maggiore. 
The corner reliefs of the Trials of Peter and Paul 
must have occupied a place similar to that of 
the triple Corinthian pilasters that flanked the 
main narrative scenes by Mino da Fiesole on the 
entablature of the latter ciborium (C. Seymour, 
1966, p. 159, fig. 21). 

The style of the Trials is generally quite typi- 
cal of the conservative, classicizing manner so 
often found in Roman works of the third quar- 
ter of the fifteenth century. Yet, when one com- 
pares the four large "stories" of the time of Sixtus 
IV, with their skillful recombination of elements 
borrowed from the Column of Trajan and other 
imperial sculptures, and their somewhat grand- 
er and more fluid style, one has the distinct 
impression that the archaizing vigor and wiry di- 
rectness of the Trials belong to an earlier master. 
The crowding of the figures beneath a coffered 
ceiling recalls the Donatellesque organization of 
one of the reliefs on the Aragonese Arch in Na- 

ples (G. L. Hersey, 1973, fig. 37), and the angu- 
lar and curiously expressive faces, the muscular 
and veined arms, and the bony hands of the 
figures are characteristic of the sculptures exe- 
cuted by Paolo Romano and his workshop dur- 
ing the pontificate of Pius II (1458-64). Espe- 
cially striking are comparisons with the two 
colossal statues of Saints Peter and Paul carved 
in 1461-62 by Romano and his assistants for 
the steps in front of Saint Peter's (A. Venturi, 
1908, figs. 756-757). These observations sup- 
port a suggestion first advanced by Giuseppe 
Cascioli (1925, p. 26), and recently confirmed 
by Silvan, that the reliefs of the Trials were exe- 
cuted some fifteen years before the large "stories" 
commissioned by Sixtus IV. If carved under Pius 
II, the panels of the Trials would have deco- 
rated the corners of a fairly simple marble cibo- 
rium, the shape of which we know from a medal 
of 1470 (G. E Hill, 1930, no. 764). It was this 
earlier ciborium that, under Sixtus IV, was 
modified and enriched by the addition of the 
four large narrative reliefs. 

The eight carvings were set into the wall of 
the Cappella delle Partorienti, in the Grotte, about 
1616. In 1949, they were moved to Room VI, 
and in 1977 they were reinstalled in Room IV of 
the Grotte. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. L. Dionysius, Sacrarum Vaticanae 
Basilicae Cryptarum Monumenta, Rome, 1828, pp. 50-51, 
no. 2, Tab. XXIII; H. vonTschudi, "Das Konfessionstaber- 
nakel Sixtus IV in St. Peter zu Rom," in Jahrbuch der 
Koniglich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, 8, 1887, pp. 
1 1-24; F. Burger, "Das Konfessionstabernakel Sixtus IV u. 
sein Meister," in Jahrbuch der Koniglich Preussischen 
Kunstsammlungen, 28, 1907, pp. 95-111, 150-67; A. 
Venturi, La Scultura del Quattrocento (Storia dell' Arte italiana, 
6), Milan, 1908, p. 1128; G. Cascioli, Guida illustrata delle 
Sacre Grotte Vaticane, Rome, 1925, p. 26. 

Comparative works cited: G. F. Hill, A Corpus of Italian 
Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, London, 1930; C. 
Seymour, Sculpture in Italy 1400 to 1500, London, 1966; R. 
Niggl, ed., G. Grimaldi, Descrizione della Basilica antica di S. 
Pietro in Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican 
City, 1972; G. L. Hersey, The Aragonese Arch at Naples 
1443-1475, New Haven, 1973. 




(c. 1440-c. 1510) 

Rome, c. 1479 

Height, 5V/ 2 " (130.8 cm); width, 27 7 / 8 " (71 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

This imposing image of the Redeemer enthroned 
in heaven was the central panel of the tomb of 
Cardinal Bernardino Eroli in Old Saint Peter's. 
Flanking the central image were a relief of Saint 
Peter and one of Saint Paul, and, below the effigy 
of the deceased, there were a long inscription 
and two panels with Eroli's coat of arms, as 
shown in two drawings in Giacomo Grimaldi's 
codex (R. Niggl, ed., 1972, p. 161, fig. 61, p. 
338, fig. 206). Initially, the tomb was erected in 
the right transept of the old basilica, but later it 
was moved to the left nave (M. Cerrati, 1914, 
pp. 52, 82). It was disassembled in 1606 during 
the demolition of the nave ordered by Paul V, 
but most of its sculptural decoration was saved 
and the single elements reinstalled in various 

parts of the Grotte below Saint Peter's (F. M. 
Torrigio, 1618, pp. 36, 44, 52, 76). The present 
relief is in fairly good condition, except for the 
broken fingers of Christ's blessing hand, and the 
transverse arm of the cross. 

When Cardinal Eroli died in 1479, Giovanni 
Dalmata had just completed his most famous 
work: the great funerary monument of Paul II 
in Saint Peter's, the execution of which he shared 
with Mino da Fiesole. The solemn vision of the 
Eroli Christ has a direct precedent in the reliefs of 
God the Father and of the Resurrected Christ on 
the tomb of Paul II. Similar in both are the vigor- 
ous geometry of the sharp, angular folds, and the 
introspective, icon-like face of the Redeemer. 

In studying the sources of Dalmata's style, 
Jolan Balogh has stressed the importance of 
Florentine, rather than Roman, influences. His 
Resurrection relief seems to her to betray a 
recollection of details of works by Luca della 
Robbia and, especially by Verrocchio. Yet, none 
of these comparisons accounts for the strikingly 
expressive, almost rugged forms that are so 
characteristic of Dalmata's style. The Relief with 
the Blessing Christ, as well as those of Saints 
Peter and Paul, from the Eroli tomb, are of such 
powerful individuality that one may wonder 
whether the sources of their semiabstract style 
are not to be found, ultimately, in the Byzantine 

icons of the sculptor's native Dalmatia. 0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Prijatelj, Ivan Duknovic, Zagreb, 1957, 
p. 22, figs. 30-33; idem, "Profilo di Giovanni Dalmata," 
in Arte Antica e Moderna, 1, 1959, p. 288; J. Balogh, 
"Ioannes Duknovich de Tragurio," in Aaa Historiae Artium, 
7, 1960-61, pp. 51-78. 

Comparative works cited: F. M. Torrigio, he Sucre Grotte 
Vaticane, Viterbo, 1618; M. Cerrati, Tiberii Alpharani de 
basilicaeVaticanaeantiquissimaetnovastructura, Rome, 1914; 
R. Niggl, ed., G. Grimaldi, Descrizione della Basilica antica di 
S. Pietro in Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vati- 
can City, 1972. 


ANDREA BREGNO (1418-1503) 

Rome, 1491 

Height, 47 1 / 8 " (119. 7cm); width, 31 3 / 4 " (80. 6 cm) 
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift 
of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917, 17.190.1736 a-c 

Standing in a shallow niche flanked by two Co- 
rinthian pilasters decorated with delicately carved 
candelabra, this noble figure of Saint Andrew 
was made for the marble altar erected in 1491 
in the old basilica of Saint Peter's. The altar was 
commissioned by a French prelate, Guillaume 
de Perrier, and stood inside the front wall of the 
basilica, at the left of the door of the Last 
Judgment, as shown on the 1571 plan by Tiberio 
Alfarano (M. Cerrati, 1914, p. 70). A drawing 
made prior to the dismantling of the altar in 
1606 shows its original aspect: three apostles 
stand in niches against the wall — Saint Peter in 
the center, flanked by Saint Paul, on the left, 
and Saint Andrew, on the right (R. Niggl, ed., 
1972, p. 133, fig. 47). In 1612, the two reliefs of 
Saint Peter and Saint Paul were obtained by 
Monsignor Giovanni Battista Simoncelli, a mem- 
ber of Paul V's household, who transported them 
to his native village of Bauco (now Boville 
Ernica), south of Rome, and used them to deco- 
rate the entrance to his own family chapel. 

The classicistic style of the two saints from 
Boville Ernica is so typical of the apostles on 
the marble altars commissioned between 1491 
and 1495 by Perrier for various Roman churches 
that Muhoz could easily establish that these 
figures, originally, were part of the lost Perrier 
altar from Old Saint Peter's. When, in 1912, the 
relief of Saint Andrew surfaced on the Italian 
art market, the evidence was complete. 

All of the Perrier altars have been associated 
by Emst Steinmann (1899, pp. 226-31) with 
Andrea Bregno, on the basis of their stylistic 
affinity with some of his most famous Roman 
works: the tomb of Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa 
(died 1464) in San Pietro in Vincoli, the tomb 
(c. 1465) of Cardinal d'Albret (died 1465) in 
Santa Maria in Aracoeli , and the Borgia altar 
(1473) in Santa Maria del Popolo . In particular, 
this type of apostle — draped in an ample Roman 
toga worn over a pleated tunic and gathered at 
the side by the hand holding a book — so char- 
acteristic of the Perrier altars, can be found on 
several earlier Bregno monuments: in addition 
to the Borgia altar, on the Piccolomini altar in 


the Duomo in Siena and on the marble taberna- 
cle at Santa Maria della Quercia in Viterbo. 

While one may be confident that Bregno was 
responsible for the basic design of all of the Perrier 
altars, the differences in the way that single 
figures are handled suggest that they were carved 
by various sculptors employed in Bregno's busy 
studio. As remarked on by Munoz (1911, p. 
173), the three apostles from the Perrier altar at 
Saint Peter's are especially close to the figures 
on the tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Savelli 
(1495-98) in Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Here we 
find the same elongated canon and the same 
predilection for narrowly pleated garments and 
sharply denned outlines. The sculptural style, 
indeed, seems to echo the refined and precious 

classicism so often to be found in Roman works 
of the 1490s. 

In the New York Saint Andrew, the sharp and 
exquisite handling of the architectural ornament 
and the sensitive quality of the saint's well-drawn 
features argue strongly in favor of an attribution 
to Bregno himself. A point so far unnoticed is 
that the sculptor's own fine, taut features, as 
recorded in the portrait over his tomb at Santa 
Maria sopra Minerva (H. Egger, 1927, pi. XXVI), 
served as a model for the face of the apostle, 
who was his patron saint. 

The recent history of the relief is not known. 
Presumably, it was in Italy until 1909, when it 
was sold by the dealer Alfredo Barsanti to 
J. Pierpont Morgan. 0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Munoz, "Ancora delle opere d'arte 
di Boville Ernica provenienti da S. Pietro in Vaticano," in 
Bollettino d'Arte, 6, 1912, pp. 239-42; J. Breck, Catalogue 
of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance Sculpture, The Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1913, pp. 70-72, 
no. 73; G. C. Sciolla, "Profilo di Andrea Bregno," in Arte 
Lombarda, 15, 1970, p. 55. 

Comparative works cited: E. Steinmann, 'Andrea Bregno's 
Thatigkeit in Rom," in Jahrbuch der Kbnigliche Preus- 
sischen Kunstsammlungen, 20, 1899, pp. 216-32; A. Munoz, 
"Reliquie artistiche della vecchia basilica Vaticana a Boville 
Ernica," in Bollettino d'Arte, 5,1911, pp. 161-82; M. Cerrati, 
Tiberii Alpharani de basilicae Vaticanae antiquissima et nova 
structura, Rome, 1914; H. Egger, "Beitrage zur Andrea 
Bregno — Forschung," in Festschrift Schlosser, Vienna, 
1927, pp. 122-28; R. Niggl, ed., G. Grimaldi, Descrizione 
della Basilica antica di S. Pietro in Vaticano, Biblioteca 
Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City, 1972. 




Many of the works of art now in the Vatican 
Museums testify to the enlightened and 
magnificent care taken by the popes in build- 
ing and decorating their Vatican residence. 
The Apostolic palaces (fig. 15) are situated 
to the right, north of Saint Peter's, and com- 
prise three distinct groups of buildings: to the west is the 
oldest nucleus of medieval palaces, with their Renaissance 
facade overlooking the open courtyard of San Damaso, 
toward Saint Peter's Square; to the north is the matching wing 
built by Gregory XIII (1572-85); to the east is the imposing, 
almost square, mass of the early-seventeenth-century Palace 
of Sixtus V (1585-90), which, to this day, serves as the resi- 
dence of the pope. 

For almost a thousand years, until the twelfth century, 
the popes resided near the basilica of San Giovanni in 
Laterano, the cathedral church of Rome. To be sure, in the 
ninth century, Leo IV (847-5 5 ) enclosed the Vatican hill with- 
in powerful walls, and, in the twelfth century, Eugene III 
(1145-53) and Innocent m (1198-12 16) built a fortified dwell- 
ing to house the pope and the Curia close to Saint Peter's. 
Yet, it was Nicholas III (1277-80) who initiated the construc- 
tion of a larger apostolic palace. It was to have four wings, 
surrounding a central courtyard, containing the papal 
apartments, three meeting halls, a palace chapel and a pri- 
vate chapel, and four defensive towers. Only the south and 
west wings of this palatial complex were built under Nicho- 
las III, but the walls of some of the papal rooms were already 
embellished with frescoed friezes — as shown by the beauti- 
ful thirteenth- and fourteenth-century mural fragments dis- 
covered only recently (see cat. no. 13A-C). Construction of 
this medieval palace came to a halt during the Avignon papa- 
cy (1309-77) and the Great Schism (1378-1417), but with 
the election of the first great Renaissance pope, Nicholas V 
(1447-55), the Apostolic Palace entered a new and most 

splendid period. Nicholas V added a north wing, overlook- 
ing the Belvedere courtyard, that extends up along the Vati- 
can hill. The austere facade blends with the earlier medieval 
building, but inside, on all three floors, the distribution of 
vaulted, regularly proportioned rooms, with their Early Ren- 
aissance mullioned windows, proclaims the new style. In 
1447, Fra Angelico was called upon to fresco the pope's pri- 
vate chapel, the chapel of Saint Nicholas; the palace chapel; 
and the walls of a small studiolo. While the latter two were 
destroyed in the sixteenth century, the gem- like clarity of 
Angelico's cycles of Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen still 
can be admired in the small chapel on the second floor of 
the palace. 

Nicholas V's passion for books and for buildings was 
revived by one of his successors, Sixtus IV (1471-84), to 
whom we owe the formal creation, in 1475, of the Vatican 
Library, and the construction, between the palace and Saint 
Peter's, of the new Palatine Chapel — later known as the Sistine 
Chapel. The chapel was built between 1475 and 1480, and, 
by 1483, its walls were frescoed with the portraits of the first 
thirty- one popes (between the windows) and with the series 
of scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ by Pietro Perugino, 
Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Bernardino 
Pinturicchio, Cosimo Rosselli, and Luca Signorelli. Their bril- 
liant colors, enhanced by touches of gold, must have given 
the new chapel the gaiety and splendor of a page from an 
illuminated manuscript. 

As the Apostolic Palace was nearly complete, Innocent 
VIII (1484-92) turned his attention toward the large stretch 
of green that extended up the Vatican hill to the "mons sancti 
Aegidii," where, in 1487, he had a pavilion erected, with an 
open loggia and crenellated walls, later to be known as the 
Palazzetto del Belvedere. It was one of the first pleasure vil- 
las to be built in Rome since antiquity. Above the entrance to 
the small papal apartment was a wreath with the pope's coat 


of arms carried by two angels, in glazed terracotta (see cat. 
no. 14). In the last years of the fifteenth century, Alexander 
VI (1492-1503) added the Borgia Tower to the east of the 
Apostolic Palace. He engaged Pinturicchio to decorate the 
five rooms of his apartment on the ground floor with paint- 
ings of the most festive and tapestry-like narrative cycles of 
the time (fig. 17). The election of Julius II (1503-13) ushered 
in an era in which the intimate character of the fifteenth- 
century papal residence was transformed by the sublime works 
of Raphael and Michelangelo and by the grandiose architec- 
tural plans of Donate Bramante. To Bramante we owe the Bel- 
vedere courtyard, designed to link the Apostolic Palace to 
the villa of Innocent VIII, and the three loggias of the new 
east facade of the palace, itself. It was Raphael who frescoed 
the new apartment of Julius II, on the floor above the Borgia 
rooms: the Stanza della Segnatura (fig. 16), which was the 

pope's private library; the Stanza d'Eliodoro; and the Stanza 
dell'Incendio. Michelangelo, of course, was responsible for 
the monumental ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (fig. 18), with 
its episodes from the Old Testament, prophets, and Sibyls. By 
the time of Julius II's death, in 1513, Raphael had finished 
frescoing the Segnatura, a collective apotheosis of the eternal 
truths, and the Stanza d'Eliodoro, representing the divine 
protection of the Church. Under Leo X (1513-21), he contin- 
ued to work in the Stanza dell'Incendio, and completed 
Bramante's loggias on the east side of the palace. Acting as 
architect and painter, with many students and followers, 
Raphael oversaw the mural decoration of the Logge with 
scenes from the Old and New Testaments and with intricate 
grotesques and stucchi inspired by those of the Domus Aurea 
of Nero. Shortly after 1514, he also prepared the cartoons for 
the so-called Scuola Vecchia series of ten tapestries with 



episodes from the lives of the Apostles Peter and Paul, commis- 
sioned by Leo X to decorate the Sistine Chapel — an admira- 
ble cycle, which embodies all of the majesty and poetry of 
Raphael's genius, as we see in one of the most beautiful of 
his compositions, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (cat. no. 

Two years after the death of Leo X, Clement VII 
(1523-34) became pope and he looked to Michelangelo to 
paint the powerful fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar 
wall of the Sistine Chapel. The gigantic mural was complet- 
ed by 1541, under Paul III (1534-49). This pontiffs reign 
marked still another phase in the decoration of the papal 
palace, to which was added Antonio da Sangallo's magnificent 
Sala Regia (of 1538-72), with its stuccoes by Perino del Vaga 
and Daniele da Volterra and its murals by Vasari and other 
Mannerist painters, and the Pauline Chapel, with Michel- 
angelo's poignant frescoes of The Conversion of Saul and The 
Martyrdom of Saint Peter (of 1542-50). The completion of 
these great projects lasted well into the 1570s, transforming 
the old Apostolic Palace into the most magnificent of all Ren- 
aissance palaces, a magnet and source of inspiration for gen- 
erations of artists throughout Europe. 

Olga Raggio 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Redig de Campos, / Palazzi Vaticani, Bologna, 1967. 




Last quarter of the 13th century 

These three fragments were part of the frieze of 
a small room on the second floor of the papal 
palace in the Vatican, in the wing built by Nich- 
olas III (1277-80). The room, used by Nicholas 
V (1447-55) as a cubicle, adjoins the Sala della 
Falda and the Sala delle Paramenti (Hall of 
Vestments). The fragments occupied the space 
between the original ceiling and the one exist- 
ing at the time of Nicholas V They were discov- 
ered in 1948, detached from the wall in 1968, 
and, between 1972 and 1975, transferred onto 
Masonite and then restored. The fragments con- 
tain elements belonging to two very different 
decorative systems. The oldest consists of a band 
ornamented with a series of circles in each of 
which is a griffin, alternating with floral designs; 
in the register below, the swirls of floral motifs 
form intersecting circles. At a later period, the 

decoration was modified by superimposing on 
the part with the swirls — while maintaining, as 
the primary element, the band with the griffins — 
another frieze with swirls of acanthus leaves in- 
terspersed with the coat of arms of Boniface IX 
( 1389- 1404) . The oldest frieze is contemporary 
with the construction and original decoration 
of the little room — during the pontificate of Nich- 
olas III, or slightly later — as confirmed by the 
style of the ornament. 

The mention of a certain "Jacobus pictor," 
who was paid, in 1286 and 1288, "pro picturis 
. . . pluris" executed in the Vatican Palace, is 
documented, but there are no clear indications 
that he worked in this room or elsewhere — such 
as in the Sala dei Chiaroscuri (known, at one 
time, as the Sala del Pappagallo), or in the Sala 
degli Svizzeri, where, even today, above the 
ceiling, fragments of thirteenth-century decora- 
tions are to be found. 

F. M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Redig de Campos, "Relazione II," in 
Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, 
XXXIII-XXXIV, 1945-48, pp. 391-92; Monumenti Musei 
e Gallerie Pontificie. Catalogo della Pinacoteca Vaticana, I, 
W E Volbach, I dipinti dal X secolo fino a Giotto, Vatican 
City, 1979, pp. 27-31. 


Last quarter of the 13th century 

Fresco, transferred to Masonite 

Height, 33 %" (86 cm); width, 90 W (153 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 2325/3 

The fresco, restored between 1972 and 1975, 
occupied the west wall. All that remains of the 
fragment is part of the thirteenth-century deco- 
ration. In the lower section of the fragment there is 
no trace of the frieze from the time of Boniface IX. 


Last quarter of the 13th century 

Fresco, transferred to Masonite 

Height, 43 Vie" (110 cm); width, 47 'W (119.5 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 2325/18 

Restored between 1972 and 1975, and situated, 
originally, on the east wall, this fragment shows 
most clearly all the elements of the thirteenth- 
century decorative scheme — the band with the 
griffins, above, and the swirls of floral motifs, 
below. Nothing remains in the lower part of the 
fragment from the frieze dating from the time of 
Boniface IX. 



Last quarter of the 13th century, and the 

pontificate of Boniface IX (1389-1404) 
Fresco, transferred to Masonite 
Height, 43 "A 6 " (111 cm); width, 58 W (148 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 2325/17 

This fresco, restored between 1972 and 1975, 
also decorated the east wall. It contains elements 
of two separate designs: above, the thirteenth- 
century frieze with griffins; below, with a later 
border clearly superimposed on an older fresco, 
the frieze from the time of Boniface IX, includ- 
ing the pope's coat of arms, and, on the side, 
traces of the swirling acanthus-leaf decoration. 

13 A 



BENEDETTO BUGLIONI (c. 1461-1521) 

Florence, 1484-92 
Glazed terracotta 

Diameter of wreath, 47 W (121 cm); height: left 

angel, 3 7 3 A " (96 cm), right angel, 35 Vz " (90 cm) 
Musei Vaticani, Inv. no. 4087 

A wreath surrounds the coat of arms of the 
Genoese Giovanni Battista Cibo (later Pope In- 
nocent VIII; 1484-92): a shield gules, with a 
bend cheeky argent and azure and a chief silver, 
with the cross of the Republic of Genoa, gules. 
Above it are the papal tiara and the crossed keys, 
one gold and the other silver. The shield shows 
signs of having been hit with a sharp metal point 
in an attempt to deface the checkered bend, while 
the continuous fruit-and-flower wreath, cast in 
six pieces, has numerous plaster repairs. The two 
angels are well preserved, except for losses on 
the hands and feet. Because of the unfinished 
edges of their forearms, the angels recently have 
been placed closer to the wreath than in their 
former installation in the Borgia Apartment, thus 
conveying the impression of supporting the 
wreath from below rather than from the sides, 
as before. 

The earliest mention of this armorial occurs 
in Agostino Taja's description of the Cortile del 
Belvedere, written about 1712 (Descrizione del 
Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, Rome, 1750, p. 399): 
It was over the doorway leading into the apart- 
ment of Innocent VIII, on the northern side of 
the courtyard, as shown also in an anonymous 
Italian drawing of about 1720-27 in the British 
Library in London (see C. Pietrangeli, Introduc- 
tion, cat. p. 16, fig. 3). In 1771, when this 
doorway became the entrance to the Clementine 
museum, the armorial was replaced by the arms 
of Clement XIV (1769-74), as we see in Anton 
Raphael Mengs's allegorical fresco on the ceiling 
of the Gabinetto dei Papiri (see G. Daltrop, cat. 
p. 117, fig. 30). About 1844, the armorial was 
moved to the new Museo Gregoriano Profano in 
the Palazzo Lateranense. In 1897, it was returned 
to the Vatican to be shown in the Borgia Apart- 
ment, which had just been restored and installed 
as a museum of decorative arts. It remained there 
until about 1964, when the Collection of Mod- 
em Religious Art was moved into the Borgia 

Both the armorial and the angels must have 
been executed shortly after 1487, the date of 
the completion of the Belvedere villa. Although 
the bright enameled colors of the stemma seem 
to be close to those used by Andrea della Robbia's 
workshop, the modeling of the angels — who are 
of different proportions — bears no resemblance 
to the clarity of outline, the rhythm of the drapery 
patterns, or to the facial types of the della Robbia 
repertory. The armorial was ascribed by Allan 
Marquand to Benedetto Buglioni, after compari- 
son with documented works by Buglioni, of 
1487-88 — three wreaths with the monogram 
of Jesus, and the figures of Saint Peter and Saint 
Benedict — in the vault of the refectory of San 

Pietro dei Cassinensi in Perugia. We can confirm 
this attribution by comparing the two Belvedere 
angels with Buglioni's altarpiece of the Resurrec- 
tion, documented to 1490, in the Museo Civico 
in Pistoia (A. Marquand, 1921, p. 27, fig. 21), 
where the figure of Christ displays the same 
strongly Verrocchiesque features as the right- 
hand angel of the Belvedere armorial. Other 
elements, such as the somewhat elaborate treat- 
ment of the clinging draperies and the type of 
the left angel, also recall details of Verrocchio's 
tomb of Cardinal Niccolo Forteguerri (of 1483) 
in Pistoia Cathedral, a work that, undoubtedly, 
must have made a lasting impression upon 

The armorial's vivid polychromy was well in 
keeping with the fresco decorations of the apart- 
ment of Innocent VIII, to which the airy land- 

scapes, grotesques, and putti in the main rooms, 
and Mantegna's miniature-like wall paintings 
in the small papal chapel, must have lent a 
cheerful, informal character. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Marquand, Benedetto and Santi 
Buglioni, Princeton, 1921, p. 3, fig. 1; C. Pietrangeli, "II 
Museo Clementino Vaticano," in Rendiconti della Pontificia 
Accademia di Archeologia, 27, 1951-52, p. 94; D. Redig de 
Campos, / Palazzi Vaticani, Bologna, 1967, p. 76; E. 
Micheletti, "Benedetto Buglioni," in Dizionario biografico 
degli italiani, XV (1972), pp. 26-27. 




Flanders, first quarter of the 16th century 
Tapestry, in wool and silk, with silver and 

silver-gilt threads 
Height, 54 ¥ 4 " (139 cm); width, 68 Vs " (1 73 cm) 
Palazzo Vaticano, Appartamento Pontificio, Inv. 

no. 3833 

The weft is of two-ply wool, three-ply silk, and 
silver and silver-gilt thread; the warp is of two- 
ply wool, with eight to ten threads per centimeter. 
The tapestry was restored in 1868 — when those 
portions in silk that had been lost or damaged 
were re woven in wool — and again in 1955, 
preserving the old restorations. 

The tapestry was given to Pius IX by the Chap- 
ter of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, which had 
had it restored by Eraclito Gentili (cf. E Gentili, 
1874, p. 47). It was displayed in the Palazzo del 
Quirinale, at the 1870 "Esposizione Romana" 
(cf. L Esposizione Romana, 1870, p. 58), and then 
was hung in the Galleria degli Arazzi in the Vati- 
can (cf. D. Farabulini, 1884, n. p. 97). Transferred 
to the Borgia Apartment in 1898, the tapestry 
was first in the Sala dei Santi (cf. S. Le Grelle, 
1925, p. 75) and then in the Sala dei Pontifici— 
where it remained until 1962, and from which 
it was taken to the papal apartment. It was ex- 
hibited in Antwerp in 1954. 

The scene is framed by a continuous frieze of 
floral and vegetal elements in which grape vines 
predominate. The subject of the tapestry is based 
upon the grape — symbolic of the Passion and 
of the Eucharist. In the center are the Virgin 
and Child, before whom a woman kneels, hold- 
ing a chalice in her right hand. The woman clear- 
ly is wearing modern clothing, and her facial 
features are so personalized that this image is 
probably a portrait. Jesus offers her a bunch of 
grapes from the chalice. The significance of this 
scene is suggested by the inscription on the scroll 
in the upper left: bibite • vinvm • q[vo]d • miscvi 
• vobis • prove 9 (Proverbs 9:5), which is a 
reference to Wisdom, who invites men to dine. 
The woman is, therefore, in all likelihood an 
allegory of the Church, for whom Christ, by of- 
fering the bunch of grapes, "pours" the Eucha- 
ristic wine. The identities of the two lateral figures 
are clarified by the scrolls that accompany them. 
The figure on the left, like the woman, wears 

modem clothing, and the distinctiveness of his 
features seems to indicate that this, too, is a 
portrait. The inscription on his scroll, porrexit • 


sangvene • we • so, is from the Vulgate Ecclesiastes 
50:15, the text of which speaks of Simon, son 
of Onia, High Priest of the Old Law, so that he is 
probably Simon who prefigures Christ, High 
Priest of the New Law. The figure on the right, 
holding a scroll with the words ammrm • /erit • 
potiobibetibvs • illam/vsa • 29, from Isaiah (24:9), 
most likely is Isaiah; the text prefigures the Pas- 
sion, suggesting the Eucharistic interpretation 
of the wine as the blood of Christ. In the back- 
ground, two singing angels are accompanying 
themselves on the harp and on a small viola, as 
two other angels listen and observe the action 
in the foreground. A typically Northern land- 
scape is visible behind them. 

According to Pietro Gentili (1868, p. 6), who 
cites the archive sources, the tapestry was donat- 
ed to the Chapter of Santa Maria Maggiore by 
Julius II. The choice of so rare a subject is not 
surprising when we recall that Julius II's uncle, 
Sixtus IV, had participated in a debate about the 
blood of Christ, initiated in 1462 by Pius II, and 
had published, in 1472, a treatise entitled De 
Sanguine Christi (Of Christ's Blood) (cod. Vat. 
lat. 1051, 1052). Given its theme, the tapestry 
was probably commissioned by Julius II. Its ex- 
tremely high quality indicates, moreover, that it 
was woven in an important Flemish workshop 
early in the sixteenth century — perhaps from a 
cartoon by an artist close to Quentin Metsys. 
Considering its dimensions, it is possible — as 
suggested by X. Barbier de Montault (1879, p. 
185) — that the tapestry was an altarpiece. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: P Gentili, Breve relazione di un arazzo 
fiammingo rappresentante Gesu Bambino in grembo alia Beata 
Vergine con attusione al SS.mo Sacramento della Eucaristia, 
Rome, 1868; L'Esposizione Romana delle opere di ogni arte 
eseguite nel culto cattolico. Giornale illustrate, Rome, 1870, 
no. 7, p. 58; R Gentili, Sulla Manifattura degli Arazzi, Rome, 
1874, p. 47; X. Barbier de Montault, "InventaireDescriptif 
des Tapisseries de Haute-Lisse Conservees a Rome," in 
Memoires de I'Academie des Sciences et Arts d' Arras, II, X, 
1879, pp. 184-85; D. Farabulini, L'arte degli arazzi e la 
nuova Galleria dei Gobelins al Vaticano, Rome, 1884, n. p. 
97; Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, S. Le Grelle, Guida delle Gallerie 
di Pittura, Rome, 1925, p. 75. 






Flanders, first quarter of the 16th century 
Tapestry, in wool and silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 71 %" (182 cm); width, 76" (193 cm) 
Palazzo Vaticano, Appartamento Pontificio, Inv. 
no. 3830 

The weft is of two-ply wool, three-ply silk, and 
silver-gilt thread; the warp is of two-ply wool, 
with eight to nine threads per centimeter. Miss- 
ing are about thirty centimeters of the lower part 
of the tapestry, including the floral border and 
the tondi in the corners, with the symbols of 
the Evangelists Luke and Matthew. According 
to Barbier de Montault (1879, pp. 183-84), who 
gives a fairly precise description, in the second 
half of the nineteenth century the tapestry was 
in Saint Peter's, and it was exhibited for the first 
time at the "Esposizione Romana" of 1870, at 
which point it seems to have been undamaged. 
Subsequently, it was moved to the Sala delle 
Sibille in the Borgia Apartment, where it re- 
mained until 1962, when it was transferred to 
the papal apartments. 

The field is divided into two areas. Above, 
against the background of a hilly Northern land- 
scape with trees and houses, is the Crucifixion. 
Below, framed by arcades supported by Com- 
posite columns, are three scenes. In the center 
is the Annunciation, set in an interior. On the 
left are Saint John the Baptist, with a book and 
a lamb; Saint Augustine, holding his heart in 
his hand; and Saint Jerome, with the lion be- 
side him. On the right are Saint Catherine of 
Alexandria, who treads upon the wheel of her 
martyrdom and grips the sword with which she 
was killed, and Saint Martha, who holds a basin 
of holy water. No longer visible (it was in the 
lost portion of the tapestry) is the dragon that 
was trampled by the saint, but its presence was 
attested by Barbier de Montault. At the foot of 
the cross is the Spanish royal crest, which, along 
with certain resemblances in facial type, suggests 
that the angel of the Annunciation and the 
Virgin are, respectively, Ferdinand and Isabella, 
the "Catholic Kings." The crest clearly indicates 
that the tapestry was a gift from the Spanish 
royal family, although, stylistically, it appears to 
have been made in Flanders early in the six - 
teenth century. Considering its dimensions, it is 
likely that it was designed as an altarpiece. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, "Inventaire 
Descriptif des Tapisseries de Haute-Lisse Conservees a 
Rome," in Memoires de I'Academie des Sciences el Arts d' Arras, 
II, X, 1879, pp. 183-84; Musei e Gallerie Pontificie. S. Le 
Grelle, Guida delle Gallerie di Pittura, Rome, 1925, p. 67. 


c. 1515-21 

The tapestry depicting the Miracle of the Fishes 
and the two borders with the Hours and the Sea- 
sons are part of a series devoted to the Apostles 
Peter and Paul, commissioned from Raphael by 
Leo X, about 1513-14, for the Sistine Chapel (cf. 
J. Shearman, 1972, pp. 1-20). Raphael received 
the first payment for the cartoons on June 16, 
1515, and the final sum on December 20, 1516 
(cf. V. Golzio, 1936, pp. 38, 51). The tapestries 
were woven in Brussels in the workshop of Pieter 
van Aelst; work began before July 1517, since, 
at the end of that month, Antonio De' Beatis 
reported as finished ("fornito") the one entitled 
The Giving of the Keys {idem, p. 370). Curiously, 
De' Beatis spoke of sixteen tapestries, while only 
ten have come down to us. Unless there was an 
error, one wonders whether, initially, a larger 
series was planned to cover completely the walls 
of the area of the chapel set aside for laymen — 
between the railing and the entrance wall. 

According to the Venetian ambassador, Mari- 
no Sanuto, in July 1519 three tapestries were 
delivered; the papal master of ceremonies, Paris 
de Grassis, wrote that, for the papal Mass of 
December 26, 1519, in the Sistine Chapel, there 
were seven hangings, and "qui ut fuit universale 
judicium, sunt res quibus non est aliquid in orbe 
pulcrius, ut unumquodque pretium est valoris 
duorum milium ducatorum auri in auro" ("as 
was universally believed, the tapestries are the 
most beautiful things in the world, and the price 
of each one was two thousand gold ducats") 
(idem, pp. 101, 103).MarcantonioMichiel, who 
saw them the next day, counted among the tap- 
estries The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, The Giv- 
ing of the Keys, Saint Peter Healing a Cripple, The 
Martyrdom of Saint Stephen, The Conversion of Saint 
Paul, The Blinding of Elima, and The Sacrifice of 
Lystra. In the inventory of tapestries drawn up 
at the death of Leo X in December 1521 (cf. J. 
Shearman, 1972, p. 138), The Death of Ananias, 
Saint Paul in Prison, and The Preaching of Saint 
Paul in Athens are included. 

The vicissitudes of the tapestries after their ar- 
rival in Rome were reconstructed, in 1958, by J. 
Shearman and J. White in two long articles, and 
reexamined by Shearman in his 1972 mono- 
graph on Raphael's tapestries and cartoons. In 
1527, during the Sack of Rome, the series was 
stolen and sold by the troops of Charles V. The 
Conversion and The Preaching of Saint Paul 
were accquired by Isabella d'Este, and then stolen 
by pirates, who took them to Tunisia. A marine 
captain, Cazadiavolo, brought them to Venice 
in 1528 and sold them to Zuanantonio Venier. 
Later, the two tapestries ended up in Constan- 
tinople, where they were acquired by Constable 
Anne de Montmorency, who gave them to Ju- 
lius III in 1554. As for the rest of the series, in 
1530 Clement VII received an offer for several 
tapestries then in Lyons — perhaps the same ones 
that, on March 31, 1531, were exhibited in the 
Sistine Chapel along with the so-called Scuola 
Nuova tapestries, which had just been completed. 


We know that, in 1532, four tapestries and a 
fragment were in Naples, and that Clement VII 
was negotiating to acquire them. It was proba- 
bly during the pontificate of Paul III that the 
practice developed of displaying the series on 
great holy days, such as Easter and Corpus 
Christi, at the end of the street leading to Saint 
Peter's : first, on the portico in front of the basilica; 
then, following Bernini's reorganization of the 
piazza in the seventeenth century, in the Brac- 
cio of Constantine. In 1798, the series was once 
again carried off, this time to Genoa and then to 
Paris, and finally, in 1808, it was returned to the 
Vatican. Pius VII decided to put the tapestries on 
permanent display, and had them placed in the 
apartment of Saint Pius V. Gregory XVI trans- 
fened them- to the so-called Galleria degli Arazzi, 
reuniting them with the Scuola Nuova series, 
and, in 1932, Pius XI had them installed in the 
room dedicated to Raphael in the new Pinacoteca. 

The tapestries originally were hung in the 
Sistine Chapel, in the area used by the clergy; 
only The Preaching of Saint Paul was on the 
other side of the railing, in the section reserved 
for laymen. The initial disposition of the individu- 
al tapestries has continued to be debated, and 
the most reliable reconstruction seems to be that 
proposed by Shearman and White (1958, pp. 

The series clearly was based on an iconograph- 
ic program drawn up by a theologian in the cir- 
cle of Leo X, and certainly reflects the thinking 
of the pontiff; events from his life are illustrated 
in the lower borders of the individual tapestries. 
The Peter and Paul cycles document, through 
subtle parallels in the activities of the two 
apostles, the origin of their authority in Christ, 
and, hence, the primacy of the spiritual power 
of the pope, the divine nature of his mission 
and his judgment, and, finally, the duty of the 
Church to actively propagate the Word of Christ. 
In short, the series represents Leo X's response 
to the heretical propositions of several cardinals 
(during the pontificate of Julius II) who had 
questioned the legality and supremacy of papal 
power. Of the cartoons executed by Raphael and 
his workshop, seven remain — all in the Victo- 
ria and Albert Museum in London. In the past, 
they had been attributed to Giovan Francesco 
Penni alone, but, recently, numerous scholars — 
particularly Shearman — have returned them to 
Raphael, if also with the assistance of Giulio 
Romano, Penni, Giovanni da Udine, and the 
young Perino del Vaga. Their elegant monumen- 
tality the frequent theatricality of the composi- 
tional schemes and of the gestures of the figures, 
the predominance of the figures over the land- 
scape, and the type of architecture that is depicted 
make the tapestries a key moment in the artistic 
development of Raphael. In fact, they document 
the adoption by the master from Urbino of an 
artistic vocabulary that characterizes his late work 
and that marks the beginnings of the "tragic" 
style (cf. P De Vecchi, 1981, p. 86) that would 
find in The Transfiguration its most perfect 

The wefts of the tapestry and of the borders 
are of three-ply wool, two-ply silk, and silver- 
gilt thread. The warps are of three-ply wool, with 
seven threads per centimeter. The tapestry and 
borders were restored in 1982, and the older 
restorations were partially preserved. 

PIETER VAN AELST (active c. 1532), after 
a cartoon by RAPHAEL (Urbino 1483- 
Rome 1520) 


c. 1519 

Tapestry, in silk and wool, with silver-gilt threads 
Overall: height, 15 ' 11 Vie" (490 cm), width, 
14'5 5 /s" (441 an); original part: height, 
14 ' 1 "Ae" (431 cm), width, 15 ' 8 Vie" (478cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 3867 

This tapestry, in the group delivered by van 
Aelst to Leo X in 1 5 1 9, was seen by Michiel in 
the Sistine Chapel that December. It was among 
the last of the tapestries returned to the chapel 
after the Sack of Rome, and was one of two 
given to Julius III in 1 554 by Constable Anne 
de Montmorency. According to Shearman, 
Raphael intended it for the right of the altar. 

The subject, from Luke (5:1-11), recounts the 
Miraculous Draught of Fishes, specifically, the 
episode in the vocation of Peter when, amazed 
by the quantity offish that were caught, "he fell 
down at Jesus's knees, saying, Depart from me; 

for I am a sinful man, O Lord And Jesus said 

unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt 
catch men. " According to Shearman, recogniz- 
able in the panorama in the background are the 
mons Vaticanus (the Vatican hill), with the tow- 
ers along the wall of Leo IV, and Saint Peter's 
under construction. The cranes in the foreground, 
symbols of vigilance, are contrasted with the 
seagulls that allude to sin and apostasy. In the 
lower border are two episodes in the life of 
Giuliano de ' Medici (later, Pope Leo X) : on the 
left, his arrival in Rome for the conclave; on the 
right, the election of March 1 1, 1513. The border 
was conceived to resemble a relief and was 
executed in chiaroscuro. In Raphael's design, 
the tapestry had a separately woven frieze on 
the right, which Shearman identifies as the Four 
Elements. The direct attribution of the cartoon 
of The Miraculous Draught of Fishes to Rapha- 
el is unanimous, while to Giovanni da Udine, 
perhaps, belongs the invention of the group 
of cranes in the foreground, as well as other 
animalistic details. The prototype of the two fish- 
ermen who pull in the nets is found in Michel- 
angelo's cartoon for The Battle of Cascina. 
According to Vasari, the lost cartoon for the lower 
border was executed by Penni, as were those for 
the lower borders of all the other tapestries. For 
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Raphael seems 
to have wavered between two compositional 
ideas, both documented in a sheet — variously 
attributed — in the Albertina (R 85) in Vienna. 
On one side of the sheet, the composition is the 
same as that adopted later for the tapestry, while, 
on the reverse, Christ and the apostles are moved 
to the background, and the spectators' attention 
is concentrated on the apparently secondary 
group of people left on the shore after the preach- 
ing of the Redeemer. Raphael originated this ar- 
rangement of relegating the principal event to the 
background, and it remained a favorite compo- 
sitional device, from 1514 to 1520. The painter 
from Urbino, in fact, adopted it in the fresco of 
The Fire in the Borgo ( in the Stanza dell' Incendio ) , 
and in The Transfiguration. Probably, though, it 
was more suited to a single composition than to 
a series, which, perhaps, explains why it was 
not used for The Miraculous Draught of Fishes. 


PIETER VAN AELST (active c. 1532), after a 
cartoon by RAPHAEL (Urbino 1483- 
Rome 1520) 


Tapestry, in silk and wool, with silver-gilt threads 
Overall: height, 15' 11 V\ b " (490cm), width, 

31 '6 " (80 cm); original part: height, 15' 5 W 

(472 cm), width, 25 V, 6 " (64 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 38671 A 

In the reconstruction proposed by Shearman, this 
border was located to the right of The Healing of 
the Cripple. It portrays the sequence of the Four 
Seasons characterized by the fruits produced by 
nature. The two embracing young people at the 
top, below the coat of arms, represent Spring; 
the woman with the sheaf of wheat clearly is 
Summer; while the putti climbing on the grape 
vines symbolize Autumn. The group of the 
shrouded, seated figure and Juno — borne aloft, 
in flight, on a stormy cloud, surrounded by two 
peacocks who serve to identify her, and by two 
putti who are personifications of the Winds — 
signifies Winter. According to Shearman, the al- 
legorical theme that unites the borders (see cat. 
no. 19) is the triumph of Virtue over Chance. The 
Seasons allude, specifically, to the blind mani- 
festations of the forces of nature, and express, 
particularly, the preoccupation of the Medici that 
is explained by their motto, "Le terns revient." 

The cartoon of the tapestry is lost, but the 
quality of the images and the freshness of inven- 
tion point to Raphael, rather than to his work- 
shop, as the author. 

PIETER VAN AELST (active c. 1532), after a 

cartoon by Raphael's workshop 

Tapestry, in silk and wool, with silver-gilt threads 
Overall: height, 16 ' 4 'At " (498 cm), width, 

31 Vs " (81 cm); original part: height, 16 ' 1 "Ae " 

(492 cm), width, 30 "A 6 " (78 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 3878 

This border was restored in 1982, partially pre- 
serving the older repairs. In the case of the figure 
of Night, where the weft was totally lacking, a 
method of conservation was adopted whereby 
the threads of the warp were fastened to a cloth 
support that had been appropriately dyed and 
then sewn onto the verso of the tapestry. 

Shearman's reconstruction places this border 
to the right of The Death of Ananias. Three 
groups of two figures, each pair back to back, 
represent the division of the day into the time 
spans that determine its length — just as the suc- 
cession of the Seasons determines the division of 
the year. Above, Apollo and Diana sit on either 
side of an architectural support, on top of which 
is an hourglass. The base of the support is encir- 
cled by a serpent biting its tail, another symbol 
of time. Just below are the allegorical figures of 
Day and Night, the latter recognizable by her dark 
skin color and by the bat that she holds in her 
left hand. Day and Night sit on a clock, supported 
by a monumental candelabrum, probably — as 
suggested by Arnold Nesselrath— one of those 
in the Galleria dei Candelabri in the Vatican. 
Beside them are two figures with cornucopias, 
symbolic of the abundance produced by Time. 

The cartoon of this border is lost, and no pre- 
paratory drawings are known. The type of imag- 

ery and its level of inventiveness would exclude 
the direct participation of Raphael, who proba- 
bly entrusted the entire work to his studio. The 
hand of the young Perino del Vaga perhaps is 
discernible in the telamon at the bottom. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. White and J. Shearman, "Raphael's 
Tapestries and their Cartoons," in The Art Bulletin, XL, 
1958, pp. 193-221, 299-323; L. Dussler, Raphael, 
London-New York, 1971, pp. 101-8; J. Shearman, 
Raphael's Cartoons and the Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, 
London-New York, 1972; P De Vecchi, Raffaello. La Pittura, 
Florence, 1981, pp. 80-88. 





Francesco Albertini was the first to report on the 
ancient statues in the Vatican in his Opusculum 
de mirabilibus novae et veteris Urbis Romae. This 
manuscript, dedicated to Julius II (1503-13), was 
completed June 3, 1509, and was published in 
1510. Albertini writes of the Apollo Belvedere: "What 
may I say about the very beautiful statue of Apollo, which, if 
I may say so, appears alive, and which your Beatitude trans- 
ferred to the Vatican?" An earlier drawing of the statue (fig. 
19) in the Codex Escurialensis includes a notation giving its 
location "in the garden of San Pietro in Vincoli. " From 1471, 
Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II, had been 
cardinal of the titular church of San Pietro in Vincoli, and, as 
such, the owner of the statue. Nothing certain of its earlier 
whereabouts can be determined. In any case, Andrea del 
Castagno, who died in 1457, seems to have seen it, as demon- 
strated by the figure of David that he painted on a leather 
shield (now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, 
D.C.). The lack of references to the Apollo Belvedere in the 
fifteenth and early sixteenth century may indicate that the 
statue had been known for a long time, and that no one 
remembered either the place or the time of its discovery — 
unlike the Laocoon group, for example, which was discovered 
on January 14, 1506, purchased by Julius II on March 23, 
1506, and, in the same year, placed in the Cortile del Bel- 
vedere. This is the only antique sculpture in the collection 
of Julius II about whose provenance and installation his con- 
temporaries reported in detail. 

Apollo's connection to the Vatican goes back to the Liber 
Pontificalis, a papal history in the form of sequentially or- 
dered biographies of the bishops of Rome, which had been 
begun in the sixth century and was expanded upon gradual- 
ly over the years. There it is written that the Apostle Peter lies 
buried "in the Sanctuary of Apollo, by the place where he 
was crucified on the Vatican" (1, 1 18) . During the pontifi- 

cate of Silvester I ( 3 14-3 5 ) , a basilica dedicated to the Apos- 
tle Peter was erected by the Emperor Constantine "in the 
Sanctuary of Apollo, which contains the coffin with the body 
of Saint Peter (1, 176)." In his poem "Antiquaria Urbis," writ- 
ten during the papacy of Julius II and published in 1513, 
Andreas Fulvius expressly stated that the Vatican hill (fig. 22) 
is sacred to Apollo: "Vaticanus apex, Phoebo sacratus, ubi 
olim auguria hetrusci vates captare solebant" (v. 33). The de- 
scription of the hill as the place "where Etruscan priests used 
to watch for auguries" refers to the "Vaticinia" (or "proph- 
ecies"), from which it is supposed that the "Vaticanus collis" 
took its name. By placing the statue of Apollo in the Belvedere 
Julius II provided visual expression for this tradition at the 
Vatican, and, moreover, by directing Raphael to depict 
Parnassus in the Stanza della Segnatura, he clarified how he 
wished to have the tradition understood. 

In 1508, Julius II commissioned Raphael to paint the 
frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura. Over the north win- 
dow he represented Parnassus (fig. 20), with Apollo in the 
center, surrounded by the nine Muses and various ancient 
and modern poets. Above the fresco, next to the winged 
personification of Poetry, is the motto "numine afflatur" ("suf- 
fused by divine will"). This is a reference to a phrase from 
WirgiV sAeneid (VI, 50), "adflata est numine" ("suffused with 
the breath of the imminent god, Apollo") . In Julius's time, if 
one opened the window below the fresco of Parnassus, one 
looked out upon the Belvedere (fig. 21). Thus, Raphael's fres- 
co of Parnassus refers to an actual presence on the other side 
of the wall, to the ancient statue of Apollo on the Vatican 
hill. The painting is a representation and an interpretation of 
the Belvedere, revealing its significance to Julius II as mons 
Parnassus, replete with the Delphic Apollo. 

When Julius II learned of the discovery of a sculpture in 
the Sette Sale, he immediately dispatched to the site his archi- 
tect Giuliano da Sangallo, who recognized that this was the 


Laocobn spoken of by Pliny in classical literature. 

In explaining the work, the first reports from Rome also 
referred to the second book of Virgil's Aeneid, in which Aeneas, 
as a firsthand witness, relates the fate of the Trojan priest of 
Apollo, Laocoon. For Aeneas, the death of Laocoon repre- 
sented the first prodigium of the downfall of Troy, and he 
understood it as a numen, a decisive act of the gods. Aeneas 
imparts to Laocoon' s death a religious significance for the 
course of Roman history. To Aeneas that history was merely 
a series of fated events, guided by divine intervention, the 
ultimate objective of which was his own mission to Rome, 

the promised land. It is this theological interpretation of Roman 
history and sovereignty that Jacopo Sadoleto evokes in his 
poem celebrating the newly rediscovered Laocoon, in which 
he praises the sculpture as "an image of divine art," a sym- 
bol of the renewal of Rome, following the return of the popes 
from Avignon, and of the reawakening of its ancient glory. 
The rediscovered Laocoon was a welcome sign for Julius II, 
one that symbolized the rebirth of Rome. He acquired the 
sculpture in March, and on April 18,1 506, he laid the corner- 
stone of the new Saint Peter's, the visible embodiment of 
that spirit of renewal: "He will have charged that these very 
images of Laocoon and his children be placed in the Vatican 
for the perpetual remembrance of this accomplishment. " As 
early as June 1, 1506, Cesare Trivulzio reported to his 
brother Pomponio of the installation of the Laocoon in the 
"Villetta di Belvedere, and he has had made for it a space like 
a chapel," referring to the central niche in the south wall of the 
Cortile between the Apollo and the Venus: Apollo, who always 
accompanied Aeneas as an interpreter of the fata and a guide 
to the promised land, and Venus as the matriarch of the Julian 
line. Giuliano della Rovere was said to have called himself 
Pope Julius after Caesar. Thus, Julius II believed that he was 
fulfilling a divine mission to give the world a lasting order 
through spiritual renewal just as Anchises, according to Virgil, 
sent Aeneas on his way from Troy to carry out his mission for 
Rome: "Bring peace to all men. " Julius II not only wished to 
glorify the examples set by his ancestors, the founders of 
Rome's former grandeur, but, especially, he strove to mea- 
sure up to and even to surpass those ancestors. This ambi- 
tion is most apparent in his plans for the new Saint Peter's. 
Bramante, his architect, is supposed to have remarked that 
the pope wished to pile the Pantheon on top of the vaults of 
the Basilica of Maxentius, which, at that time, was consid- 
ered a "temple of peace. " In 1506, then, the pope's idea of a 
renewal materialized with this vast undertaking, even as the 
newly recovered Laocoon reminded the pope of the cost in- 
volved in obtaining objects of historical significance. In an 
epigram affixed to the Laocoon immediately after the discov- 
ery of the sculpture, the priest of Apollo, Laocoon, addressed 
the pope: "If the example of my suffering is not enough for 
you, Let the downfall of the Bentivoglio be a warning." 

The entrance from Bramante's corridor into the Cortile 
was inscribed "procul este, profani" ("Begone, ye unini- 
tiated!"), a quote from Virgil's Aeneid (VI, 258). The Cumaean 
Sibyl who calls out these words to Aeneas as he prepares to 
descend into the underworld— to meet the shade of his father, 
Anchises, who will show him in prophecy a vision of the 
future Rome— is the one into whom Apollo breathed 
"divining spirit. " Thus, the quotation "procul este, profani" 
is the counterpart to, and the justification for, Raphael's motto 
"numine afflatur" — inspired by the mantic spirit of the Del- 
phic god Apollo, lord of Parnassus. 

In his Cortile, Julius II sought to translate into reality 
the landscape of Arcadia that Virgil discovered in the world 






of the imagination. Since Arcadian life took place far from 
the hurly-burly of mankind, ordinary mortals were denied 
access to it. Nonetheless, when, on April 18, 1510, the ambas- 
sador of the Venetian Republic, Girolamo Donato, was ush- 
ered into the Belvedere for an audience with Julius II, he 
found the pope planting trees, and, during the interview, the 
pontiff continued his activity. In such a garden, antique stat- 
ues appear out of context, and, instead, take on a metaphorical 
significance. Ancient gods become mere abstractions, stripped 
of their original primeval quality. What remains is only that 
aspect of their identity that is compatible with a continued 
existence in a Christian setting: Apollo embodies poetry and 
the imagination; Venus, all-encompassing love; and Laocoon, 
sensitivity and suffering. During this same period (1508-12), 
Michelangelo was commissioned by Julius II to fresco the 
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with his classical depiction of 
the Sibyls. These five seers take their place alongside the seven 
prophets of the Old Testament in presaging the coming 

The successor of Julius II, Leo X (1513-21), born 
Giovanni de' Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who 
"considered] not least those undertakings that lead to the 
advance of science and the fine arts," explained, through his 
secretary, Jacopo Sadoleto, the importance of such activity; 
he assures us that "the Creator has vouchsafed nothing more 
significant or more useful to mankind, aside from the wor- 
ship of His divinity, than those studies that serve to beautify 

and ennoble human existence, but are in every particular 
practical and useful: comforting in adversity as well as bene- 
ficial and honorable in prosperity, the more so inasmuch as 
without them we lack all of life's charm and all communal 
coherence. " 

After the Sack of Rome in 1527, the seated figure signed 
by Apollonios must have been added to the sculpture court. 
It owes its name, the Belvedere Torso, to its fragmentary condi- 
tion and to its location — although until the end of the nine- 
teenth century no one doubted that it was a representation 
of Hercules. One hundred years before, between 1432 and 
143 5, Cyriacus of Ancona had seen this sculpture and copied 
the artist's signature on the stone. 

It was Michelangelo, however, who first made the Torso 
famous. He described himself as a disciple of the Belvedere 
Torso, and often spoke of having studied it intensively, as the 
Genoese painter Giovanni Battista Paggi reported. Deferring 
to Michelangelo's authority regarding the Torso, Gian Lorenzo 
Bernini quotes him as having said of it: "Truly this was creat- 
ed by a man who was wiser than Nature! Pity that it is a 
torso. " A glance at the Sistine Chapel frescoes shows to what 
degree Michelangelo drew inspiration from the Belvedere Torso; 
his seated figures are variations and elaborations upon the 
theme. Never did he copy or imitate it superficially, but his 
concern was to penetrate to the essence of the original, in 
spirit, as expressed in the figure of the Prophet Jonas above 
the Last Judgment. Vasari writes: "Michelangelo needed to 




see the works of others only once in order to grasp them 
fully, and to use them in such a way that no one was aware 
of it. " In spite of various suggestions for its restoration that 
are reflected, for example, in numerous small bronzes of the 
sixteenth century, the Torso is the only sculpture among the 
celebrated antiquities of the Belvedere that has remained 
unrestored. After the Torso was given a place in the center of 
the sculpture court, and was left there unrestored, it became 
a symbol of past greatness from antiquity. 

The Apollo and the Torso, therefore, are milestones in the 
early history of the Vatican Museums. The statue of Apollo 
embodies the mantic tradition perpetuated since time imme- 
morial on this spot depicted by Raphael, in the fashion of his 
time, as Parnassus. 

At first, sculptures from antiquity were assembled on 
the site, to enhance the home of the Pontifex Maximus in an 
Arcadian landscape of his own creation. The placement of 
the Torso in the center of this garden represented a change in 
the concept of the Belvedere sculpture court. Since it ap- 
peared that no one could be found to complete the Torso, its 
incompleteness became the initial cause of its fame. As a 
relic from antiquity that could not be completed, it assumed 
an exemplary value and significance. Michelangelo saw in 
the fragment a "divinitas" of natural beauty, a divine spark 
that still infused the ancient work. The Torso, which survived 

the Counter Reformation untouched, as the only fragmen- 
tary and unrestored sculpture in the collection, became a 
symbol of the frailty of earlier greatness. As a reminder of 
vanitas, of the transience of everything earthly and temporal, 
it remained in its place during the second half of the six- 
teenth century, while the statues in the niches were hidden 
behind wooden screens. In spite of their fame, the sculptures 
left in the Cortile del Belvedere settled, like Sleeping Beauty, 
into a sleep of two centuries, to be brought back to a new life 
only in the second half of the eighteenth century with the 
establishment of the Museo Pio-Clementino. 

Georg Daltrop* 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Michaelis, "Geschichte des Statuenhofes im vaticanischen 
Belvedere," in Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaologischen Institute, 5, 1890, pp. 5-72, 
which includes a compilation of all the important publications in chronological order; 
R. Lanciani, Scavi di Roma I, Rome, 1902, pp. 154-57; E. Steinmann, Die Sixtinische 
Kapelle, II, Munich, 1905, pp. 75-79; J. S. Ackerman, The Cortile del Belvedere, Studi e 
documenti per la storia del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano 111, Vatican City, 1954; W Lotz, in 
Kunstchronik, 11, 1958, pp. 96-100; H.H. Brummer, The Statue Court in the Vatican 
Belvedere (Stockholm Studies in the History of Art, 20), Stockholm, 1970. 

*My original text and notes (dedicated to Max Wegner) will be published in Boreas 
(Miinstersche Beitrage zur Archaologie 6), 1983. 




Roman copy, c.a.d. 130-40, after a Greek bronze 
original, c. 330 b.c, attributed to Leochares 

Parian marble, with possible traces of original 
pigment in the hair 

Total height, 88 Vie" (224 cm), height of base, 
3 'Vie " (10 cm), height of head and neck, 15 V 4 " 
(40 cm); width, 46 l h " (118 cm); depth, 30 Vie " 
(77 cm) 

Museo Pio-Clementino, Cortile Ottagono, Inv. no. 

The statue is completely preserved except for 
parts of both forearms and the two hands, with 
their attributes. The right upper arm, the legs 
below the knees and above the ankles, the lower 
part of the support, the base between the feet 
and in front of the left foot, as well as the ends 
of the cloak draped on either side of the left 
forearm are broken. Also damaged are the hair; 
the lower part of the border of the cloak; the 
top of the support; the bottom of the quiver; 
and the back, between the shoulder blades, 
where a hole was made (now filled in) for the 
iron rod that, from 1511 to 1981, secured the 
statue to the base and to the wall. 

The provenance is unknown, yet the good 
condition of the statue suggests that it was never 
buried. At the end of the fifteenth century, it 
stood in the garden of San Pietro in Vincoli (Codex 
Escurialensis, fol. 53 r.); early in the sixteenth 
century, after the beginning of Julius II's pon- 
tificate (1503), but, at the latest, before 1509, it 
was placed in the sculpture court of the Bel- 
vedere, on the very spot where it customarily 
stands today. At the request of Clement VII, it 
was restored in 1532 by Giovanni Angelo 
Montorsoli, who had been recommended to the 
pope by Michelangelo (G.Vasari, Le Vite, 1568, 
Milanesi ed., VI, Florence, 1878, pp. 632-33). 
Montorsoli restored the left hand, altered the 
right forearm with an open hand turned away 

from the body, and lengthened the support so 
that the right hand could rest on it (this hand 
had been attached, originally, to the upper thigh, 
as evidenced by the surviving puntello, or brace) . 
From the second half of the sixteenth century 
until 1770, the statue was hidden behind a 
wooden partition placed over its niche in the 
Cortile. It was taken to Paris, where it remained 
from 1798 until 1816. In 1924-25, under B. 
Nogara, the additions by Montorsoli were 
removed by Guido Galli. Since 1981, the Apollo 
again has been freestanding; by fitting the breaks 
together more accurately it has been made per- 
fectly upright (the statue now leans back some 
two inches at the level of the head). 

Apollo, here, is a mature man, poised in mid- 
stride, his left arm extended forward, his head 
turned at a right angle to the direction of his 
movement. The open quiver filled with arrows 
refers to the bow that Apollo once carried in his 
left hand, and suggests that he held an arrow in 
his lowered right hand. The bow was probably 
quite large (kXvtoto^os), so that its lower tip 
rested on the base — to which an ancient depres- 
sion in the plinth might attest. The support in 
the form of a tree trunk with laurel leaves and 
remains of fillets may well be an addition of the 
copyist; the small snake coiling upward suggests 
as much. 

The composition unifies the movement and 
torsion of the statue. The weight of the body 
rests on the slightly advanced right foot, while 
only the toes of the left foot touch the ground. 
The flow of movement is restrained by the posi- 
tion of the left arm. As in classical contrapposto, 
the free leg corresponds to the active arm. The 
torsion of the figure and the boldly advancing 
open pose, however, distinguish it from the con- 
tained compositions of Polykleitos. Among sur- 
viving sculpture from antiquity, the degree of 
immediacy of this representation, and its spirit 
of permanence in the face of all that is transitory, 

are unique to the Apollo Belvedere — a creation 
of the end of the classic period in Greece, the 
time of Alexander the Great. 

The original was undoubtedly of bronze. The 
distinctive style, of which the marble copy is 
only a reflection, has led scholars to associate it 
with a leading Attic master, Leochares. A statue 
of Apollo by him is mentioned in Pausanias 
(1.3.4) as having stood in the Athenian Agora, 
in front of the temple of Apollo Patroos, as a 
counterpart to a statue of Apollo Alexikakos 
— the deflector of evil — made by Kalamis after 
the plague of 430 b.c. The nobility of the Apollo 
Belvedere would seem to fit such an identification. 

The Apollo Belvedere embodies the Apollonian 
ideal of the Greeks. Since the sixteenth century, 
it has lived on in countless copies, imitations, 
variations, quotations, parodies, and caricatures, 
as well as in illustrations and reproductions. On 
the occasion of the purchase of the Parthenon 
sculptures by England, the House of Commons 
exalted the Apollo as the standard of all art. The 
ultimate praise was expressed by Johann Joa- 
chim Winckelmann: "The statue of Apollo is 
the highest ideal of art among all the works of 
antiquity to have survived destruction." 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des vatican- 
ischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, pp. 256-69, no. 92, pi. 
12; W. Helbig, Fuhrer dutch die offentlichen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 
226; G. Galli, in Rendicontidella PontificiaAccademia Romana 
di Archeologia, 3, 1924-25, pp. 473-74, ills. 3-4; G. 
Daltrop, "Zur Uberlieferung und Restaurierung des Apoll 
vom Belvedere," in Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia 
Romana di Archeologia, 48, 1975/76, pp. 127-40; idem, 
"Zum Attribut in der rechten Hand des Apoll vom 
Belvedere," in Greece and Italy in the Classical World (Acta 
of the XI International Congress of Classical Archaeology, 
London, 1978 [1979]), pp. 224-25; O. R. Deubner, "Der 
Gott mit dem-Bogen: das Problem des Apollo im Belve- 
dere," in Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archdologischen Instituts, 
94, 1979, pp. 223-44. 




Athens, mid-lst century b.c. 
Parian marble 

Height, 62 Vs (159 cm); width, 33 Vie" (84 an); 

depth, 34 V 4 " (87 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala delleMuse, 

Inv. no. 1192 

The Torso remained unrestored in post- Classic 
times. The head and chest, both arms, and both 
legs (the right one above the knee, the left one 
below it) are broken off. Both buttocks were 
pieced on, as the roughened surfaces, with their 
dowel holes, indicate (the iron dowels were re- 
moved in 1923). Among other areas, the two 
upper thighs were damaged. Virtually none of 
the antique surface of the marble remains. 

The Torso probably was never buried. Its prov- 
enance is unknown, although, between 1432 
and 1435, Cyriacus of Ancona copied the artist's 
signature from this "figura que dicitur Herculis," 
then in the possession of Cardinal Prospero 
Colonna. An Umbrian painter made a drawing 
of the Torso about 1500, noting that it belonged 
to the sculptor Andrea Bregno. Between 1532 
and 1 5 3 5 , Maarten van Heemskerck sketched it 
in the sculpture court of the Belvedere. At the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, for pro- 
tection, it was brought into the fountain house 
in the "Stanza del Torso" (the southern arm of 
what is now the Sala degli Animali) ; it was pos- 
sibly set up in the Vestibolo Rotondo of the 
Clementine museum in 1773, and from 1784 
to 1973, aside from the years of its exile in Paris 
(1798-1816), its place was in the center of the 
Vestibolo Quadrato, also known as the Atrio del 

The powerful body of a man of advanced age 
is seated on a rock. The upper torso bends 
forward, to the right, as the body turns left. The 
right arm was lowered, perhaps leaning on the 
thigh, while the left arm was raised at the side- 
correspondingly, the left leg extended forward 
and the right one somewhat back. The animal 
skin spread over the stone seat with its head lying 
on the left thigh was commonly thought to be 
a lion's skin until the end of the nineteenth 
century, so that the identification of the Her- 
culean figure as Hercules himself seemed plau- 
sible. Since it is, in fact, the skin of a panther, the 
figure is more closely related to either Dionysos, 
a satyr, or even to Marsyas. Other suggestions 
have included Skiron, Polyphemus, Philoktetes, 
and Prometheus, or a mythical athlete — for 
example, the boxer Amykos — although none 
of the identifications is as convincing and as 
appropriate as the original one: Hercules. 

The artist's signature appears on the front of 
the stone seat: "Apollonios, son of Nestor, the 
Athenian, created [this work]." His style is 
marked by an elemental strength and a pro- 
nounced, elastic vitality. The complexity of move- 
ment is mirrored in the construction of the figure. 
The contrapposto composition has been pushed 
to its limits, as expressed in the powerful model- 
ing of the muscles. The style of the artist's 
signature — and of the work itself — points to the 
last century of the Roman Republic. Because 
the name occurred frequently in this period, one 
cannot automatically identify the Apollonios 
who sculpted the Torso with the one who created 
the Capitoline Jupiter. 

The meaning of a sculpture is intimately tied 

to one's interpretation of it. If, as Winckelmann 
did, one sees "expressed in this Hercules here 
before us how he purified himself with fire from 
the dross of humankind, and achieved immor- 
tality and a seat among the gods," then a 
sacred setting might have been intended for the 
statue. Nonetheless, the large number of works 
with analogous inscriptions that survived from 
the period of the Belvedere Torso suggests that art- 
ists at that time, above all Athenians, worked 
for the Roman art market. Classical models set 
the tone, then, so that we cannot be certain 
whether a statue was created for a "sacral" exis- 
tence or the "profane" sphere of connoisseur- 
ship and taste. 

It took the artistic sensitivity of Michelangelo 
to rediscover the Torso, and to accord it its proper 
status. Some 250 years later, the same Winckel- 
mann who sought to free himself from the Ba- 
roque chose a "Baroque" sculpture from antiq- 
uity on which to lavish his masterly descriptions. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, pp. 9-20, no. 3, pi. 2; W. 
Helbig, Fuhrer durch die offentlichen Sammlungen klas- 
sischer Altertiimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im 
Vatikan und Lateran. I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 265; 
A. Schmitt, "Romische Antikensammlungen im Spiegel 
eines Musterbuchs der Renaissance," in Munchner Jahr- 
buch der bildenden Kunst, 21, 1970, pp. 107-13, ill. 2; 
C. Schwinn, Die Bedeutung des Torso vom Belvedere fur 
Theorie und Praxis der bildenden Kunst vom 16. Jahr- 
hundert bis Winckelmann, Bern, 1973; G. Saflund, "The 
Belvedere Torso," in Opuscula Romana, XI, 6, 1976, pp. 63- 
84; L. Eckhart, "Zum Torso vom Belvedere," in Greece and 
Italy in the Classical World (Acta of the XI International 
Congress of Classical Archaeology, London, 1978 [1979] ), 
p. 225. 






The Treasury of Saint Peter's, or 
what remains of it, is the repos- 
itory for those vestments and 
sacred objects (fig. 23) created 
for liturgical use and donated 
over the centuries by visitors to 
Rome, who came to venerate the apostle's 
tomb. The Treasury's history begins with the 
very foundation of the basilica by Constantine, 
early in the fourth century. The account in 
the Liber Pontificalis of the quantity and rich- 
ness of the sacred furnishings with which 
Constantine and his successors endowed the 
church cannot fail to amaze us. Yet, the gen- 
erosity of its donors was offset by the greed 
of its plunderers. The history of the Treasury 
of Saint Peter's is the story of barbaric deeds 
as well as of the devotion and generosity of the faithful, who 
attempted to restore what had been lost. First to be looted 
was the basilica's Sacristy, as recorded in the Liber Pontificalis; 
the act was perpetrated by Julian the Apostate. Subsequent 
plunderers were Alaric in 410; the Visigoths in 545; the 
Longobards in 731; the Saracens in 846; and, in 1084, the 
Normans, led by Robert Guiscard. During the High Middle 
Ages, the atrium and portico of the basilica frequently were 
the scenes of battle and pillage by rival factions among Roman 
patrician families, with disastrous consequences for the 

Unfortunate, too, was the schism that led the papacy to 
abandon Rome for a long exile in Avignon; yet, it was no 
less devastating than the civil warfare of the early fifteenth 
century, during which Saint Peter's was repeatedly sacked; 
in 1413, the troops of Ladislas of Naples even stabled their 
horses inside the basilica. 

The pacification of the Church and the return of the 

popes from Avignon coincided with an influx 
of new gifts, but the Sack of Rome of 1527, 
by the imperial Landsknechts, was a further 
setback. During the Napoleonic period, French 
commissaries once more plundered and scat- 
tered the basilica's treasures. The direptio gallica 
was no less complete and destructive than 
the direptio germanica of 1527. Whatever lit- 
tle was saved or recovered resulted from the 
initiative of a handful of canons. 

Until the end of the last century, even 
though the liturgical objects in the basilica 
occupied only two small rooms, among the 
treasures was the altar garniture by Gentili 
(see cat. nos. 22-23). The Treasury was ex- 
panded in 1909, and rearranged in 1949, but 
it was not until 1975, with the introduction of 
such monumental works as the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 
and the tomb of Sixtus IV by Pollaiuolo, that the Vatican 
Chapter organized its exceptional treasures, according to the 
latest museological criteria, adopting the most advanced means 
to ensure the conservation of its collections. 

All the existing areas to the right of the Sacristy by Mar- 
chionni (of 1686), including the Cappella dei Beneficiati and 
its Sacristy, were newly installed in 1975. This installation was 
designed and carried out by the architect Franco Minissi, who 
preserved the original character of the chapel and its Sacristy, 
achieving a clear distinction between the primary architectural 
space and the secondary museum space. He eliminated direct 
lighting in the new rooms and suppressed the formal values of 
the spaces occupied by the objects on exhibition, making the 
objects themselves the focal points of the Treasury Museum. 

Ennio Francia 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Lipinsky, // Tesoro di S. Pietro, guida-inventario, Vatican City, 1950; 
F. S. Orlando, // Tesoro di San Pietro, Milan, 1958. 




ANTONIO GENTILI (c. 1519-1609) 

Goldsmith 's work by Gentili 

Rock crystals by Giovanni Bernardi (1496-1553) 

andMuzio de Grandis (c. 1525-c. 1596) 
Rome, completed 1582 
Silver gilt, rock crystal, and lapis lazuli 
Height: cross, 76 " (193 cm); candlesticks, 39 Vs" 

(100 cm) 
Reverenda Capitolo di San Pietro 

Antonio Gentili's fame as one of the foremost 
Renaissance goldsmiths is derived almost entire- 
ly from this magnificent altar garniture. The cross 
and candlesticks were commissioned by Cardi- 
nal Alessandro Farnese (1520-1589) for the 
high altar of Saint Peter's and installed in 1582. 
An anonymous 'Awiso da Roma" states that 
they took four years of continuous work, were 
valued at 18,000 scudi — including 6,500 scudi 
for the workmanship — and were inaugurated 
on the morning of Pentecost, when Cardinal 
Farnese himself sang the Mass. 

Cardinal Farnese had long outlived the reign 
of his uncle, Pope Paul III (1534-49), yet he 
had the cross embellished with his uncle's coat 
of arms and devices, while his own appear on 
the candlesticks. In her recent study, Anna Beatriz 
Chadour explains how these heraldic motifs have 
both christological and dynastic bearings. Thus, 
one of the imprese on the candlesticks shows 
the ship Argo slipping past the treacherous 
Symplegades — a classical metaphor for salvation, 
as well as for the Farnese family's fortunes. So, 
too, aside from being the preeminent Farnese 
devices, the lilies and unicorns lavishly employed 
in the decoration of all three pieces have im- 
memorial Christian associations. 

Among the sixteen rock crystals, framed 
against lapis lazuli, those on the cross are en- 
graved with scenes of the Passion, while the crys- 
tals on the candlesticks depict the miracles per- 
formed by Christ. One crystal (with the Healing 
of Jairus's Daughter) is signed by Muzio de 
Grandis, Gentili's contemporary, but Chadour 
believes that the majority were engraved, decades 
earlier, by the much-better- known Giovanni 
Bernardi, and that they were saved by Cardinal 
Farnese for this special purpose. 

The base of the cross is four sided; the crucifix 
slides onto it by means of its shaft, which is 
concealed and, thus, unadorned, except for 
Gentili's signature. On the back, each of the 
roundels on the arms of the crucifix has one of 
the four Doctors of the Church, with the Ascen- 
sion of the Virgin in the center plaque. The 
crowning rock crystal on the front, over the 
corpus, shows the Resurrection. The imagery in 
the lower registers methodically builds up to this, 
as to a triumphant climax — from the tortuous- 
ly strained Michelangelesque figures of slaves 
at the bottom, to the seated Evangelists, the 
putti holding instruments of the Passion, and, 
finally, to the Victories supporting the crucifix. 
The figural decoration of the three-sided candle- 
sticks reads in a similar upward progression, 
from earthbound slavedom, through the un- 
identified prophets and Sybils, up to the cary- 

atids with laurel wreaths. Possibly, there is a 
play upon the resemblance between the Italian 
words cariatide and caritd (or "charity"), as the 
maidens also have infants sporting at their feet. 

Gentili undoubtedly needed workshop assist- 
ance to complete these compositions teeming 
with figures. Splendid as the designs are, there 
are discernible differences in quality in the three 
pieces, the best executed being the cross. The 
corpus probably is based upon a model by 
Guglielmo della Porta (died 1577), a sculptor 
often employed by the Farnese. 

Almost a century later, in 1671, the cross and 
candlesticks received attention from another 
papal nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini. He 
contributed four additional candlesticks, made 
by Carlo Spagna, still in the Vatican Treasury. 
They follow Gentili's in outline, but are more 
Baroque in detail. The expansion of the set was 
necessary for greater visibility beneath the showy 
baldacchino that Bernini provided for the high 
altar. So that the cross would continue to 
dominate, it was raised slightly by inserting two 
bands of ornament, featuring the Barberini bees, 

above and below the Victories. The entire set of 
seven, normally shown in the Treasury Muse- 
um of Saint Peter's, is used only upon rare 
occasions — most recently, at the coronation of 
Pope John Paul II. 

J. D. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. B. Chadour, 'Antonio Gentili und 
der Altarsatz von St. Peter," Ph.D. dissertation, Miinster, 
1980; W. Gramberg, "Notizen zu den Kruzifixen des 
Guglielmo della Porta und zurEntstehungsgeschichte des 
Hochaltarkreuzes in S. Pietro in Vaticano," in Munchner 
Jahrbuch fur Kunstgeschichte, 32, 1981, pp. 95-114. 

22 (back of cross) 




Rome, c. 1585 
Gilt bronze 

Height, 34 l A" (87.6 cm) 
Reverenda Capitolo di San Pietro 

These imposing figures of the two apostles 
have not been studied thoroughly. Assertions 
exist concerning them, but with no documenta- 
ry confirmation. According to Gaetano Moroni 
(Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica, IX, 
Venice, 1841, p. 70), they were presented to Saint 
Peter's by Pope Gregory XIII, who died in April 
1585. Monsignor G. Cascioli (Guida al Tesoro di 
S. Pietro, Rome, 1925, p. 22) stated, without 
giving sources, that the statues were made in 
1585 by Sebastiano Torrigiani, along with a set 
of six candlesticks in gilt bronze ordered by Greg- 
ory XIII; that they were restored in 161 1 by Pietro 
Gentili (son of Antonio, maker of the silver-gilt 
candlesticks and altar cross shown in catalogue 
numbers 22-23); and that they were restored 
again, by order of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, 
in 1692. They did, indeed, acquire Baroque bases 
adorned with the Barberini bees and dated 1692. 
Yet, since at least the late seventeenth century, 
Saint Peter and Saint Paul have been associated 
more with the Gentili altar set than with the 
Torrigiani candlesticks (also in the Treasury of 
Saint Peter's). 

The more one learns of Sebastiano Torrigiani, 
the more his main role appears to have been 

that of founder rather than sculptor. He was the 
son-in-law of Guglielmo della Porta, several of 
whose later works he cast, and he became head 
of the Vatican foundry, according to G. Baglione 
(Le Vite de'pittori, scultori et architetti, Rome, 
1642, p. 323). He made the casts of the colossal 
statues of Saints Peter and Paul atop the col- 
umns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, following 
models by other sculptors, but the poses of 
those figures show only a generic resemblance 
to the present ones. Busts of Gregory XIII and 
Sixtus V in Berlin-Dahlem used to be attributed 
to Torrigiani on the basis of Baglione' s statement 
that Torrigiani made the bust of Sixtus V now in 
the cathedral of Treia. Recent scholarship, 
however, tends to assign the models for the Ber- 
lin busts to Taddeo Landini, best known as au- 
thor of the Fontana delle Tartarughe in Rome 
(U. Schlegel, in Bildwerke der christlichen Epochen 
. . .aus den Bestdnden der Skulpturenabteilung 
. . . Berlin-Dahlem, Munich, 1966, nos. 588-589). 
The massed draperies and graphic literalness of 
the Vatican saints are found in much Counter- 
Reformation sculpture before the onset of the 
Baroque. Yet, it must be said that their physi- 
ognomies have a biting acerbity that relates them 
fairly well to the busts claimed for Torrigiani 
and/or Landini. 

J. D. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. S. Orlando, // Tesoro di San Pietro, 
Milan, 1958, pp. 90-91. 




CLEMENT VIII (1592-1605) 

c. 1593-97 

The vestments of Clement VIII, named for the 
pontiff to whom they were given, about 1597, 
comprise one altar frontal, a cope with its orna- 
mental clasp, a chasuble, two dalmatics, two 
stoles, a maniple for the celebrant and two for 
the deacons, a case for the corporal, a chalice 
veil, and three missal covers. The bruste de camici 
(or "surplice cases"), mentioned in the payment 
records, were scattered; they still existed in 1930, 
although they were reassembled to form what, 
in the inventories, is referred to as a faldstool. 
Also lost is the "gold and silk tapestry [panno] 
with the Last Supper," perhaps made as an altar- 
piece, documented, as well, by the records of 
payment (C. Conti, 1875, pp. 58-59). 

The technique used to produce these vestments 
appears to have been rather unusual: all were 
woven as tapestries, in silk, with gold and silver 
(silver-gilt) threads; the warps are silk, with ten 
to thirteen threads per centimeter. To judge from 
the minimal damage that they have undergone, 
and from the brightness of their colors, it would 
seem that the vestments were hardly used; the 
last pontiff to have done so might have been 
Benedict XIII, who wore them on January 22, 
1726 (P. Gentili, 1874, p. 40). The first docu- 
mented restoration was in 1789, and their 
absence, at that time, from the Sistine Chapel 
treasury perhaps prevented the tapestries from 
being taken to Paris by Napoleon's commission- 
ers. It is likely that on that occasion — or, more 

probably, in 1870, when they were displayed at 
the "Esposizione Romana" (L'Esposizione Ro- 
mana, 1870, p. 22) — the fronts and backs of 
the two dalmatics and of the chasuble were 
separated, in order to display them side by side. 
In 1935, Monsignor Zampini, sacristan of the 
apostolic palaces, removed the vestments from 
the treasury of the Sistine Chapel, entrusting the 
Vatican Library to exhibit them to the public. In 
1964, following a rearrangement, some of the 
vestments were transferred to the care of the 
Vatican Museums, which already had received 
the altar frontal (restored in 1957). All the other 
pieces were restored between 1978 and 1981, 
by the Vatican Museums' tapestry conservation 
studio, for their American exhibition. 

The history of the origins of this set of vest- 
ments is known to us, in part, through the docu- 
ments published by C. Conti (1875, pp. 106-7), 
which mention that the vestments were commis- 
sioned by Ferdinand I, Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
However, the idea of presenting the pope with a 
gift of particular significance had begun much be- 
fore Ferdinand became grand duke, as deduced 
from a document published by Detlef Heikamp 
("Die Arazzeria Medicea im 16. Jahrhundert: 
Neue Studien," in Munchner Jahrbuch der 
bildenden Kunst, XX, 1969, p. 74), without re- 
ferring, specifically, to this set of vestments. In 
a letter from Rome dated December 27, 1577, 
Ferdinand, then a cardinal, wrote to his brother 
Francesco, Grand Duke of Tuscany, informing 
him of a conversation with Gregory XIII in 
which the pope had reminded him of Francesco's 
promise to donate a series of tapestries for the 
Sistine Chapel, since those by Raphael only could 
be used on "happy" occasions, not for Advent 
and Lent. There were to be seven tapestries in 
all. The subject was to be the Passion, and Vasari 
had been chosen to provide the cartoons. For 

reasons unknown to us, the project was never 
realized, despite the fact that the pope, himself, 
was ready personally to pay the cost, if the grand 
duke decided not to honor his pledge. Upon 
the death of Francesco, his brother Ferdinand, 
once again a layman, became grand duke and 
married Christine of Lorraine, and the project 
was revived — although the recipient of the gift, 
in the meantime, had changed — all the more so, 
since the new pope, an Aldobrandini, came from 
a family with Florentine origins. The commis- 
sion to weave the vestments was entrusted to 
Guasparri di Bartolomeo Papini, chief weaver 
at the Medici manufactory, who then purchased 
the necessary gold and silver on April 30, 1593. 
Alessandro Allori was chosen to execute the 
cartoons, which he delivered before January 4, 
1595, the recorded date of payment. The work, 
which progressed rapidly, clearly was accom- 
plished by more than one weaver. On May 31, 
1595, Papini was paid for the cope, two "surplice 
cases," and the "tapestry of the Last Supper." 
As to the other items, it is probable that they 
were completed by the spring of 1597. In fact, 
according to a document published by Conti 
(1875, p. 60),onJune21, 1597, an expenditure 
is recorded for a set of vestments composed of a 
chasuble and two "tonacelle," which — bearing 
in mind that, in form, there is no clear-cut dis- 
tinction between a dalmatic and a tonicella — 
could be that given to Clement VIII. A date rela- 
tively close to this is suggested by a memorandum 
to Ferdinand I, of October 23, 1595, in which 
Girolamo S. Jacopi speaks of the possibility of 
finishing the work in a year. The memo also 
asked for instruction regarding the placement 
of the papal and grand-ducal arms, with their 
Medici and Medici -Lorraine charges, to which 
Ferdinand replied: "Leave enough space in order 
to make the small arms of His Highness, below, 


but do not make the coat of arms of the pontiff 
yet" (C. Conti, 1875, pp. 106-7). The arms on 
the cope and the altar frontal had already been 
executed, but they did not conform to the wishes 
of the grand duke; consequently, those areas in 
question were cut out and, as on the other vest- 
ments, only later were the desired arms sewn 
on. On the two dalmatics and on the chasuble, 
evidently still being worked on at the time, spaces 
were left for the papal coats of arms, with only 
the warp in place, below which a Medici shield, 
without the Lorraine arms, was woven. Of the 
vestments, that worn by the pope — namely, the 
chasuble — was the only item on which the sim- 
ple Medici shield was retained, while the arms 
on the other two chasubles on which heraldic 
shields were sewn combined Medici and Lor- 
raine arms. 

The use of shields uniting Medici and Lorraine 
bearings was a very common practice dating to 
the sixteenth century, but it might also indicate 
— as suggested by the document of 1595 — that 
the tapestry was a gift not only of the grand 
duke, but of his wife, Christine, as well. 

The iconography of the set is extremely 
complex, and it is probable that the program 
was drawn up by a theologian at the Medici 
court — possibly by Ferdinand, himself. The over- 
all imagery suggests that the vestments were 
made to be used primarily during Holy Week. It 
was not mere accident that, until the last centu- 
ry (D. Farabulini, 1884, p. 83), the altar frontal 
was placed before the altar of the Sistine Chap- 
el on Holy Thursday. However, the complexity 
of the individual motifs and of their combined 
significance allowed for the vestments to be worn 
also on different occasions, such as when Bene- 
dict XIII used them on January 22, 1726. The 
dominant decorative motif of the altar frontal is 
an elaboration of the Eucharistic theme, which 

is most apparent in the central imagery: the dead 
Christ interpreted as the Eucharistic body. In the 
scene of Christ in the Garden of Olives, on the 
chasuble, Jesus receives the chalice from the 
hands of an angel, thus underscoring the Eucha- 
ristic moment of this episode. On the cope, as 
well, Eucharistic subject matter prevails, spe- 
cifically, in the scene of the Sacrifice of Isaac, 
an event that presages the bloody sacrifice of 
Christ, and in the image of Melchizedek, whose 
bloodless sacrifice of the bread and wine pre- 
figures the Last Supper. 

In all probability the presence of marian epi- 
sodes on one of the dalmatics and, perhaps more 
significantly, on the altar frontal is a reference 
to the place for which they were made — that is, 
to the Sistine Chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of 
the Assumption. 

The attribution to Allori of the cartoons for 
all the vestments is documented, and even those 
for the altar frontal — for which records of pay- 
ment are still missing — may be assigned to him 
on the basis of their evident stylistic connection. 
As official painter to the Medici court, Allori 
designed cartoons for the Florentine tapestry 
manufactory from 1575 to about 1598. In this 
set, and particularly in the panel with the dead 
Christ, the influence of Bronzino, who was 
Allori's teacher and friend, is distinctly apparent, 
while, less explicit than in other works, and me- 
diated by Francesco Salviati, are the influences 
of Michelangelo and Raphael — seen, above all, 
in the images on the cope. The antique refer- 
ences in some of the representations, such as in 
the Descent into Limbo, probably are due to the 
rarity with which many of the scenes were 
portrayed and to the difficulty of finding related 
compositional prototypes other than, perhaps, 
in miniatures. The results of this choice — based 
on the iconographic needs of the design pro- 

gram and, also, on the repertory of ornament 
available — are somewhat archaic, for, although 
maintaining the richness and inventiveness 
typical of Florentine Late Mannerism, they are 
marked by a relative sobriety that comes from 
the necessary adherence to a fixed subject matter. 

Fabrizio Mancinelli 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E Gentili, Sulla manifattura degli arazzi. 
Cenni Storici, Rome, 1874, pp. 40-41; C. Conti, Ricerche 
storiche sull'arte degli arazzi in Firenze, Florence, 1875, pp. 
19, 58-60, 106-7; D. Farabulini, L'Arte degli Arazzi e la 
nuova Galleria dei Gobelins al Vaticano, Rome, 1884; H. 
Goebel, Wandteppiche, 1, II, Leipzig, 1928, p. 387. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 40'/ s " (102 cm); width, 141 '//« " (371 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2780 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply white silk, with ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The condition is good. 
During the 1957 restoration of the tapestry, it 
was ascertained that, originally, in place of the 
papal shield, there had been Medici-Lorraine 
coats of arms, surmounted by the grand-ducal 
crown, above another, unidentifiable coat of 
arms. These two coats of arms were cut away 
and replaced by the current ones, woven with a 
white warp. 

At the center of the altar frontal is the dead 
Christ, supported by two angels: in the fore- 
ground is a basin containing the crown of thoms 


and the nails of his martyrdom; in the back- 
ground is an altar with a chalice. The presence 
of the altar and the angels indicates that this is a 
melismos, traditional in Byzantine iconography 
(cf. R. Hamman MacLean, Die Monumental- 
malerei in Serbien und Macedonien vom 11. bis 
zum fruhen 14. Jahrhundert, II, Giessen, 1976, 
pp. 147-50) to represent the Eucharistic body 
of Christ. At the left of the central scene is the 
Descent into Limbo; at the right, instead of the 
more usual Noli me tangere, is the Appearance 
of Christ to Mary. This latter scene was proba- 
bly introduced because the altar frontal was 
made for the Sistine Chapel, which is dedicated 
to the Virgin of the Assumption. Its typically 
Easter iconography is confirmed by the fact 
that the altar frontal usually was displayed on 
Holy Thursday. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 
25 B. COPE 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 59 7 Ae" (151 cm); width, 125%" (319cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2773 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply white silk, ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The cope, in a fine state 
of preservation, was conserved in 1980-81. A 
gap in the small oval space in the pagan altar at 
the upper right, as well as other, similar lacunae 
were repaired by attaching an appropriately col- 
ored cotton and linen canvas support to the back. 
It also was discovered that, originally, in place 
of the two current coats of arms, a single, large 
combined Medici-Lorraine coat of arms, above 
which was the grand-ducal crown, had been 
woven into the design. 

The central scene in the orphrey shows the 
Original Sin ( Genesis 3 : 6 ) , to the right of which 
are busts — with identifying inscriptions — of 
Jacob (Genesis 25:26), ivdas, son of Jacob 
(Genesis 29:35), and [p]hare[z], son of Judah 
(Genesis 38:29); further down, to the right cen- 
ter of the cope, is esron, son of Pharez (I Chroni- 
cles 2 : 5 ) . On the orphrey's left side are david (II 
Samuel 1:14), solomon, son of David (I Kings 
1:12), and r[eh]oboam, son of Solomon (I Kings 
1 1:43); further down, to the left center, is Abia, 
son of Rehoboam (I Chronicles 3:10). 

On the hood is the Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 
22:10-11), immediately above the bust of a 
man identifiable as Melchizedek (Genesis 14: 
18-19), King of Salem and "Priest of the Most 

High God," to whom Abraham paid a tithe and 
who offered the bread and wine in sacrifice. 
Significantly, above him, half hidden by the hood, 
is a vine whose branches are laden with clusters 
of grapes. On either side, two pairs of angels 
hold up a miter and a papal triregnum, respec- 
tively. Angels with banderoles and censers, as 
well as floral elements in which grapes and ol- 
ives predominate, complete the rich decoration 
of the vestment. 

The two genealogical sequences with Jacob 
and Solomon particularize, in the genealogy of 
Christ, the iconographic theme of the vestment. 
Jacob is the father of the Hebrews, while David 
is the patriarch of the family to which Jesus 
belonged. It is to Christ, to the nature of his 
sacrifice and of his ministry, aside from that of 
the Eucharist, that the Sacrifice of Isaac and the 
figure of Melchizedek allude. The first, in fact, 
presages the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the 
cross; the second refers to the type of Christ's 
ministry and of his priesthood — not following, 
as Saint Paul testifies (Hebrews 7:11-28), the 
order of Aaron, but that of Melchizedek. More- 
over, Melchizedek is a priest who, instead of of- 
fering a bloody sacrifice, offers — as did Christ 
— the bread and wine, thus prefiguring the Eu- 
charist, the overriding theme of the decoration 
of the complete vestment. 



after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 35 7 /s" (91 cm); width, 46>/i 6 " (117 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2774 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The condition of the tapestry 
is good, as it was conserved in 1981. The de- 
sign is in the form of a rebus: Two angels, hold- 
ing censers and incense boats, flank a large basin 
filled with flowers, over which is a scroll with 
the inscription apparvervnt*. The inscription, 
taken together with the word for flowers — "flores 
apparuerunt" — unquestionably has Easter con- 
notations; in fact, it is the beginning of a line 
from the Song of Solomon (2:12): "Flores 
apparuerunt in terra nostra" ("The flowers ap- 
pear on the earth"). There are no coats of arms, 
only the grand-ducal crown at the top, in the 
center of the border. Within the figural field, 
above and below, are two lines of seven rings 
each, into which two sticks could be inserted to 
facilitate raising the veil over the chalice. 

25 C 

25 D 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 21 "/ l6 " (55 cm); width, 30' 1 /m" (78 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2771 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The tapestry was conserved 
in 1981, and is in good condition. 

A young woman, veiled and crowned, is seat- 
ed on a cloud, with a starry sky broken by rosy 
clouds in the background. Her left hand, resting 
on a book on which the dove of the Holy Spirit 
is depicted, holds a scepter. With her right arm, 
she embraces a ciborium in the form of a tiny 
circular temple from which rays issue forth, di- 
rected toward her. There are no crests or em- 
blems on the border. 

This scene is clearly an allegory of the Bless- 
ed Virgin, but, because of such elements as the 
temple, symbolic of religion and of wisdom, 
at the same time the subject might be an allego- 
ry of the Church. The marian references are 
drawn from the Litany of Our Lady of Loreto, 
which was created by Sixtus V in 1587, and 
which figured prominently in the frescoes in the 
apse of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome exe- 
cuted during the reign of Clement VIII. On the 
missal cover, Mary appears as the "Morning 
Star," as indicated by the stars in the sky, rosy 
with dawn, and as "Queen of all the Saints," as 
denoted by the crown and the scepter, as well as 
by the stars, symbols of the saints — because, 
"They shall shine,and shall dart about as sparks 

through the stubble" (Wisdom 3:7), "And they 
that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the 
firmament; and they that turn many to righteous- 
ness as the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). 
She is also depicted as the "Seat of Wisdom," 

as symbolized by the temple — "Wisdom hath 
builded her house" (Proverbs 9: 1 ) — and by the 
book with a representation of the Holy Spirit. 
Typical of Mary, in addition to the Loreto ele- 
ments, is the blue color of her robes. 



after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 21 'Vie " (55 cm); width, 21 >A " (54 cm) 
Bihlioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2770 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The tapestry was conserved 
in 1981, and is in good condition. 

A young woman is seated on the Medici 
coat of arms, hands clasped and eyes turned 
toward heaven. This image corresponds to what 
Cesare Ripa (Iconologia, Rome, 1603, p. 471) 
identified as "True and Certain Hope." 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593- 97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 21 "As" (55 cm); width, 21 'A " (54 cm) 
Bihlioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2772 

The weft is of silk with silver- gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The tapestry was conserved 
in 1981, and is in good condition. 

The young woman seated on the Medici coat 
of arms holds a chalice in her right hand and a 
cross in her left. With the exception of the color 
of her garments — which are red and pink, rath- 
er than white — and the fact that she is seated, 
rather than standing, the figure corresponds to 
Ripa's identification of "Christian Faith" (C. 
Ripa, Iconologia, Rome, 1603, p. 149). 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 20 l A " (52 cm); width, 20 'A " (52 cm) 
Bihlioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2781 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply white silk, ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The condition is good, 
following conservation in 1981. 

The decoration is the traditional wooden cross, 
upon which is hung the crown of thorns. From 
the base of the cross two branches of flowering 
brambles issue forth. The same floral orna- 
mentation characterizes the decoration of the 
chasuble (see cat. no. 25 H). There is no identi- 
fying coat of arms. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 55 Vs" (140 cm); width, 40>/s" (102 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
nos. 2769, 2730 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk, with ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The condition is good. 
The chasuble was conserved in 1980-81. During 
conservation, it was found that, initially, a space 
was left on the warp for the papal arms; later, 
the threads of the warp were cut away and the 
coat of arms of Clement VIII sewn on. Since the 
warp is of two different colors — that of the chas- 
uble, yellow; that of the coat of arms, white — it 
is possible that considerable time elapsed before 
the coat of arms was woven in. 

On the front, within the cross, starting at the 
top, is a representation of Christ Crowned with 
Thorns (John 19:5), flanked by two angels; at 
the center, Veronica; below, Pilate Washing His 
Hands (Matthew 27:24); and, at the bottom, 
two crossed flagella. On the back, in descending 
order, within the vertical band, are Christ in the 
Garden of Olives (Luke 22:39-44); Christ at the 
Column; and the Repentance of Peter (Matthew 
26:69-75), with the attribute of the apostle, the 

cock, directly above him. In the spaces at the 
sides of the cross and of the column are praying 
angels in flight, surrounded by flowering bram- 
bles — a motif drawn not from the Gospels of 
the Evangelists but from apocryphal sources. 

Throughout, the iconography of this vestment 
is related to the cycle of the Passion of Christ — 
specifically, to the celebrations of Holy Week. 
Of the so-called Sorrowful Mysteries of the 
Rosary, only the Crucifixion is excluded, while 
the Road to Calvary is alluded to, if not actually 
represented, by the image of Veronica. A typically 
Eucharistic motif is the angel offering the chalice 
to Jesus. The images of Pilate and Peter contrast 
two opposite forms of repentance. The proximity 
of Peter to the coat of arms of Clement VIII is an 
obvious reference to the pontiff for whom the 
chasuble was made — inasmuch as it was the 
vestment of the celebrant. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 53 V, " (136 cm); width, 57V 2 " (146 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
nos. 2777, 2778 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 

warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The tapestry is in fine con- 
dition, after the conservation of 1980-81.Then, 
it was shown that, originally, the space with the 
papal arms was left empty, with only the warp 
in place, and that, later, the coat of arms of Clem- 
ent Vin was woven separately, with a white rath- 
er than a yellow warp, and sewn onto the 
vestment. The present grand-ducal shield, with 
the Medici-Lorraine coat of arms, also was 
woven on a white warp and was sewn on over 
a preexisting shield that was actually part of the 
dalmatic and had only the Medici arms. 

On the front of the dalmatic, at the top, is the 
Annunciation (Luke 1:28-35), with the Evan- 
gelists Luke and Matthew and their respective 
symbols at the sides. At the center is a terraque- 
ous globe, with two crossed trumpets superim- 
posed upon it, and two angels at either side, 
with the words in omne, perhaps the begin- 
ning of a line, "In omnem terram exivit sonus 
eorum," from Psalm 18 (5); below is the Adora- 
tion of the Magi (Matthew 2:11).' 

On the back of the dalmatic, at the top, is the 
Baptism of Christ (Mark 1:9-12), with the Evan- 
gelists John and Mark, and their symbols, on 
either side. Below, between two angels with cen- 
sers, is the Ascension of Christ (Luke 24:51). 

The decoration of the dalmatic with scenes 
recounted by the Evangelists indicates that the 
vestment probably was made for the deacon (or 
subdeacon) who was entrusted with reading 

25 H (back and front) 


25 I (back and front) 

from the Gospels. The inclusion, on the front, 
of the two episodes from the life of Mary 
undoubtedly was determined by the place in 
which the vestment was to be used — the Sistine 
Chapel, which is dedicated to the Virgin of the 
Assumption. The two christological scenes on 
the other side of the dalmatic are related to the 
imagery on the chasuble (see cat. no. 25 H) and 
focus on the theme of salvation through baptism. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 52 3 A" (134 cm); width, 57 7 / 8 " (147cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. nos. 2727,2731 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. The dalmatic is in a fine state 
of preservation. During conservation in 1980-81, 
it was ascertained that, initially, the space with 
the papal arms was left empty, with only the 
warp in place, and that, later, the coat of arms of 
Clement VTII was sewn on. As to the grand-ducal 
arms, the present ones with the Medici-Lorraine 

arms were woven separately with a white warp, 
and then sewn over a Medici shield without 
Lorraine arms. 

On the front of the dalmatic, at the top, is the 
Giving of the Keys (John 21:15-17), with Saint 
Peter at the left and, at the right, Isaiah, the sub- 
ject of the scene below. In the center is a globe, 
at either side of which are angels with olive 
branches; superimposed over the globe are two 
crossed trumpets, and the words in omne, per- 
haps taken from the passage in Psalm 18 (5) 
that begins "In omnem terram exivit sonus 
eorum"; below is the scene of Isaiah Healing 
Hezekiah (II Kings 20:1-11; Isaiah 38:1-22), 
in the upper right of which is the sundial that the 
prophet used to give Hezekiah the sign that he 
would recover. 

On the back of the dalmatic, at the top, is the 
Conversion of Saint Paul, in the middle (Acts 
9:3-9), flanked by Saint Paul, to the left, and, 
to the right, by Aaron, the protagonist of the 
scene below. At the bottom is Aaron's Flowering 
Rod (Numbers 17:8; Hebrews 9:4). 

What all the scenes have in common is a sign 
given by God — determining the investiture of 
Peter, the conversion of Paul, the healing of 
Hezekiah, and the recognition of the authority of 
Aaron as High Priest of the Hebrews. Central to 
the iconography of the dalmatic is the contrasting 
of episodes from the Old and the New Testaments 
to illustrate the superiority of the New Law over 

the Old Law — the theme of Saint Paul's Epistles 
to the Romans and to the Hebrews. In this view, 
it is possible that Allori, the designer, erred, trans- 
posing the pairing of the scenes and the respec- 
tive prophets and apostles. Given its subject, it 
is probable that the dalmatic was worn by the 
deacons responsible for reading from the Epistles. 

25 K, L (details) 

25 J (front and back) 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 
25 K. STOLE 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Length, 80>¥ !6 " (231 cm); width, 5Vs" (13 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2776a-b 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply white silk, ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The condition is good, 
following conservation in 1981. The decorative 
motif consists of the combination of two instru- 
ments of the Passion — the lance and the rod 
with the sponge soaked in vinegar. 


after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Length, 33 7 / 8 " (86 cm); width, 5'/s" (13 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. nos. 2728, 2733 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply white silk, ten to thirteen 
threads per centimeter. The condition is good, 
following conservation in 1981. Like the stole 
(see cat. no. 25 K), the maniple is decorated 
with one of the instruments of the Passion — in 
this case, the scourge. 

after a cartoon by Alessandro Allori 

25 M. CLASP 

Florence, c. 1593-97 
Tapestry, in silk, with silver-gilt threads 
Height, 5'A " (13 cm); width, 9>/, 6 " (23 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2782 

The weft is of silk, with silver-gilt threads; the 
warp, of three-ply yellow silk threads, ten to thir- 
teen per centimeter. Following conservation in 
1981 the clasp is now in good condition. 

The clasp — whose decoration depicts the 
bound hands of Christ — was used to fasten a 
cope across the chest. F. M. 

Thorough research by Dr. Angelica Frezza on all docu- 
ments pertaining to the vestments, completed for the 1980 
"Medici" exhibition in Florence, is being published cur- 
rently. I owe many thanks to Msgr. Gianfranco Nolli for his 
most valuable assistance in clarifying numerous points on 
the complex iconography of these vestments; to Dr. Mar- 
cello del Piazzo for information concerning the coats of 
arms; and to Candace Adelson for some helpful suggestions 
regarding the weaving technique. 





The creation of the new Saint Peter's took one 
hundred and seventy-six years, from the time 
of Nicholas Vs. decision, about 1450, to re- 
place the medieval basilica with a Renaissance 
structure, until the consecration of the new 
church, by Urban VIII, in 1626. It was Julius II 
(1503-13) who approved Bramante's Greek-cross plan, with 
its lofty dome supported on four gigantic piers: a pure and 
grandiose design, to which — after consideration of some al- 
ternative suggestions made by Raphael and Antonio da 
Sangallo the Younger — Michelangelo returned in 1546, when 
Paul III (1534-49) made him architect of Saint Peter's. Mi- 
chelangelo carried out his powerful and majestic designs for 
the apse and the southwest transept, the four piers, and the 
drum of the cupola. When, in 1590, under Sixtus V 
( 1585-90) , the immense, soaring dome was finally raised by 
Giacomo della Porta and Domenico Fontana, the Renaissance 
church truly was born. 

One last task, however, was still to be accomplished: the 
demolition and rebuilding of the remaining eastern part of 
the old church. In 1606, Paul V (1605-21) entrusted the com- 
pletion of Saint Peter's to Carlo Maderno. By extending the 
nave further east, Maderno changed Bramante's and 
Michelangelo's plan from a Greek to a Latin cross. The har- 
monious porportions of Maderno's nave, and the serene 
beauty of the new atrium and pedimented facade — com- 
pleted, after his designs, in 1614 — added a dynamic majesty 
to the great Renaissance basilica that clearly announced the 
oncoming Baroque age. 

Already, in the 1580s, Gregory Xin (1572-85) had begun 
the marble facing of the small order of pilasters in the choir, 
transept, and adjoining chapels. The polychrome decoration 
was sumptuous in style, enriched by mosaics, gilded stuccoes, 

and paintings. The vivid, yet cool colors; the Michelangelesque 
references in the design; and the wealth of elaborate allego- 
ries that figure in the decoration also characterize the altar 
cross and candlesticks commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro 
Farnese for the papal altar (see cat. nos. 22-23), and the 
liturgical vestments (cat. no. 25A-M) woven in the 1590s 
for Clement VIII, the pontiff to whom the chapel of the Con- 
fessio owes its plan and ornamentation. 

Like Paul V, Urban VIII (1623 -44) also turned his atten- 
tion to the embellishment of the interior of Saint Peter's. His 
first concern was with the crossing, where the papal altar 
and the surrounding space were in need of enhancement in 
order to serve as a proper setting for the important ceremo- 
nies held in the basilica. He entrusted the project to the young 
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), and this commission, in 
1624, marked the beginning of the artist's lifelong activity at 
Saint Peter's: an association that was to transform the church 
and its piazza into the greatest artistic achievement of the 
Catholic Counter Reformation and the supreme expression 
of the Roman Baroque. 

Bernini created the baldacchino, the triumphal bronze 
canopy that stands above the papal altar, supported by four 
twisted columns; the four balconies, set into the pillars under 
the dome, for the exhibition of the major relics of the basilica; 
and the four colossal statues of the saints (below the balconies) 
associated with these relics: Longinus, Helen, Veronica, and 
Andrew — a program that unified the great space of the cross- 
ing with an unprecedented boldness of imagination. 

The impetus given by Urban VIII to the decoration of 
Saint Peter's led to the enrichment of many chapels and al- 
tars throughout the church with paintings by the finest art- 
ists of the day: Giovanni Lanfranco, Andrea Sacchi, Pietro 
da Cortona, and Nicolas Poussin — whose famous Martyrdom 




of Saint Erasmus (cat. no. 86) was painted for the altar of 
Saint Petronilla. Bernini, himself, made two funerary monu- 
ments for Saint Peter's: the tomb of Countess Matilda of 
Tuscany (of 1632-37) and the tomb of Urban VIII (of 1627- 
47), for which there are two surviving terracotta sketches 
(cat. nos. 27, 28). 

During the eleven years in which Innocent X was pope 
(1644-55), the preferred sculptor was Alessandro Algardi 
(1598-1654), whose Baptism of Christ (cat. no. 30) gained 
him the patronage of the pontiff; Innocent X also commis- 
sioned from him the great marble relief of The Meeting of 
Pope Leo I and Attila (of 1647-54) , for one of the chapel's in 

Saint Peter's. 

With the election to the papacy of Alexander VII 
(1655-67), Bernini again enjoyed full favor. In answer to 
this pope's desire to add not only to the magnificence of 
Saint Peter's, but to that of the whole of Rome, Bernini's 
artistic powers reached ever more extraordinary heights. From 
1657 on, he carried out the great oval colonnade of the piazza 
of Saint Peter's (fig. 25); the majestic new Scala Regia, which 
leads from the colonnade to the old Apostolic Palace; and, in 
the apse of the basilica, the visionary installation of the Ca- 
thedra Petri (fig. 24) , held aloft, as it were, by the four statues 
of the Fathers of the Church, with the transparent dove of 



the Holy Spirit high above, amidst an angelic glory. By tran- 
scending the traditional boundaries between architecture, 
painting, and sculpture, Bernini created a new visual lan- 
guage that was capable of transmitting through form, color, 
and light the deepest emotions and mystical feelings of the 
Christian faith. The master's works for Alexander VII outside 
the Vatican — such as the sculptural decoration of the Chigi 
Chapel at Santa Maria del Popolo (cat. no. 31) — bear the 
imprint of the same perfervid imagination. 

The city itself, which the pope's contemporaries called 
"Roma Alessandrina," benefited from some of the seven- 
teenth century's most brilliant achievements in architecture 

and urban planning. During the pontificates of Alexander 
VII and of Clement IX (1667-69) — for whom Bernini created 
the angels of the Ponte Sant Angelo — Rome became, more 
than ever, the "first city of the world. " 01ga R ag gj 

BIBLIOGRAPHY : S. Schiiler-Piroli, 2000 Jahre Sankt Peter, Die Weltkirche von den Anfdngen 
bis zur Gegenwart, Olten, 1950, pp. 491-692; A. Schiavo, San Pietro in Vatkano. Forme e 
Strutture, Rome, 1960; P. Portoghesi, Roma Barocca. The History of an Architectonic Cul- 
ture, Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1970 ; E. M. Jung-Inglessis, St. Peter's, Florence, 
1980, pp. 7-19. 

Comparative works; J. Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo, 2 vols., 2nd rev. ed., 
London, 1964; R. Wittkower, La Cupola di San Pietro di Michelangelo, Florence, 1964; I. 
Lavin, Bernini and the Crossing of St. Peter's, New York, 1968; H. Hibbard, Carlo Maderno 
and Roman Architecture, 1580-1630, University Park, Pa., 1971; R. Wittkower, Gian Lorenzo 
Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, 3rd rev. ed., Oxford, 1981. 





Rome, c, 1632-33 

Height, with base, 39 V H " (100 an) 
Biblioteca Apostolka Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2427 

Cast in one piece with its base, this bust is a 
very fine contemporary replica of a portrait of 
the pope by Bernini, or which there are two 
marble versions: one, formerly in the Barberini 
Collection, is now in the Galleria Nazionale 
d'Ane Anlica in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome 
(R. Wittkowcr, 1981, pi. 39); the other, recently 
discovered, is in The National Gallery of Canada 
in Ottawa (R. Wittkower, 1969, p, 63). The 
surface of the bronze is of amazing freshness, 
crisply yet broadly chased; the back shows the 
tooling of the original terracotta model, which. 

most probably, was the one that Bernini used 
for the Barberini marble. The marble bust has 
been variously dated in the literature, but its 
execution in 1 632 seems certain on the basis of 
its similarity to an engraved portrait of Urban 
VIII by Claude Mellan, dated 1631, and to a 
strikingly vivid and accurate description of the 
work in a letter of 1632. The writer, Lelio 
Guidiccioni, was a friend of Bernini, and his 
words captured the essence of the pope's like- 
ness in unmistakable terms: "The bust has no 
arms, but a slight motion of the right shoulder 
and a lifting of his mozzetta, in addition to the 

inclination of the head, . . . clearly indicates the 
action of signaling with the arm to someone 
to get up." In this portrait, the pope appears 
"thoughtful yet serene, suave yet full of majesty, 
witty yet serious: he smiles and is venerable" 
(C. D'Onofrio [1967], p. 382). 

The Vatican bronze, another version of which 
is in the Palazzo Comunale in Camerino, was 
made for the Palazzo Barberini library, where it 
occupied a niche above the wooden paneling 
made by Giovan Battista Soria in 1633. The bust 
was described in 1642 by Girolamo Teti, and 
remained at the Palazzo Barberini until 1902, 
when the Vatican Library acquired the Barberini 
library, together with its paneling. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Teti, Aedes Barberinaead Quirinalem, 
Rome, 1642, p. 31; M. T. De Lotto, in Bernini in Vatkano 
(exhib, cat.), Rome, 1981, pp. 114-15. 

Comparative works cited: C. D'Onofrio, Roma vista da 
Roma, Rome |1967|; R. Wittkower, "A New Bust of 
Urban VIII by Bernini,' ' in The Burlington Magazine, 111. 
1969, p. 63; idem, Gian Lorenzo Bernini; The Sculptor of the 
Roman Baroque, 3rd rev, ed„ Oxford, 1981. 




Rome, c. 1627-28 
Terracotta, with traces of gilding 
Height, 15 Vs" (39 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2423 

Charity's stance is a spiraling contrapposto. She 
holds a large child, who is feeding at her left 
breast, while she turns her head toward a little 
boy standing to her right. Leaning against a 
downturned torch, he seems to be wiping away 
his tears. On the other side of Charity, two babies, 
crouching on the ground, embrace and kiss. 

In 1980-81, a thick coat of black paint was 
removed from the surface of the sculpture. Some 
traces of an earlier water gilding were left, 
however, as well as a gold-leaf edge applied as a 
border to Charity's garments. The back of the 
group is unfinished. The artist worked the clay 
with fingers and modeling tools, achieving an 
effect of lively, energetic contrasts between the 
deep undercutting and sharp edges of the crum- 
pled draperies and the tender surfaces of the 
naked bodies, highlighted by delicate brushwork 
— as on Charity's right shoulder — or by the ap- 
plication of a granular film of clay wash to the 
flesh of the two kissing babies. 

The technique and the amazing freshness of 
the group have precise parallels in the handling 
of some of the clay sketches by Bernini now in 
the Fogg Art Museum — especially, the sketch 
of a helmeted female figure for the memorial to 
Carlo Barberini (R. Norton, 1914, p. 46, pi. XI). 
There is no doubt, indeed, that this is one of 
Bernini's probably numerous compositional 
studies for the figure of Charity on the tomb of 
Urban VIII in Saint Peter's (R. Wittkower, 198 1, 
no. 30, pi. 49). The still Mannerist double tor- 
sion of the figure; the complication of her 
clinging, windswept garments; and the sensi- 
tive modeling of the children recall Bernini's early 
admiration for the paintings of Guido Reni and 
suggest a very early date for this study. A precise 
point of reference is offered by the two earliest 
extant drawings for the tomb: the architectur- 
al outline in the Albertina (H. Thelen, 1967, 
no. 35) and the Windsor Castle project (idem, no. 
36), both dating from 1627. In the Charity in 
the Windsor drawing, the gesture of the child 
on the left wiping a tear, and the faceted han- 
dling of the draperies recall, very closely, the 
Vatican terracotta, suggesting a similar date. This 
work was probably one of the many terracottas 
owned by Cardinal Flavio Chigi (1641-93), 
which are described in the 1692 inventory of 
his collection in the Casino at the Quattro 
Fontane (Archivio Chigi 1805, f. 275). The group 
came from the Chigi Collection to the Vatican 
Library in 1923. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Mancinelli, in Bernini in Vaticano< 
(exhib. cat.), Rome, 1981, p. 108. 
Comparative works cited: R. Norton, Bernini and Other 
Studies in the History of Art, New York, 1914; H. Thelen, 
Francesco Borromini: Die Handzeichnungen, Graz, 1967; R. 
Wittkower, Gian Lorenzo Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman 
Baroque, 3rd rev. ed., Oxford, 1981. 



Rome, c. 1634-39 

Height, 16 Vs" (41.6 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2422 

In 1982, a thick coat of black paint was removed 
from the surface of this sculpture group, 
revealing the buff color of the terracotta and 
some minor firing cracks and repairs. The group 
is unfinished on the back, but on the front the 
draperies and the flesh areas seem to have been 
smoothed over with the fingers for a more unified 
effect. Although the composition corresponds 
very closely to Bernini's marble version on the 
tomb of Urban VIII in Saint Peter's (R. Wittkower, 
1981, no. 30, pi. 49), there are significant differ- 
ences in detail: both Charity and the sleeping 
baby have more pointed features than the mar- 
ble figures, and the crying infant clings to her 
more closely, pulling his arm across his tearful 
face rather than raising his arm toward her. Thus, 
the terracotta clearly must be understood as a 
nearly final modello, immediately preceding its 
execution in marble. 

The changes between this group and the earli- 
er sketch (cat. no. 27) show Bernini's progress 
from a still conventional, fragmented, and es- 
sentially Mannerist formula toward a strongly 
monumental composition. The windswept drap- 
eries of the first Charity have now become more 
ponderous, cradling the infant who has fallen 
asleep while feeding. By simplifying the pose, 
as well as the component elements of Charity, 
Bernini conveys the feeling of her all-embracing 
maternal nature: a powerfully controlled crea- 
tion, she has been organically related to the over- 
all architecture of the papal monument. 

Construction of the tomb of Urban VIII last- 
ed from 1628 to 1647, when the finished monu- 
ment was unveiled. During the initial phase of 
the project, Bernini worked briefly on the model 
of the statue of Urban VIII. This may have been 
finished in April 1631, but he kept restudying 
the compositions of the two allegories for sev- 
eral more years. According to a document of 
March 25, 1630 (O. Pollak, 2, 1931, p. 602), 
Bernini had not yet decided whether Charity 
was to be accompanied by two or three children, 
but since, in 1639, work was begun in earnest 
on the marble block, a date of 1634-39 seems 
to be the most likely for the Vatican modello. 

The group came to the Vatican Library from 
the Chigi Collection in 1923. It was probably 
one of the many terracottas assembled by Cardi- 
nal Flavio Chigi, which are described in the 1692 
inventory of the Casino at the Quattro Fontane 
(Archivio Chigi 1805, f. 275). 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. T. De Lotto, in Bernini in Vaticano 
(exhib. cat.), Rome, 1981, pp. 108-9. 

Comparative works cited: O. Pollak, Die Kunsttatigkeit unter 
Urban VIII, 2 vols., Vienna, 1928, 1931; R. Wittkower, Gian 
Lorenzo Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, 3rd 
rev. ed., Oxford, 1981. 




c. 1635 

Oil on canvas 

Height, 26 W (67. 7cm); width, 19 "Ae " (50 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 2409 

This picture was discovered in the storage rooms 
of the Floreria Apostolica in 1979, and was re- 
stored the same year. Only the background had 
been slightly damaged. There are no markings 
that might provide a clue to the painting's 

The work represents the bust of a young man 
of about twenty years of age, with what appears 
to be a cloak draped on his right shoulder. The 
light enters from the left, leaving the left side of 
the face completely in shadow. The likeness is 
in the form of a sketch, as though it were a stu- 
dio design destined to remain as such. It dis- 
plays an extremely sober chromatic range, lim- 
ited to a few basic tones, with slightly reddish 
vibrations showing, even in the parts hit by 
reflected light. The highly plastic figure of the 
young man is modeled in broad, firm strokes, 
with a flat brush, and the dark red preparation 
of the background is used to good advantage 
for the parts in shadow — as in Poussin. Stylisti- 
cally, the painting can be placed within Bernini's 
circle, and, insofar as qualitative level, sureness 
of brushstroke, and expressive intensity are 
concerned, it may be attributed to Bernini, 
himself, rather than to artists of his entourage, 
such as Carlo Pellegrini or Francesco Mola, or 
to such a weak follower as Giacinto Brandi. The 
bearing of the figure is in the style of Bernini, 
very similar to his Bust of Costanza Buonarelli 
(which dates to about the mid- 1630s) and to the 
Portrait of Bernini Dressed as Saint George (of about 
1635) by Pellegrini, one of Bernini's assistants 
in the thirties; the latter portrait was executed, 
according to V. Martinelli ("Le pitture del 
Bernini," in Commentari, I, 1950, p. 100), fol- 
lowing preliminary suggestions from Bernini. The 
outline, in particular, in Pellegrini's portrait is 
identical to that of the Vatican head, and the 
mannerisms in the rendering of certain details — 
for example, the musculature of the neck — are 
analogous. The style of brushstroke and the chro- 
matic range are completely different, however, 
and reveal the work of the assistant. The impas- 
to and the use of light in the Vatican picture are 
close to another work, the result of a Bernini- 
Pellegrini collaboration: The Martyrdom of Saint 
Maurice, painted between 1636 and 1640 for 
Saint Peter's. Specifically, the analogies concern 
the heads of the two armed men on the right 
side of the painting; they are completely different, 
stylistically and technically, from all the others, 
and were probably done by Bernini, himself (cf. 
F. Mancinelli, "Carlo Pellegrini, Gian Lorenzo 
Bernini. II Martirio di S. Maurizio," entry, 1981, 
no. 39, pp. 65-66). Also typical of Bernini in 
the Vatican painting are some light brushstrokes 
along the right side of the face, which detach 
the head from the background — not unlike the 
effect in the Small Portrait of a Child, in the Gal- 
leria Borghese, which Grassi (Bernini Pittore, 

Rome, 1945, p. 24) restored to Bernini. 

The Bust of a Young Man in the Pinacoteca 
Vaticana is, therefore, a rare example of a picto- 
rial effort by the master, and forms part of those 
studies of which the Head of an Old Man — 
perhaps a Saint Paul — (now in a private collec- 
tion) is a much later example. Chromatically 
and technically still under the influence of The 
Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus by Poussin (see cat. 
no. 86), Bernini's treatment of light in the Bust 
of a Young Man anticipates Velazquez's Self-Portrait 
(in the Galleria Borghese) and is, therefore, dat- 
able to about 1635. The identity of the subject 
remains unknown, but, as Maurizio Marini 
suggests, a certain family resemblance makes one 
think that he was a close relative of Bernini. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Mancinelli, "Gian Lorenzo Bernini— 
Busto di giovane," entry in Bernini in Vatkano (exhib. cat.), 
Rome, 1981, no. 40, pp. 68-69. 



Rome, c. 1644-45 

Height, 19 Vie " (48. 7cm); width, 18 % " (47. 8 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2426 

When the group was cleaned in 1982, and a 
coat of brown paint was removed from its 
surface, a pale, buff- colored terracotta and some 
minor repairs were revealed. The smooth, sensi- 
tive modeling of the figures — with their long, 
nervous fingers and limbs — and their delicately 
differentiated textures confirm the attribution of 
this terracotta to Algardi, as suggested by Olga 


Raggio (1971) and, independently, by Jennifer 
Montagu (1972). Yet, even more convincing 
than the facture of the sculpture is the purely 
Algardian character of the group: a carefully 
studied composition, whose two figures have 
been developed along a series of intersecting 
diagonal lines, offering multiple views from the 
front as well as from the back. The vibrant, 
sympathetic dialogue of the forms, beautifully 
expressed by the vivacity of the poses and the 
extraordinary animation of the draperies, recalls 
the best qualities of Algardi's drawings, as well 
as many details of his bronze statuettes, such as 
the Saint Michael and the Devil (in the Museo 
Civico in Bologna). The Baptism group looks 
forward, also, to Algardi's most famous two- 

figure composition: the monumental marble 
relief of The Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila 
in Saint Peter's, a commission for which the 
sculptor supplied models as early as 1646. The 
Vatican terracotta, unfortunately, has lost the 
small angel that was poised, as if in flight, over 
the rock below Jesus, linking the two figures 
above the waters of the river and adding to the 
picturesque animation of the group. We know 
of its existence, for it is described in a seven- 
teenth-century inventory and is preserved in a 
particularly fine bronze version, with the arms 
of the Franzoni family, in The Cleveland Museum 
of Art (J. Montagu, 1972, pp. 65, 76, fig. 1). 

The style of the terracotta, which is typical of 
Algardi's work in the 1640s, suggests that it is a 

study for a now-lost silver group of the Baptism 
of Christ, which the artist made shortly after the 
election of Pope Innocent X (1644-55). The 
work was presented to the pontiff, who was 
especially pleased with it, since it was an allu- 
sion to his name — Giovanni Battista Pamphili — 
and to his patron saint. In his will, Algardi left 
the terracotta model for this group to his patron 
and executor, Monsignor Cristofano Segni. After 
the death of Segni, about 1780, the model was 
sent to Bologna and was still in the Segni Collec- 
tion, where it was seen by Marcello Oretti. It 
cannot, therefore, be identified with the Vatican 
terracotta, which, most likely, is the work de- 
scribed in an inventory of about 1666 of the 
collection of Cardinal Flavio Chigi in the Casino 


of the Quattro Fontane as "un battesimo di S. 
Gio Battista di terracotta alto pal. doi" (Archivio 
Chigi 702, f. 1 16 v.). The present group came to 
the Vatican from the Chigi Collection in 1923. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Raggio, "Alessandro Algardi e gli stuc- 
chi di Villa Pamphili," in Paragone, 251, 1971, pp. 16-17; 
J. Montagu, "Le Bapteme du Christ d'Alessandro Algardi," 
in Revue de I' Art, 15, 1972, pp. 64-78. 



Rome, c. 1655 

Height, 16 Vs" (41.6 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2424 

In 1980-81, a coat of black paint was removed 
from the surface of this terracotta, revealing 
modeling of great subtlety and smoothness. Al- 
though this statuette is considerably more 
finished than other surviving sketch-models by 
Bernini, it is clearly a preparatory study for the 
marble statue of Daniel commissioned in 1655 
by Pope Alexander VII for the Chigi Chapel at 
Santa Maria del Popolo and installed there in 
1657. Five preparatory drawings by Bernini for 
the Daniel survive in Leipzig (I. Lavin et al., 1981, 
pp. 164-69, nos. 32-36), and the present terra- 
cotta is related to one of them (no. 33). 

In the Daniel and its pendant statue of Habak- 
kuk and the Angel (see cat. no. 32), Bernini 
evoked the story of the two prophets as recount- 
ed in Bel and the Dragon, the third apocryphal 
addition to the Book of Daniel. There, it is told 
how the Prophet Daniel was cast into the lions' 
den by the Babylonians, but was saved by the 
Lord and nourished by the Prophet Habakkuk, 
who, miraculously, was transported to Daniel's 
cave by an angel. The story, which is read in the 
Catholic Liturgy on the Tuesday before Palm 
Sunday, was considered a prefiguration of the 
Resurrection of Christ, as well as a symbol of 
salvation through the Eucharist. Bernini's visual- 
ization of the two prophets was deeply influenced 
by these concepts. In the Vatican model, Daniel's 
slender body appears to rise toward a vision, to 
be enveloped by a spiritual breeze, his drapery 
flickering across his body like a flame. In trying 
out his composition in the malleable medium 
of clay, Bernini seems to have sought a serpentine 
outline and a luminous smoothness of masses 
that helped him to achieve the plastic definition 
of his final composition in marble. The terracotta 
was described in the 1692 inventory of the 
collection of Cardinal Flavio Chigi in the Casino 
at the Quattro Fontane (Archivio Chigi 1805, f. 
275) as "un modello del Danielle di terracotta 
del Popolo, fatto dal Bernini. " It came from the 
Chigi Collection to the Vatican Library in 1923. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Mancinelli and M. T. De Lotto, in 
Bernini in Vaticano (exhib. cat.), Rome, 1981, pp. 126-27. 

Comparative work cited: I. Lavin et al., Drawings by 
Gianlorenzo Bernini from the Museum der Bildenden Ktinste 
Leipzig, German Democratic Republic (exhib. cat.), The Art 
Museum, Princeton University, 1981. 




Rome, c. 1655 

Height, 20 Vi" (52 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2425 

When the terracotta was cleaned in 1980-81, 
a coat of black paint was removed from its 
surface. A highly finished sculpture — except for 
the back, which was left partly in the rough — 
this figure of Habakkuk corresponds so closely 
to Bernini's marble in the Chigi Chapel at Santa 
Maria del Popolo that it cannot be considered a 
preparatory study. Yet, the quality of its model- 
ing has so much in common with that of 
Bernini's statuette of Daniel (see cat. no. 31) 
that we should assume that this group served as 
a finished modello, or, possibly, as a presentation 
piece. Another example of a similarly highly 
finished modello by Bernini is his terracotta 
bozzetto of The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (of 
1671 -74) , recently acquired by the Victoria and 
Albert Museum (M. E Mezzatesta, 1982, no. 10). 

The Habakkuk group, which is slightly larger 
than the average Bernini sketch-model, conveys 
all the complexity and subtlety of the artist's 
invention. Habakkuk surrenders to the will of the 
angel, who is about to lift him by his hair and 
transport him to Daniel's cave. The tension ex- 
pressed by their meeting gazes, the contrast 
between the powerful physique of the prophet 
and the supernatural grace of the angel, the 
expressivity of the tightly bunched and cascad- 
ing draperies, the play of intersecting diagonal 
lines — all owe much to Bernini's earlier por- 
trayals of mystical experiences, such as the Saint 
Longinus and The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. Habak- 
kuk and the Angel was described in an inventory 
of about 1666 of Cardinal Flavio Chigi's collec- 
tion at the Casino of the Quattro Fontane as 
"una figura di terra cotta alta pal: doi e mezzo 
in circa rappresenta un vecchio con un'Angelo 
che lo tiene per gli capelli" (Archivio Chigi 702, 
f. 116 v.). It came from the Chigi Collection to 
the Vatican Library in 1923. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E Mancinelli and M. T. De Lotto, in 
Bernini in Vaticano (exhib. cat.), Rome, 1981, pp. 127-28. 

Comparative work cited: M. E Mezzatesta, The Art of Gian 
Lorenzo Bernini, Selected Sculpture (exhib. cat.), Kimbell Art 
Museum, Fort Worth, 1982. 

Corpus: designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini 

(1598-1680); modeled in wax by Ercole 

Ferrata (1610-1686); cast by Paolo Camieri; 

chased by Bartolomeo Cennini 
Base and cross: designed by Gian Lorenzo 

Bernini; cast, after a wooden model, by 

Giovanni Maria Giorgietti 
Rome, 1657-61 

Cross: bronze; corpus and superscription: gilt 

Height: corpus, 16 'Vie" (43 cm); cross, 73 " (185 cm) 
Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro 

Despite the many hands involved in its crea- 
tion, this gilt-bronze "dead Christ" preserves the 
moving spirituality and the formal nobility of 
Bernini's original design, A mystical meditation 
upon the meaning of Christ's consummated 
sacrifice, this crucifix is very close to the almost 
contemporary "dead Christ" crucifix held by 
Bernini's Saint Jerome, in the Chigi Chapel of 
the cathedral of Siena (R. Wittkower, 1981, pi. 
92). It prefigures the emotional intensity of his 
Sangue di Cr'tsto composition, of 1670 (I. Lavin, 

1972, p. 158, fig. 1). Although many casts were 
made of the crucifixes for Saint Peter's, they were 
all finished and chased with great care, their 
sharply tooled surfaces designed to catch the 
light of the nearby candles. Quite probably, they 
were individually approved by Bernini. The con- 
trast between the gold of the corpus and the 
coppery finish of the cross, and the strongly 
molded architectural oudine of the base — which 
matches the profiles of the accompanying candle- 
sticks — are typical of the sumptuous and sol- 
emn taste of Alexander VII, a pontiff who took 
an intense, day-to-day, personal interest in all 
details of the great artistic projects that he asked 
Bernini to undertake. This particular cross comes 
from the altar of San Leone Magno in Saint 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Battaglia, Croafissi del Bernini in S. 
Pietro in Vaticano, Rome, 1942; R. Wittkower, Gian Lorenzo 
Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, 3rd rev. cd., 
Oxford, 1981. p. 229; M, Worsdale, in Bernini in Vatkano 
(cxhib. cat.), Rome, 1981, no. 274, pp. 270-71. 

Comparative work cited: t. Lavin, "Bernini's Death," in 
The Art Bulletin. LIV, 1972. 




From its very beginning, the Apostolic See amassed 
an extensive assortment of books and archives about 
which early documentation is quite scarce. Many 
times scattered, the collections took years to build 
up again. The modern Biblioteca Vaticana, heir to 
the ancient papal libraries, dates to the fifteenth 
century — more precisely, to the pontificate of the humanist 
pope Nicholas V (1447-55), an impassioned collector of an- 
cient texts, who, at his death, left more than 1,500 manuscripts, 
many of which he had had copied in the famous Florentine 
workshop of Vespasiano da Bisticci. Already, at that time, 
the library of Nicholas V was the greatest in Europe. Even 
though partly dispersed, it forms the nucleus of the present 
Vatican Library. 

It was Sixtus IV ( 1471 -84) , however, who was the library's 
true founder, and his papal bull of June 15, 1475, 'Ad decorem 
militantis Ecclesiae," established its functions: "for the pro- 
motion of the Catholic faith, for the use of scholars and for 
the renown of the Roman Pontiff." The pope personally en- 
dowed the newly created institution, and named as its librari- 
an the humanist Bartolomeo Sacchi, best known as Platina. 
The library was assigned four rooms on the ground floor of 
the palace of Nicholas V. In a fresco now in the Pinacoteca 
Vaticana, Melozzo da Forli immortalized Platina's nomination 
(fig. 26). The librarian kneels before the enthroned pontiff, 
who is surrounded by his relatives, including Giuliano della 
Rovere, the future Pope Julius II (1503-13). 

The library remained in this location for more than a 
century. Its burgeoning collections necessitated transfer to a 
new home, which Sixtus V ( 1 58 5-90) had the palace architect, 
Domenico Fontana (fig. 27), build, across from the Cortile 
del Belvedere, along the wide stairway leading to the Cortile 
della Pigna. The library has since expanded, first into the 
west wing that encloses the Cortile del Belvedere, begun in 
the time of Pius IV (1560-65), and, later, into the facing wing. 
Transferred to the area immediately below this by Leo XIII 

(1878-1903) and modernized by Pius XI (1922- 39), who 
had been its prefect, the library gained four floors of storage 
space through the efforts of Paul VI (1963-78). Preparations 
for additional space recently have begun. 

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana currently houses more 
than 70,000 volumes of manuscripts, 100,000 individual 
autographs, about 7,000 incunabula and one million vol- 
umes printed later, 100,000 engravings and maps, thousands 
of parchments, and tens of thousands of archival volumes 
and files. This immense bibliographic resource is always avail- 
able to scholars, who come from all over the world to draw 
upon it (fig. 29). 

The magnificently frescoed Salone Sistino and the two 
galleries leading from it, for some time, have been of the 
most conspicuous artistic interest in the library, and are open 
to all visitors to the Vatican Museums. Among the works of 
art in these rooms are busts and statues of the Roman period, 
papal busts, terracotta models, and the Treasury of the Sanc- 
ta Sanctorum, a group of precious objects from the Early 
Middle Ages. Globes and scientific instruments shown here 
include two large planispheres; one of them, the work of 
Girolamo da Verrazzano, brother of Giovanni, contains the 
first depiction of the Atlantic coast of North America. There 
are textiles and vestments dating back to the earliest centu- 
ries of the Church, liturgical objects, and an array of gifts 
sent to the popes over the course of the last two centuries by 
world leaders and dignitaries. There is no lack of instructive 
curiosities, as, for instance, the very strange-looking machine 
invented by Bramante to stamp documents with the papal 
bull, or the more recently added fragments of lunar rock that 
commemorate Apollo XI's voyage to the moon. 

The artistic strengths of the Biblioteca Vaticana, however, 
are found in the Museo Sacro and the Museo Profano, the 
first museums in the Vatican opened to the public, and the 
core around which the imposing complex of Vatican Mu- 
seums, as they exist today, was gradually formed. 




The custom of keeping works of art and antiqui- 
ties in libraries, alongside books and manuscripts, 
goes very far back in time. So it was at the Vatican. 
Marble statues, among them the famous Hippoly- 
tus, adorned the Salone Sistino almost from the 
date of its construction. Mainly for decorative purposes, a 
number of ancient vases were soon lined up along the shelves 
containing manuscripts. Collections of coins and medals, as- 
tronomical instruments, and the gleanings of naturalists — even 
a botanical garden — were all housed in the library at one 
time or another. 

The formation of a proper museum did not occur until 
the pontificate of Benedict XIV ( 1 740- 58), who founded the 
Museo Sacro (fig. 28), or, more accurately, the Museo Cristi- 
ano, in the Vatican Library. Illustrious precedents were not 
lacking; there was the "Metallotheca Vaticana," one of the 
first and most extensive collections of natural history speci- 
mens, scientifically catalogued by the papal physician Michele 
Mercati and exhibited by order of Saint Pius V (1566-72) in 
several rooms near the palace of Innocent VIII, later occu- 
pied by the Museo Pio-Clementino. There was also the Museo 
Ecclesiastico of Clement XI (1700-1721), created to house 



the collection of Roman and Christian antiquities assembled 
by Francesco Bianchini but dissolved shortly thereafter. These 
collections were substantially different in character from the 
semiprivate ones formed by Julius II, or from the coins and 
objects garnered by Marcellus II (1555), for example. 

The grand collections of antiquities for which Renais- 
sance Rome was celebrated grew in importance during the 
seventeenth century, through the efforts of the princes and 
cardinals of the new papal families — chiefly the Barberini, 
Chigi, and Albani. In the eighteenth century, the extraordi- 
nary passion for excavations and epigraphical studies, char- 
acteristic Roman pursuits of the day, gave rise to important 
archaeological discoveries and the exploration of the cata- 
combs. Aside from officially authorized excavations, others 
were initiated by private citizens motivated by the widespread 
enthusiasm for collecting and, especially, by the demand for 
antiquities on the international market. Many of the discover- 
ies were dispersed throughout Europe, despite the existence 
of laws designed to stem the outflow of art objects. These 
laws were renewed and toughened by the popes during the 
eighteenth century, but with little effect. 

The prevailing attitude toward collecting focused not so 
much on the aesthetic merits of an object as on its documen- 
tary value. Museums were seen as a check on the dispersal 
of such a heritage of documentation, whereby the objects 
would be preserved for present and future study. This ex- 
plains the particular care taken in assembling the host of 
Early Christian inscriptions and memorials that came to light 
when the catacombs were excavated, for they testified elo- 
quently to the examples of the martyrs. 

The papacy of Benedict XIV — friend to scholars and a 
dedicated scholar, himself — provided the ideal atmosphere 
for realizing the cherished project of a Museo Cristiano. Ben- 
edict recognized it as a necessity, and "a work worthy of a 
pope and of Rome. " A museum of sacred antiquities that 
would be a counterpart to the secular holdings of the muse- 
ums of the Campidoglio was supported by archaeologists 
and cultivated amateurs such as Scipione Maffei, Giuseppe 
Bianchini, and Giovanni Bottari, the Vatican librarian. As 
the Oratorian monk Bianchini urged the pope: "In the muse- 
um founded by you, Most Blessed Father, by figuring the 
terms of the consuls whose names are registered on the tombs 
of many martyrs, we could count the persecutions of the 
Caesars; so that for the first five centuries of the Christian 
era, we shall proceed with uncertainty no more, as formerly, 
but on an easy road, smoothed by the gravestones of the 
ancient Christians. " 

Bottari outlined a program, observing that once all the 
remains were assembled the result would be "one of the most 
sumptuous Museums of Christian erudition — which, were it 
to be enriched by all the instruments of the martyrdoms, all 
the lanterns, the glassware, a hundredfold of terracotta seals, 
the vases, tools, and utensils without number . . . would be 
one of the great wonders of the world. " He then proposed to 



install the new museum in a stable and secure place, spa- 
cious and easy of access, as in one of those endless corridors 
in the Vatican Palace, precisely "that vast one in front of the 
great Library. " 

The pope, who, at first, had thought of setting up this 
museum on the Campidoglio — where he had already orga- 
nized a paintings gallery and had increased, considerably, the 
existing collections of antiquities — acceded to Bottari's sug- 
gestions. He decided to create a museum in a space fashioned 
at one end of the Gallery of Urban VIII in the Vatican Library, 
which previously had housed such notable antiquities as the 
famous Albani Collection of medallions, bought in 1738 by 
Clement XII (1730-40), and the Etruscan vases of Cardinal 
Filippo Antonio Gualterio. 

In 1 74 1 , the library was further enriched with the impor- 
tant collection of Cardinal Gaspare di Carpegna, who had 
been Vicar of Rome from 1671 to 1714. The collection included 
funerary lamps and other objects from the catacombs; coins 
and medals; countless Roman vases, busts, and statues; as 
well as paintings and drawings by major artists. To the same 
period dates the acquisition of the lead seals collected by 
Francesco Ficoroni, a dealer famous in his day, and the casts 
with the impressions of more than 6,500 cameos, owned by 

the painter and architect Pier Leone Ghezzi. The papal coins 
collected by Saverio Scilla and the gold glass that once be- 
longed to Senator Filippo Buonarroti further augmented this 
antiquarian assemblage, which was added to by papal pur- 
chases and gifts. The whole was installed in the northern wing 
of the library, facing the Belvedere, completed by Clement 
XII and referred to as the "Museo Vaticano" in contempo- 
rary documents, as well as in a large dedicatory inscription 
placed there in 1749. 

The arrival of another collection, that of Francesco Vettori, 
containing clay lamps, cameos, coins, seals, weights and rings, 
gold glass, images of Christ in various materials, and other 
sacred antiquities, hastened the construction deadline for the 
new museum, for whose embellishment Pope Benedict XIV 
hired the best- known artists of the day. The entrance was 
ennobled by the palace architect Paolo Posi's theatrical per- 
spective of marble columns, at the center of which was the 
papal coat of arms, flanked by ancient statues. Stefano Pozzi 
decorated the ceiling of the room with images of Faith and 
the Church Triumphant. Along the walls were ranged twenty 
massive walnut bookcases with gilt-bronze mounts, made 
especially for the occasion. Later on, the bookcases were 
crowned with small bronze busts of the first twenty-four 


cardinal-librarians, the work of Luigi Valadier. 

On October 4, 1757, with the publication of his apos- 
tolic letter "Ad optimarum artium," Benedict XIV decreed the 
opening of the Vatican Museums for "publico Litteratorum 
commodo." A few days earlier, he had named Vettori as 
•their "prefect and curator for life. " 

Many more objects were to enrich the museum, among 
them, gold glass from the Chigi Collection; the antiquities 
collected by Gori of Florence, including important ivory 
diptychs; inscriptions and tombstones gathered from all over 
Rome by Giuseppe Bianchini; and a number of Early Chris- 
tian sarcophagi removed from churches, convents, and villas, 
and later restored by the sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. The 
majority of the inscriptions and reliefs were framed and then 
walled in above the bookcases. These stone slabs became a 
special form of decoration, cut, as they were, from sarcophagi, 
and exhibited in a strictly symmetrical way. Unfortunately, 
this display necessitated dividing up monuments, assembling 
others out of sections from different objects, and even filling 
in missing pieces, making identification of the original works 
of art virtually impossible. 

Vettori went on adding new collections, including that 
of Giuseppe Simone Assemani, who had been the library's 
primo custode, or first keeper. A major addition, it comprised 
sacred antiquities, many of Eastern origin. 

Further gains were made by Benedict's successors. Under 
Pius VII (1800-1823), paintings with religious subjects, from 
the collection of the lawyer Agostino Mariotti, were added 
(1820). The pontificate of Gregory XVI (1831-46) saw the 
arrival of several collections, notably the gems belonging to 
Cardinal Zurla, and ancient Near Eastern seals carved in pre- 
cious stones, given by the Polish Jesuit missionary Massimi- 
liano Ryllo, upon his return from Persia. There were also 
direct purchases. The paintings collection grew steadily, on 
the initiative of Monsignor Gabriele Laureani, another primo 
custode, who added altarpieces from churches and convents 
in the papal states. 

The excavations in the catacombs continued, systemati- 
cally, to yield up their treasures during the lengthy reign of 
Pius IX (1846-78), founder of the Pontificia Commissione 
per l'Archeologia Sacra. Meanwhile, the archaeologist Gio- 
vanni Battista De Rossi, Prefect of the Museo Cristiano, re- 
organized the contents of the museum according to an 
updated cataloguing system. 

Leo XIII institutionalized the policy of transferring gifts 
offered to the pope to the library museums. 

It was under Saint Pius X (1903-14) that the Museo 
Sacro was endowed with the incomparable Treasury of the 
Sancta Sanctorum, a unique concentration of Early Chris- 
tian objects. Discovered in 1903 in a large cypress chest within 
the altar of the Lateran Oratory of San Lorenzo, at the top 
of the Scala Santa, the Treasury consists of reliquaries, ivories, 
enamels, textiles (see cat. nos. 37-39), and liturgical 
vestments, some dating to the first centuries. Also found in 
the Treasury were the "brandea," or strips of linen, that were 
especially revered for having touched the bodies of the mar- 
tyrs persecuted by the Romans. Transferred in 1906 to the 
Vatican, the Treasury was not exhibited publicly until 1934, 


in the reign of Pius XL At his urging, a total reorganization of 
the much-expanded Museo Sacro was undertaken in 1937. 
From 1964, the Treasury of the Sancta Sanctorum has been 
displayed in the chapel of Saint Pius V, an elegant space that 
had been frescoed by Giorgio Vasari and his assistants with 
scenes from the life of Saint Peter Martyr. 

There are two other areas of exceptional interest in the 
Museo Sacro. Under Clement XIV (1769-74), a new room, 
the Gabinetto dei Papiri, was planned by the Cardinal-Librarian 
Alessandro Albani to display the papyrus scrolls from 
Ravenna, dating from the sixth to the ninth century. The deco- 
ration was completed during the papacy of Pius VI (1775-99), 
as was that of the contemporaneous Museo Profano. The 
ceiling by Anton Raphael Mengs is a fine display of neoclas- 
sical allegory: History leans upon a defeated Time, while Fame 
sounds the trumpet and indicates the door to the "Museo 
Clementinum. " Today, the scrolls are stored in the library 
proper, and the gallery contains the collection of gold glass 
from the catacombs. 

From the Gabinetto dei Papiri, one enters the noble Sala 
delle Nozze Aldobrandine, named after a Roman fresco that 
was found on the Aventine in the early seventeenth century — 
and which has become world famous as The Aldobrandini 
Wedding — showing the preparations for a nuptial ceremony. 
Pius VI acquired it from the Aldobrandini estate and, at first, 
placed it in the Borgia Apartment. The Sala delle Nozze Aldo- 
brandine, to which Gregory XVI had the fresco moved in 
1838, dates to the time of Paul V (1605-21). Its ceiling is 
frescoed with episodes from the life of Samson, by Guido 
Reni, and among the Roman frescoes in the room is the 
Eroine di Tor Marancia, discovered in a house near the Porta 
San Sebastiano in 1816. Pius IX added a group of frescoed 
scenes from the Odyssey in 1853 and other ancient paintings 
and mosaics. 



Even after the founding of the Museo Sacro, works of 
art continued to be exhibited in other parts of the 
Vatican Library. For example, most of the Carpegna 
Collection of cameos, ivories, and bronzes never 
became part of the Museo Sacro, but was shown 
instead, along with the Albani medallions, in the Galleria 
Clementina, in the north wing of the library, near the Cortile 
della Pigna. 

The Museo Profano was organized under Clement XIII 
(1758-69) in a space that was created by closing off some 
arches overlooking the Cortile della Pigna. The walls and 
pavement were inlaid with a profusion of costly marbles, 
and the ceiling was frescoed also by Pozzi, with an allegory 
of the Spirit of Rome wresting some ancient relics from the 
hands of Time. Niches beside the entrances were designed to 
hold busts of the orators and philosophers of antiquity; today, 
they contain bronze heads of the emperors Augustus, Nero, 
and Septimius Severus, and of the consul Caelius Balbinus. 
Along the side are two large cabinets with marble shelves 
and doors of gilt glass. There were two other elegant cabi- 
nets: one, of Indian Ficus wood, the gift of Cardinal Albani, 
was filled with medals; the other, lined in yellow Portuguese 
wood, was surmounted with metal and stone busts and 
statuettes. Mosaics with turquoise backgrounds, found at 
Herculaneum, were set above the cabinets. Today, the mosaics 
are gone, but a fresco of the Museo Profano, in the apartment 
of Cardinal Zelada — now the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco — 
provides a clue to their appearance. 

Above the door in the Museo Profano is the coat of arms 
of Clement XIII, inscribed with the name of the pope and 
the date, 1767, when the museum was founded — the result 
of the efforts of Cardinal Albani, the passionate connoisseur 
and Vatican librarian, who was responsible for naming 
the renowned archaeologist J. J. Winckelmann as its first 

Another inscription, in bronze, commemorates Pius VI, 
to whom we owe the appearance of the room as it is now. 
He had the old iron doors of the large cabinets replaced with 
the present ones, which bear his arms in gilt bronze, and he 
commissioned Andrea Mimmi to build four new cabinets, 
based on designs by Luigi Valadier, using precious woods 
that, originally, had been brought from Brazil to decorate the 
Sacristy of Saint Peter's. A signal accomplishment of Pius 
VI — one that gives the Museo Profano much of its present 
luster — was to put Valadier, a splendid silversmith, in charge 
of refashioning the mountings of the cameos and hard-stones. 
In 1779, Valadier was made "Superintendent for the restora- 
tion of the ancient bronzes and the mounting of cameos in 
both the Museo Sacro and the Museo Profano," and he took 
full advantage of the opportunity to create totally new works 

of art. He had the largest cameos framed in gold and silver, 
flanked by statuettes and colonnettes, and studded with gems, 
lesser cameos, gold medallions, and various friezes, combin- 
ing the ancient and the modern. They were set upon pedes- 
tals and bases of precious marbles. Smaller cameos were 
grouped in twos and threes on metal pedestals, with a corre- 
spondingly less sumptuous treatment. 

Ivory carvings and rock crystals, previously in the 
Carpegna Collection, were incorporated into the doors of the 
large cabinets. Many of the ivories, in order to fit, were cut 
up and resectioned, making identification of the originals 
rather difficult. 

Luigi Valadier was succeeded by his son Giuseppe, a 
well-known architect and the designer of several study cabi- 
nets for coins. It was his special task to mount the large 
Hellenistic cameo that had belonged to the Gonzaga and then 
to Queen Christina of Sweden, and which Pius VI had bought 
in 1794 from Prince Odescalchi for 20,000 scudi. 

Unfortunately, most of these glorious objects were dis- 
persed, together with the medals collection, when the Vati- 
can Library was sacked by General Berthier and his officers 
during the French occupation of Rome in 1797. Other 
treasures, such as the famous Albani medallions, were trans- 
ferred to Paris, under the terms of the infamous Treaty of 
Tolentino (1797) — never to return. The engravings commis- 
sioned by Pius VI from the Calcografia Camerale in 1784 are 
a pale reminder of the Museo Profano's original holdings; 
the 250 prints reproduce more than 585 objects, of which at 
least 200 are cameos with their special mounts. 

Despite the greed of the invaders, many treasures es- 
caped the pillaging because they were hidden or stored 
elsewhere. Remaining in the Museo Sacro were hard-stone 
and marble busts and reliefs, bronze statuettes, and, above 
all, those objects that were incorporated in the cabinet doors. 
Little else was returned after Napoleon's fall and its aftermath, 
so that the Museo Profano has not regained its former splendor. 
The Museo Sacro has, however, expanded beyond the limits 
implied by its name, its collections encompassing objects and 
antiquities of a more varied character and origin. 

Giovanni Morello 

BIBLIOGRAPHY : S . Le Grelle, ' ' Saggio storico delle collezioni numismatiche vaticane, ' ' 
in C. Serafini, Le monete e le bolle plumbee pontificie del Medagliere Vaticano . . . , Milan, 
1910; idem, Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, V, Guida alle Gallerie di Piltura, Rome, 
1925; C. Pietrangeli, "II Museo Clementino Vaticano," in Rendiconti della Pontificia 
Accademia Romana di Archeologia, XXVII, 1951-52, pp. 87-109; R. Righetti, "Le Opere 
di glittica dei Musei annessi alia Biblioteca Vaticana," in Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia 
Romana di Archeologia, XVIII, 1955-56, pp. 279-348; C. Pietrangeli, "I Musei Vaticani 
al tempo di Pio VI," in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 1, 2, 1959-74, 
pp. 7-45; J. Ruysschaert, "The Apostolic Vatican Library," in The Vatican and Chris- 
tian Rome, Vatican City, 1975, pp. 307-33; G. Daltrop and A. Prandi, in Art Treasures 
of the Vatican Library, New York, n.d.; G. Morello, "II Museo 'Cristiano' di Benedetto XIV," 
in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, II, 1981, pp. 53-89. 





Alexandria, first half of the 3rd century a. d. 
Glass and gold foil 
Diameter, 4 W (10.8cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 743 

The disk containing the portraits and the in- 
scription is intact; its periphery and part of the 
rim on the underside — which, originally, formed 
the foot of the vessel — are fragmentary. There is 
some discoloration, mostly around the border. 

The husband and wife are portrayed frontally 
before a parapet. She wears a tunic and a palla 
knotted at the breast, while he is dressed in a 
tunic and pallium from which his right hand, 
posed in a gesture of speech, emerges. The 
woman's hair is parted in the middle, drawn 
back loosely over her ears and gathered at the 
nape of her neck. The husband has short hair 
and a close-clipped moustache. Just within the 
band surrounding the portrait, at the top, is the 
Latin inscription gregoribibe[e]tpropinatvis • , 
which Georg Daltrop and Adriano Prandi read 
as "Gregori bibe [e]t propina tuis" ("Gregory, 
drink and drink to thine"). 

The details of the costumes and coiffures, and 
the naturalistic, classicizing style of this double 
portrait, are extremely close to those of the "gold- 
glass" portrait in the center of the third-century 
gemmed cross in the Museo Civico in Brescia, 
thus suggesting a comparable third-century date 
for the Vatican example. This medallion is one 
of the finest extant in the "brushed technique," 
in which the shadows producing the modeling 
are made by a moderately stiff brush. The tech- 
nique, which was reserved for portraits, is 
thought to exemplify Alexandrian workmanship, 
either as practiced in Egypt or by immigrant art- 
ists living in Rome. 

"Gold glass" was made by attaching a gold- 
leaf silhouette to a background of clear or blue 
glass by means of a transparent glue — sometimes 
honey — and then scratching the design into the 
gold leaf with a needle. A second piece of glass 
was then fused over the top to protect the work. 
Fragments of gold-glass drinking vessels fre- 
quently marked specific tombs in the catacombs. 
Most scholars believe that the vessels were used 
by the deceased during his lifetime, rather than 
having been made for funerary purposes. This 
piece obviously celebrated the marriage or anni- 
versary of the couple. It was found attached to 
a tile, in the Catacomb of Pamphilus, on May 
31, 1926. 

K. R. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Daltrop, in Art Treasures of the Vatican 
Library, New York, n.d., pp. 48, 168, no. 37, colorplate 
p. 53. 


Early Christian, late 5th-early 6th century 

Height, 4Vs" (10.7cm); length, 6 Vie" (16.3 cm); 

width, 2 'Vie" (7.5 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 

no. 859 

On the domical lid of this oval reliquary casket, 
a saint holds a laurel wreath of martyrdom, as 
the hand of God appears from the clouds above 
to place another wreath on his head. Two tall 
candelabra with flaming candles flank the martyr, 
who stands on terraced ground from which flow 
the four rivers of Paradise. The sides of the reli- 
quary are decorated with imagery symbolizing 
salvation through Christ. The principal scene 
shows the Lamb of God, with a cross that seems 
to rise from behind his back, approached on 
either side by four lambs — representing the 
apostles — emerging from the portals of two ar- 
caded basilicas, behind which are palm trees. 
On the other side of the casket, a stag and a doe 
crouch to drink from the four rivers of Paradise 
(a reference to Psalm 42: 1), which issue from 
beneath the cruciform monogram of Christ. The 
three scenes are bordered by bands of laurel 
wreaths. The base is a modem replacement. 

The reliquary was found in 1884 in the ruins 
of a small church at Henchir Zirara, near Ai'n- 
Beida, in Algeria — one and one-half meters 
(about five feet) below the pavement, at the north 
comer of the apse — according to a report pre- 
pared a few years later and published by Gio- 
vanni Battista De Rossi. The reliquary, originally, 
was housed in a wooden casket (which subse- 
quently disintegrated) and set into an oval cavity 
carved in a large block of stone. De Rossi dated 
the building to the early sixth century, on the 
basis of the style of its architectural sculpture, 
but thought that the reliquary had been made 
in the fifth century. 

Paradisaic imagery, like that on the capsella, 
is widespread in Early Christian art, particularly 
in monumental church and funerary decorative 
programs. Certain aspects of the reliquary, 
however, betray its North African origins, espe- 
cially the blazing candles flanking the saint, and 
the basilicas from which the lambs emerge, the 
forms of which resemble that of the basilica on 
a mosaic pavement in a church at Tabarka, in 
Tunisia, of about a.d. 400. 

The capsella's reliefs are executed with verve 
and ease, but without proper attention to stylis- 
tic details. For example, the martyr's hands are 
disproportionate, and the ornamental edging of 
the robes is incomplete. In the scene with the 
Lamb of God, the artist apparently ran out of 
space and, awkwardly, had to squeeze in the 
last lamb but one, on the right. 

The absence of comparative material makes 
it difficult to date the capsella with precision, 
but its style appears more in keeping with the 
early-sixth-century date of the basilica where it 
was found than with De Rossi's fifth-century 
date. The capsella lacks the elegant classicism 
and the refined finish of the fifth-century silver 
oval reliquary in the cathedral of Grado in North- 


em Italy (H. Buschhausen, 1971, B.18). Rather, 
the treatment of the eyes, hair, and drapery of 
the martyr seems closer to that of the figures on 
a silver reliquary from the Chersonese (now in 
the Hermitage in Leningrad), dated by control 
stamps to the reign of Justinian I (527-65) (H. 
Buschhausen, 1971, B.21). 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G.-B. De Rossi, "La capsella d'argent 
afhcaine," in Bulletin monumental, 55, 1889, pp. 315-97; 
H. Buschhausen, Die spatrdmischen Metallscrinia una* 
fruhchristlichen Reliquiare, Vienna, 1971, pp. 242-43, B.15; 
G. Daltrop, in Art Treasures of the Vatican Library, New 
York, n.d„ pp. 64, 170, nos. 60-61, ills. pp. 70, 71. 


the bowl's exterior. On the lid, larger palmettes, 
inlaid in niello, alternate with smaller palmettes 
embellished in gilt. Inside, niello and gilt medal- 
lions of abstract designs surround a rosette (lid) 
and a Latin monogram (bowl) that has been 
variously read as "Adeodatus" or, most re- 
cently, by Ernst Kitzinger, as "Pantaleon. " The 
shallow knop of the base is inscribed in niello: 
addecore[m] capitis beati sebastiani 
greg[orius] nn epis[copus] op[us] f[ecit] 
(Bishop Gregory IV made the work to adorn 
the head of Saint Sebastian). 

Early in his reign. Pope Gregory IV (827-44) 
transferred Saint Sebastian's relics from the ceme- 
tery of the same name on the Via Appia to an 
altar in the pope's newly constructed Oratory of 
Saint Gregory the Great at Saint Peter's basilica 
(Le Liber Pontificate, II, ed. L. Duchesne, 1886- 
92, p. 74). He seems to have separated the head 
from the other relics and placed it in the silver 

bowl, just as Pope Paschal I (817-24), his 
predecessor, put the head of Saint Cecilia in an 
arcella when her body was brought from its 
Roman catacomb to the church in Trastevere 
that bears her name (Le Liber Pontificate, op. cit., 
pp. 58-60). The ciborium shape of the bowl- 
cwra-reliquary curiously anticipates a reliquary 
form that was to become very popular in Eu- 
rope from the twelfth century on. Shortly after 
Gregory's translation of Saint Sebastian's relics 
to Saint Peter's, Leo IV (847-55) brought the 
head in its silver reliquary to Santi Quattro 
Coronati in Rome, his former titular church, and, 
with the relics of numerous other saints, includ- 
ing the head of Saint Cecilia, he filled four urns, 
which were immured in the crypt below the 
main altar (Le Liber Pontificate, op. cit., p. 1 16). 

For his reliquary, Gregory IV reused an earlier 
silver bowl that was made for the man whose 
monogram decorates its interior. It is usually 
dated sometime in the sixth or the seventh cen- 
tury. The bowl's shape, thick walls, and mode of 
decoration derived from such Late Roman and 
Early Byzantine covered silver bowls as the 
fourth-century example from the Mildenhall 
treasure (found in Suffolk, England) and an 
early-fifth-century one from Carthage, both in the 
British Museum, and a fragmentary seventh-cen- 
tury monogrammed bowl in the Musee d'Art et 
d'Histoire in Geneva. The reliquary's shallow, re- 
fined acanthus forms were also popular on sixth- 
century silver plates, such as one with a grazing 
horse in the Hermitage. The tightly regularized 
pattern of acanthus leaves and palmettes, how- 
ever, and the way in which the bowl's framing 
lines consistently cut off the tips of the leaves, 
as well as the alternating niello and silver gilt 
of the palmettes on the lid— although this niel- 
lo may have been added by Gregory IV when 
he converted the bowl to a reliquary — point to 
an early medieval date, perhaps even in the 
eighth century. 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P Liebaert, "Le reliquaire du chef de 
Saint Sebastien," in Melanges d'archeologie et d'histoire, 
XXXIII, 1913, pp. 479-92; W. F. Volbach, "Reliquie e reli- 
quiari orientali in Roma," in Bollettino d'Arte, 30, 1937, 
pp. 337-50; J. Braun, Die Reliquiare des christlichen Kultes 
und ihre Entwicklung, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1940, pp. 
225-26; G. Daltrop, in Art Treasures of the Vatican Library, 
New York, n.d., pp. 64, 170, no. 62, ill. p. 70. 


Rome, 7th-9th century 

Silver, with partial gilding, and niello 

Height, 7 1 Vie" (19. 5 cm); diameter, 8 Vie" (20.5cm); 

thickness of silver, c. Vs" (c. 3 mm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 

Inv. no. 864 

The reliquary is composed of a shallow silver 
bowl, raised on a tall base, with a domical lid 
crowned by a finial, whose topmost element has 
broken away. The bowl has a wide flange deco- 
rated with raised ridges into which the smaller 
flange of the lid fits securely. The lid's flange is 
pierced by four square and four circular holes, 
the latter corresponding to holes in the flange 
of the bowl, which were used for securing the 
lid at different times in its history. Stylized large 
and small acanthus leaves in low relief decorate 



Rome, 817-24 

Silver, with partial gilding, and niello 

Length, 11 W (29.5 cm); width, 9%" (25 cm); 

height, c. 3 %" (c. 9.8-10 cm); thickness of silver, 

c. Vie" (c. 1.5 mm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 

no. 985 

This cross-shaped casket once held a richly 
gemmed gold cross that contained particles of 
the True Cross of Christ and probably also of 
the Christ Child's umbilicus and preputium. It 
was made for Pope Paschal I (817-24), accord- 
ing to the niello inscription surrounding the cen- 
tral scene of the Communion of the Apostles on 
the lid: paschalis episcopvs plebi dei fieri ivssit. 
The casket and its cross were discovered early 
in this century with other relics and reliquaries 
in a cypress-wood chest that Pope Leo III 
(795-816) had placed in the main altar of the 
Oratory of San Lorenzo, the Sancta Sanctorum, 

which served as the private chapel of the popes 
at the Palazzo Lateranense, their residence. The 
earliest reference to the silver casket occurs in 
the twelfth-century inventory of the oratory writ- 
ten by John the Deacon during the reign of 
Alexander III (1159-81); although without 
specific evidence, it has been suggested that the 
relic that it contained and the reliquary of the 
sandals of Christ (see cat. no. 39) were brought 
to a Church council at the Lateran, during the 
time of Nicholas I (858-67) {he Liber Pontificalis, 
II, ed. L. Duchesne, 1886-92, p. 157). 
The casket is made of thick sheets of silver 


cut and soldered together and worked in repous- 
se on the lid and sides with scenes of events 
from the life of Christ. Christ among the Doctors 
(Luke 2:46), the Marriage at Cana (John 2:1), 
Christ's Mission to the Apostles (Matthew 
28:16-20), and his appearance to the apostles 
after his resurrection (John 20:19-29) encircle 
the lid's central Communion scene. The sides 
are decorated with a cycle of events that followed 
Christ's resurrection, including the discovery of 
the empty tomb by the holy women (Matthew 
2 8 : 1 - 1 ; John 2 : 1 - 1 2 ) , C hrist's appearance to 
the apostles at Emmaus, as well as other appear- 
ances to his apostles (Luke 24:36-50; John 20: 
19-29) — beginning with an unusual scene that 
may depict Christ conducting Adam from Hades, 
as related in the Apocryphal Gospels. The em- 
phasis on events after the Crucifixion is approp- 
riate for a reliquary that contained the "life- 
giving" cross. 

The figures on both the lid and the sides are of 
squat proportions, with large heads and conven- 
tional expressions. Whereas these stylistic traits 
may have resulted from working with such thick 
silver, they are characteristic of international 
ninth-century style, as reflected in such manu- 
scripts as the Sacra Parallela (in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale in Paris, Gr. 923), formerly thought 
to be Roman but recently attributed to Palestine 
by Kurt Weitzmann. The style prevailed in Ro- 
man works, as well. For example, many of the 
drapery patterns on the reliquary — specifically, 
the deeply etched double-line folds over the 
legs — and the compositional convention of 
showing crowds by portraying only the first 
figure fully the next partially, and the rest as tops 
of heads, are found in the mosaics made for 
Pope Paschal I at Santa Prassede and Santa Maria 
in Domnica in Rome. 

The events depicted on the lid of this casket 
seem to have been chosen to honor the Virgin 
Mary. She played a prominent role in the Gos- 
pel accounts of Christ among the Doctors and 
the Marriage at Cana, and was present in the 
room through whose closed doors Christ ap- 
peared. She is, however, seldom, if ever, shown 
at the Communion or Mission of the Apostles, 
as she is depicted here, clearly singled out by 
Christ. If Pope Paschal I had this reliquary made 
for the Oratory of San Lorenzo at the Lateran, 
as is usually implied in the literature, the em- 
phasis on the Virgin makes little sense. The cas- 
ket would have been far more appropriate for 
one of the great churches dedicated to the Virgin 
in Rome — for example, Paschal's own founda- 
tion of Santa Maria in Domnica, or Santa Maria 
Maggiore — to which he gave generously dur- 
ing his pontificate (he Liber Pontificalis, op. cit., 
pp. 60-63). 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E Lauer, he Tresor du Sancta Sanctorum 
(Fondation Eugene Piot, Monuments etMemoires, 15), 1906, 
pp. 49-59, 66-71; H. Grisar, Die rbmische Kapelle Sancta 
Sanctorum und ihr Schatz, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1908, pp. 
62-80, 97-100; C. Cecchelli, "II tesoro del Laterano," in 
Dedalo, 1926-27, VII, pp. 146-54; V. Elbern, "Rom und 
die karolingische Goldschmiedkunst," in Roma e I 'eta 
carolingia, Istituto di Storia dell' Arte dell'Universitadi Roma, 
Rome, 1976, pp. 345-55; A. Prandi, in Art Treasures of the 
Vatican Library, New York, n.d., pp. 171-72, nos. 70-74, 
ills. pp. 84, 85 (colorplate), 87-89; K. Weitzmann, The 
Miniatures of the Sacra Parallela, Parisinus Graecus 923, 
Princeton, 1979, pp. 17-18. 



Rome, 9th century 
Silver gilt 

Height, 11 Vie" (30cm); width, top, 7 3 A"(19. 7cm); 

bottom, 8 'A" (21 cm); depth, 2 Vie" (6.2 cm); 

thickness of silver, c. Vie" (c. 1.5 mm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MuseoSacro, Inv. 

no. 1888 

This casket, with the silver, cross-shaped reli- 
quary displayed next to it (see cat. no. 37), was 
found early in this century in the chest in the 
main altar of the Sancta Sanctorum. John the 
Deacon, a twelfth-century witness, stated that 
the chest contained a silver reliquary with an 
enameled reliquary of the True Cross inside; both 
are now in the Museo Sacro. 

On the lid of the casket is a representation of 
the enthroned Christ flanked by Saints Peter and 
Paul. From beneath the footstool of the throne 
flow the four rivers of Paradise on either side of 
a flower, symbolic of the paradisaic garden. Christ 


is adored by the two angels in medallions at the 

The hieratic quality of the scene on the cover 
is echoed in the smaller panel with the symbols 
of the Evangelists flanking the Lamb of God on 
the front of the casket. In contrast to these, 
however, is the narrative character of the scenes 
from Christ's life that appear on the other three 
sides: the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the 
Nativity, on the right; the three Magi and a shep- 
herd gazing at the star of Bethlehem, at the rear; 
and the Magi Bringing Gifts and the Presenta- 
tion in the Temple(?), on the left. The scenes 
complement the more extensive Infancy cycle 
on the enameled reliquary cross. 

Although the casket is not dated by an inscrip- 
tion, it most likely was made for Pope Paschal I 
(817-24). The enameled reliquary that it con- 
tained bears his inscription, as does the silver, 
cross-shaped casket (see cat. no. 37) to which it 
is closely related in figural style, material, and 
construction (both are made of two sheets of 
thick silver cut and bent to shape). The figures 
in each are stocky, their faces large and broad, 
and their draperies described by a limited number 
of double-line folds, with little attempt at varia- 
tion in the height of the relief. The figures on 
the rectangular casket, however, are poorer in 
quality, and the artist less accomplished, although 
the caskets probably came from the same Roman 

Despite the static execution of the rectangu- 
lar casket, its hieratic display of figures is 
impressive, and the artistic vocabulary clearly 

of the time of Pope Paschal I. Notwithstanding 
the ineptly foreshortened arms of the apostles 
who gesture to Christ, on the lid, in pose Peter 
and Paul distinctly resemble the same two apos- 
tles in Pope Paschal's mosaic in the apse of Santa 
Prassede in Rome. 

More broadly interpreted, the scenes on the 
lid and on the front, in their retrospective canon, 
underscore the casket's position in the art of 
Carolingian Rome. Like the subjects of Paschal's 
mosaic cycles, they depend on Early Christian 
models. Christ flanked by the apostles to the 
Jews and the Gentiles, both of whom were mar- 
tyred in Rome, was a dominant theme in Early 
Christian funerary art and in monumental apse 
compositions. The Lamb of God and the sym- 
bols of the apostles, moreover, appeared on the 
arch of triumph of more than one Early Chris- 
tian basilica. Thus, this casket takes its place 
among the recorded works that bear witness to 
the conscious revival of Early Christian Rome 
in the late eighth and the ninth century. 

M. E.F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Lauer, Le Tresor du Sancta Sanctorum 
(Fondation Eugene Piot, Monuments etMemoires, 15), 1906, 
pp. 28, 60-66; H. Grisar, Die romische Kapelle Sancta Sancto- 
rum und ihr Schatz, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1908, pp. 81- 
83; C. Cecchelli, "II tesoro del Laterano," in Dedalo, 
1926-27, VII, pp. 146-54; A. Prandi, in Art Treasures of 
the Vatican library, New York, n.d., p. 173, nos. 78-81, 
ills. pp. 94, 95; V. Elbern, "Rom und die karolingische 
Goldschmiedkunst," in Roma e I'etd carolingia, Istituto di 
Storia dell' Arte dell'Universita di Roma, Rome, 1976, pp. 



Constantinople, 8th-early 9th century 
Silk-compound twill 

Height, 13 'A " (33 .7 cm); width, 2 7 " (68. 6 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
no. 2446 

The Annunciation to Mary appears twice, in 
repeat pattern, within beautifully designed me- 
dallions on this very fine and rare fragment of 
silk. The Archangel Gabriel approaches the 
Virgin, who sits on a jeweled throne flanked by 
baskets for the wool with which she was be- 
lieved to have woven the veil of the temple in 
Jerusalem. The fabric lined the rectangular sil- 
ver reliquary for the sandals of Christ (see cat. 
no. 37), one of the most precious relics of the 
Sancta Sanctorum at the Lateran in Rome, where 
the reliquary is recorded as early as the mid- 
ninth century. 

The Annunciation, like a similar silk fragment 
depicting the Nativity, also from the Sancta 
Sanctorum, was probably cut from fabric im- 
ported from Constantinople and used for one of 
the hundreds of curtains that were given to 
Roman churches by the popes during the eighth 
and ninth centuries, as recorded in the Liber 
Pontificalis. One of these curtains, with a medal- 
lion of the Nativity comparable in size to that of 
The Annunciation silk, was illustrated in the fres- 


coes that Pope John VII (705-7) had painted 
in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua in the 
Roman Forum. 

The richness and complexity of the design and 
coloration of The Annunciation place it in the 
forefront of a group of highly prized decorative 
silks, many with secular subjects, that survive 
because they were used in Western medieval 
churches to wrap relics. In style, it is particularly 
close to a group of silks recently dated to the 
ninth century, including a fragment with two 
warriors in the Abegg-Stiftung Bern, in Riggis- 
berg, Switzerland. The figures have broad faces 
and large eyes set high in their foreheads, with 
big, round, black pupils that appear to be sus- 
pended from the upper eyelids. The figures' light 
brown hair is described by a limited number of 
repeated dark lines and swirls; the noses, seen 
in three-quarter view, have a curious sharp in- 
dentation to show — not very successfully — the 
shape of the nostrils; the hands are rendered 
expressively. The draperies are formed of strong- 
ly defined, broad folds; Gabriel's are animated 
by numerous gold patches. 

The task of finding stylistic parallels to the 
Vatican silk outside the medium is rendered ex- 

tremely difficult by the dearth of art that sur- 
vived the proscription of religious imagery in 
the Byzantine world in the mid- to late eighth 
century, and, again, in the early to mid-ninth 
century. The full faces, with their prominent eyes, 
however, are characteristic of some late-eighth- 
and early-ninth-century icons recently discov- 
ered at the Monastery of Saint Catherine on 
Mount Sinai. The gold banding of the angel's 
robes is found in the frescoes at Santa Maria 
Foris Portas in Castelseprio in Northern Italy, 
probably of the eighth or ninth century, and in 
some Early Carolingian manuscripts. Finally, the 
facial features, drapery style, and, especially, the 
form of the hands and their gestures can be seen 
in late-ninth-century Byzantine art — as in the 
mosaics of Hagia Sophia inThessalonike, which 
seem to reflect the style developed during the 
previous century. 

M. E. F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Prandi, in Art Treasures of the Vati- 
can Library, New York, n.d., pp. 104, 174, no. 94, colorplate 
p. 109; J. G. Beckwith, "Byzantine Tissues," in Actes du 
XW e Congres international des etudes byzantines, Bucharest, 
1971 (pub. 1974), pp. 343-53. 



Byzantine, late Wth-early 11th century 

Ivory, partially painted and gilded 

Closed: height, 9 'Vie" (25.2 cm), width, 6 9 A 6 " 

(16.7cm), depth, 1 Vs" (2.9 cm); open: width, 

13" (33 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 

Inv. no. 2441 

Christ sits on a richly jeweled throne, flanked 
by archangels, in the upper register of the trip- 
tych's central panel. The Virgin and Saint John 
the Baptist stand on either side of him and raise 
their hands in supplication, in a composition 
called a Deesis, which illustrates the prayers of 
intercession in the Byzantine liturgy. A frieze of 
apostles' busts divides the upper from the lower 
register, where five other apostles stand in various 
postures of speech and contemplation. Military, 
medical, and bishop saints and martyrs, shown 
full length or in bust medallions, are similarly 


40 (back of central panel) 

displayed on the two sides of the wings. A jew- 
eled cross set in a vine scroll (both, partially 
painted and gilded) decorates the back of the 
central panel. Originally, the haloes, furniture, 
angels' wings, and the decorative jeweled and 
embroidered areas of the clothing also were gilt, 
and the incised inscriptions filled with red paint. 

Parts of the backgrounds of the central and 
left panels, including the right arms of the Vir- 
gin and Saint John, the right angel's left wing, 
and the triptych's base and hinges, are replace- 
ments that were made before the first publica- 
tion of the triptych in 1755, when the ivory 
belonged to Pope Benedict XTV (1740-58), who 
had acquired it from a collection in Todi, Italy. 

The artist of this triptych sought to create a 
balance between reality and the spiritual world. 
He carved his figures in high relief, with excep- 
tional skill and sensitivity (some, like Christ, the 
Virgin, and Saint John, are deeply undercut), in 
carefully differentiated poses and expressions. 
Yet, no two figures communicate directly with 
each other; the saints seem to contemplate pri- 
vately the glory of Christ, and to reinforce the 
prayers of the Virgin and Saint John for the sal- 
vation of mankind — especially, for that of the 
triptych's owner. The jeweled cross in paradise, 
on the reverse, represents Christ's triumph over 
death, which opened the way for man's salvation. 

Two other ivory triptychs of similar iconogra- 
phy and fine quality survive. One, of the sec- 
ond half of the eleventh century (in the Louvre) , 
still has its original cornice and base; the other 
(in the Museo del Palazzo Venezia in Rome) 
bears inscriptions that probably refer to the Em- 
peror Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos (912-59) . 
Although the three triptychs do not seem to be 
copied one from the other, they clearly belong 
to a particular type of image that was suitable 
for imperial — or, at least, aristocratic — patrons. 
The Vatican triptych should be dated between 
the other two. Its figures are less realistically por- 
trayed than those of the Palazzo Venezia ivory, 
yet its three-dimensional modeling still has a 

subtlety that is lacking in the Louvre triptych. 
The faces and throats of the figures, for example, 
are carved with a feeling for the bone and mus- 
cle structure beneath the skin, as occurs on ear- 
lier tenth-century ivories, such as the paired 
apostles on plaques in Vienna, Dresden, and 
Venice. The figures on the triptych, however, are 
less volumetrically conceived than the apostles 
on these ivories, and seem to resemble works of 
the late tenth and early eleventh century in 
Byzantium — among them the miniature of 
Christ in a Gospel lectionary at Mount Sinai 
(Ms. 204, fol. 1 r.), and some standing saints 
in the Menologium of Basil II in the Vatican 
Library (Ms. gr. 185, pp. 124, 349, 424). 

M. E.E 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Goldschmidt and K. Weitzmann, Die 
byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X-XIII Jahrhun- 
derts, II, Berlin, 1934, no. 32, reprinted with a new 
foreword, Berlin, 1979; C. R. Morey, Gli oggetti di avorio e di 
osso del Museo Sacro Vaticano. Catalogo del Museo Sacro 
Vaticano, I, Vatican City, 1936, no. A 68; I. Kalavrezou- 
Maxeiner, "Eudokia Makrembolitissa and the Romanos 
Ivory," in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 31, 1977, pp. 305-25. 



Constantinople, first half of the 14th century 
Miniature mosaic 

Height, 5 W (14 cm); width, 2 W (6.4 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 1191 

Saint Theodore Tyro, one of the most popular 
military saints in Byzantium, is depicted in this 
small mosaic icon made of miniature cubes of 
glass, marble, and semiprecious stones, set in a 
wax base and framed and backed in wood. 
Originally, the frame was covered by a larger, 
probably ornamental, silver one. The saint, 
clothed in elaborate military costume that de- 
rives, ultimately, from Roman models, stands 
on a multicolored floor against a gilt background. 
His vermilion tunic and cuirass and his deep- 
emerald cloak are shot with gold, and his red 
trousers are decorated with light-green and gold 
zigzags, a color scheme repeated in the brightly 
colored halo and in the image's mosaic floor, 
patterned with crosses. His shoes are bound with 
white fasciae. A large, oblong shield is slung over 
his back, suspended from a white band that ex- 
tends across his chest. He holds a silver-tipped 
spear in his right hand and, from under his cloak, 
he clutches the hilt of his sword with his left. 
The rich coloration of the mosaic is completed 
by a framing line of gold and white tesserae and 
by a black inscription in Greek identifying the 
saint. A later inscription on a metal plaque at- 
tached to the lower-right corner calls Theodore 
a general and a martyr. 

Although there has been some loss of mosaic 
cubes in the cloak, hair, and beard, and in the 
background behind the saint's legs, the artistic 
delicacy and sensitivity of the icon shine forth. 
Saint Theodore's face, for example, is subtly 
modeled in beige and yellow tones, his cheeks, 
ears, and nostrils highlighted with rose pink. 
The virtuoso technique is also evidenced by the 
minute tesserae used to form the saint's neck. 

The richness of the materials and the refine- 

ment of the imagery are characteristic of the small 
body of miniature portable icons that survives. 
The earliest example dates from the eleventh 
century, but the majority seem to have been made 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. As 
Otto Demus has pointed out, the icons portray 
subjects that were appropriate to the Byzantine 
imperial court, such as Saint Theodore, who, 
together with Saints Demetrius, George, and The- 
odore Stratelates, was a patron of the emperor. 
Most of the miniature icons probably were made 
for the imperial family or the high aristocracy, 
to be used for themselves or as gifts. 

This icon of Saint Theodore is related to other 
portraits of military saints of the early fourteenth 
century — such as those in the frescoes of the 
Kariye Djami in Istanbul — not only in his ele- 
gant and colorful costume and his soft, curly 
hair piled high on his head, but also in his long- 
waisted and attenuated body and his flexed left 
leg (which imparts action to an otherwise static, 
relatively diminutive figure). In concept, Saint 
Theodore, however, is less vigorous, and more 
delicate and stylized, than the saints in the 
frescoes, probably indicating that the icon dates 
from sometime during the second quarter of the 
fourteenth century. M. E. E 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Demus, "Two Palaeologan Mosaic 
Icons in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection," in Dumbarton 
Oaks Papers, 14, 1960, pp. 87-119; A. Prandi, in Art Trea- 
sures of the Vatican Library, New York, n.d., pp. 177-78, 
no. 120, colorplate p. 135; I. Furlan, he tone bizantine a 
mosaico, Milan, 1979, no. 38. 




Central Italy, Rambona, c. a.d. 900 

Height, 12 'A" (31.1 cm); total width, 10V 4 " 
(27.3 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2442 

During the Carolingian era, the format of Late 
Antique consular diptychs was revived for eccle- 
siastical purposes. This important example 
comes from the convent abbey of Rambona 
(near Ancona). 

The left panel is divided into three zones. In 
the center is the Crucifixion of the living trium- 
phant Christ, between the Virgin — above whose 
head is the inscription mvlier en (His mother) 
— and Saint John, identified by the inscription 
dissipvle ecce (Behold the apostle). The cross 
is surmounted by an oversized double placard 
inscribed ego svm ihs nazarenvs/rex ivdeorvm 
(I am Jesus of Nazareth/King of the Jews). To 
the left and right, the Sun and the Moon witness 
the event, while, at the top, two angels support 
a medallion portraying God the Father offering 
a benediction. Below the Crucifixion is the 
unusual, if not unique, representation of the 
she -wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, which 
carries the inscription rom vlvs et rem vlvs a l vpa 
nvtriti (Romulus and Remus fed by the wolf). 

The right panel, likewise, is organized into 
three zones. At the top, the enthroned Virgin 
and Child are positioned between two seraphim, 
who stand on interlaced circles. Standing below, 
amidst inhabited vine tendrils, are the three pa- 
tron saints of the abbey of Rambona, and at the 
bottom is a semiprostrate saint holding palm 
branches (?). These scenes are accompanied by 
the quasi-literate inscription confessoris dni 
scis gregorivs silvestro fla/viani cenobio 
rambona ageltrvda constrvxi/qvod ego 
odelrigvs infimvs dni serbvs et abbas/scvlpire 
mini bit in domino amen, loosely translated 
as: "To the saints Gregory, Silvester, and Flavian, 
confessors of Christ, for the monastery of Ram- 
bona, which Ageltruda built. I, Odelricus, who 
humbly serve God, request this sculpture to be 
made . " Based upon this inscription, it would 
seem that the diptych was carved locally for the 
Abbot Odelricus, in honor of the monastery of 
Rambona and its patron saints. However, it is 
not certain whether the Ageltruda referred to is 
the spouse of Guido, Count of Spoleto, who 
became King of Italy, and then emperor in 891. 
A document of 898 mentions the territory of 
Rambona where the monastery stands. The ap- 
pearance of the she- wolf at the foot of the cross, 
and the victorious aspect of this interpretation 
of the Crucifixion, might be an allusion to Agel- 
truda as the representative of a new Christian 
Empire in Rome. 

Certain aspects of the style of the diptych 
would tend to support a date of about 900. The 
flat, linear treatment of the figures, in combi- 
nation with the geometric reduction of the 
drapery folds, produces a formal and hieratic 
composition of densely filled surfaces that are 
characteristic of the late phase of Langobardic 

sculpture. The introduction of the tendril motif, 
especially, enhances the diptych pictorially, 
as in other early-tenth-century Northern Italian 
ivories — such as the panels with the four Evan- 
gelists, in Lyons, or the book cover with symbols 
of the Evangelists, in Cologne (A. Goldschmidt, 
I, 1914, nos. 170-174). The abstraction of the 
human form — which functions more as a sacred 
symbol — evolves directly from Langobardic art 
of the eighth century. The figures in the Christ 
in Majesty on the stone altar of Duke Ratchis, 
of about 740, in the church of San Martino in 
Cividale, display the same geometric reduction 
on the part of the sculptor as those in the 
Rambona diptych. Thus, the diptych is a late 
manifestation of the Langobardic style that was 
still flourishing in central Italy about 900. 

Both panels terminate in continuous crenel- 
lated crowns, this striking geometric openwork 
at the lower edge of the frame clearly based upon 
early Islamic decoration. It is difficult to under- 

stand this type of design within the context of 
Langobardic art, since no comparable example 
of such a juxtaposition exists. Alternatively, 
Charles R. Morey has proposed that the ivory is 
actually of Islamic origin, imported from the East 
and subsequently planed down and carved with 
Christian scenes. During the Carolingian period, 
the recycling of earlier ivories was commonplace, 
due to the apparent shortage of new materials, 
and the Rambona diptych may be a rare mani- 
festation of this phenomenon. 

C. T. L. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Goldschmidt, Die Elfenbeinskulpturm 
aus der Zeit der karolingischen und sachsischen Kaiser, 
VIII.-XI. Jahrhundert, I, Berlin, 1914-18, no. 181; C. R. 
Morey, Gli oggetti di avorio e di osso del Museo Sacro Vaticano. 
Catalogo del Museo Sacro, I, Vatican City, 1936, no. A 62, 
pp. 60-62; H. Fillitz, "Die Spatphase des 'Langobardischen' 
Stiles," in Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen 
in Wien, XVIII, 1958, pp. 7-72; A. Prandi, in Art Trea- 
sures of the Vatican Library, n.d., pp. 113, 175-76, nos. 
103-104, ills. pp. 117, 118. 




Italy, Venice or Amalfi 
Late llth-early 12th century 

Height, 9 9 A 6 " (24.3 cm); width, 5 Vie" (12.9 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2443 

This imposing Maiestas Domini was originally 
the central composition of a book cover. Other 
individual related ivory plaques in the Museo 
Nazionale in Ravenna and in the Abegg-Stiftung 
Bern aided Adolph Goldschmidt (1926, IV, pp. 
43-44, nos. 147-150, pi. LIII) and Charles R. 
Morey (1936, pp. 68-70, no. A 71, pi. 14) in 
reconstructing one side of the book cover; the 
other side, they believed, also consisted of ivory 
plaques arranged around a Crucifixion panel (in 
the Musee de Cluny in Paris) . Clearly, this other 
cover is a later pastiche, as indicated by the vari- 
ant coloring and measurements, the recutting 

of several of the plaques, and by the addition of 
a new plaque and spacing strips when the 
"pseudo-cover" in the Musee de Cluny was 
made up (D. MacK. Ebitz, 1979, pp. 136-67, 
figs. 80-83). A more radical reconstruction out 
of the same ivories can be proposed: the Vati- 
can Maiestas Domini mounted on one cover, 
framed by a border of medallions containing 
busts of the twelve apostles and an Evangelist 
symbol at each corner. This reconstruction, with 
Christ enthroned in a mandorla, flanked by a 
cherub (cherv/bin) and a seraph (sera/phin;) 
and by the Evangelists' symbols, conforms to 
standard iconography of the Carolingian period 
in the West. The message inscribed in the open 
book that Christ holds on his knee, eg o/sv[m]re/ 
svrrec/cioet/vita; (John 1 1:25), figures, tradi- 
tionally, in Last Judgment iconography: as the 
Son of God, Christ judges; as the Son of Man, 
he redeems the sin of Adam and offers the resur- 
rection and the life by suffering the Crucifixion 
— depicted on the other side of the reconstruct- 
ed book cover. Saints Gervasius (s[anctvs] 
ger/vasi/vs,) andProtasius (p[ro]ta/si/vs) appear 
below Christ in the Maiestas Domini; their parents, 
Saints Vitalis and Valeria, are shown below 
the Crucifixion. 

While the iconography is Western, the unusu- 
al style of the Crucifixion and of the Maiestas 
Domini with the Last Judgment is based largely 
on Middle Byzantine models — specifically, on 
several eleventh-century enamels (cf. K. Wessel, 
Byzantine Enamels, Greenwich, Conn., 1967, figs. 
34, 37 a; L. von Matt, Die Kunstsammlungen der 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Rom, Cologne, 1969, 
pis. 82-83). Such design elements as the chev- 
ron pattern of nested V folds on the garments of 
Gervasius and Protasius are identical to the folds 
in two alternating colors on these Byzantine 
enamels (K. Wessel, op. cit., 1967, pp. 29, 128, 
142, 145-46, figs. 30, 45 d-f, 46 o). Based on 
the epigraphy of the numerous inscriptions and 
on the overall arrangement of each cover — a 
border of busts in medallions framing a central 
image (cf. K. Wessel, op. cit., figs. 13 a-b, 25, 
27 a-b, 41 a; L. von Matt, op. cit., 1969, pis. 82, 
84-85) — the Vatican ivory dates the book cover 
to 1100 (the crudely inscribed "1247" on the 
border is a later addition). Because of their 
eccentric style, Hermann Schnitzler (1965, pp. 
226-27) suggested that the plaques were manu- 
factured in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, 
perhaps in Milan, but Hermann Fillitz (1967, 
pp. 32-34) compared them, despite differences 
in subject matter, with secular Fatimid-style ivory 
horns and caskets. This connection is evidenced 
by such identical motifs as wings, the similarity 
with which figures are articulated by neat, par- 
allel incisions on the flat surface of the relief, 
and the equal emphasis on negative spaces be- 
tween areas in relief. These are works from the 
same source. An inscription on a Fatimid-style 
ivory writing case in The Metropolitan Muse- 
um of Art has led some scholars to attribute these 
ivories to a shop of transplanted Muslims 
working, perhaps, in Amalfi during the elev- 
enth century. However, it is equally plausible that 
the workshop can be located in Venice, because 
of the strong correspondence between the saints 
on the book cover — including the unusual Saint 
Hermagoras — and saints with cults or church 
dedications in Venice, such as Gervasius, Prota- 
sius, and Vitalis. 


Whether carved in Venice or Amain, the 
Maiestas Domini and the related plaques are a 
hybrid of Western iconography, Byzantine 
models, and the Fatimid style, characteristic of 
the political, economic, religious, and cultural 
situation of Italy, between the East and the West, 
during the Middle Ages. 

The Maiestas Domini plaque is first mentioned 
in 1756 as being in the Camaldolese monastery 
on the island of San Michele in the Venetian 
lagoon. By the mid-nineteenth century it was 
in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. 

D. MacK. E. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Goldschmidt, Die Elfenbeinskulpturen 
aus der romanischen Zeit, XI.-XHI. Jahrhundert, IV, Berlin, 
1926, pp. 4, 43-44, no. 149, pi. LIII; C. R. Morey, Gli 
oggetti di avorio e di osso del Museo Sacro Vaticano. Catalogo 
delMuseo Sacro, I, Vatican City, 1936, pp. 68-70, no. A 71, 
pi. 14; H. Schnitzler, 'Ada-EIfenbeine des Barons v. 
Hiipsch," in Festschrift fur Herbert von Einem, eds. Gert 
von der Osten and Georg Kauffmann, Berlin, 1965, 
pp. 226-27; H. Fillitz, Zwei Elfenbeinplatten aus Suditalien 
(Monographien der Abegg-Stiftung Bern, 2), Bern, 1967, 
pp. 8-9, 32-34, fig. 5; D. MacK. Ebitz, "Two Schools of 
Ivory Carving in Italy and Their Mediterranean Context 
in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries," Ph.D. dissertation, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1979, pp. 128-385, 
fig. 71. 



Northeastern (?) France, c. 1250 

Height, 12 " (30. 5 cm); width, 7 >/ 2 " (19 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2444 

During the Gothic era, a new preference for small 
portable ivory images for private devotion found 
its most characteristic form in the diptych. This 
elegant carving, chronologically, is one of the 
earliest Gothic diptychs, and revives a format 
not used in the Latin West since the ninth cen- 
tury (see cat. no. 42). One wing focuses on an 
abbreviated cycle of the life of the Virgin and 
the other on the Passion of Christ, with each 
organized into registers composed of articulated 
arcades. On the left, reading from the third 
register down, are the Annunciation and the 
Nativity; the Massacre of the Innocents and the 
Flight into Egypt; and the Adoration of the Magi. 
On the right are the Crucifixion; the Deposition; 
and the Lamentation. In the gables surmounting 
the left three registers is the Coronation of the 
Virgin, and, on the right, the Last Judgment. A 
certain centrality in the compositions of the in- 
dividual scenes, and the enlargement of the axial 
figures, ultimately dictated the organization of 
the overall design program. 

This diptych, as well as a triptych (with painted 
wings) in Lyons were made by the same atelier 
of ivory carvers and are distinguished by a com- 
parable formal elegance and by vigorously mod- 
eled figures composed within an architectural 
system. Other closely related diptychs (in the 
Wallace Collection in London, and the Hermit- 
age in Leningrad) share nearly identical scenes. 
In spite of the relative homogeneity of this ivory 
group, there is little agreement regarding the lo- 
calization of the atelier that produced it. While 

Morey regarded the ivories as Northern Italian, 
most scholars consider them Northern French, 
of the later thirteenth century. The large geomet- 
ric volumes of the figures have been compared 
to the mid-thirteenth-century illuminations in 
the scroll of Saint Eloi (in the Musee Carnavalet 
in Paris; D 7075); indeed, such ivories originally 
were polychromed. The style, likewise, has been 
linked to monumental sculpture, as revealed by 
the suppleness of the folds. The aristocratic atti- 
tudes of the gracefully carved figures justifiably 
might be compared to the sculpture of Reims 
Cathedral, as they have been to that of Therou- 

anne. The significance of this ivory group, how- 
ever, lies in the fact that it initiated a carving 
tradition that lasted until the beginning of the 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires francais, I, Paris, 
1924, p. 82, II, Paris, 1924, no. 37; C. R. Morey, Gli oggetti 
di avorio e di osso del Museo Sacro Vaticano. Catalogo del Museo 
Sacro, I, Vatican City, 1936, no. A 82; L. Grodecki, Ivoires 
francais: arts, styles et techniques, Paris, 1947, pp. 90-91; 
D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires du moyen age, Fribourg, 1978, 
pp. 114, 206; R Verdier, "Le triptyche d'ivoire a volets 
peints," in Bulletin des Musees et Monuments Lyonnais, VII, 
1982, pp. 17-30. 




Siena, early 14th century 

Copper, with champleve enamel and gilding 

Diameter, 3" (7.6cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2434 

Well preserved, this small hexalobe copper 
plaque is remarkable for the dramatic impact of 
its color and its linear composition. Opaque dark 
blue and red enamel offset the gilt border and 
the gilt reserved figure composed of engraved, 
enamel-filled lines. Christ, cross-nimbed and 
wearing only a loose mantle, rises from an open 
sarcophagus, the lid of which has been pushed 


Siena, after 1317 ore. 1320 
Copper, with champleve enamel and gilding 
Diameters, without frames, 2 'A-2 Vie" (5. 7-5. 9 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. nos. 2435-2440 

Except for the chipped background above Saint 
Catherine' s left shoulder, these imposing medal- 
lions are in excellent condition. It is uncertain 
when their cast-and-tooled frames were made. 
W Frederick Stohlman considered them modern. 
A similar frame is found on a closely related but 
slightly larger enameled medallion with Saint 
Anthony in the Kunstgewerbemuseum in East 
Berlin (P. de Castris, 1980, fig. 4). 

The opaque enamel of the present medallions 
is dark blue in the backgrounds and red in the 
various details. As in the Resurrection plaque 
(cat. no. 45), the figures are reserved in copper 
gilt, with interior enamel-filled engraved lines 
and hatchings. Two of the backgrounds have re- 
served ornamentation in copper gilt: the fleurs- 

back at an abrupt angle. He triumphantly holds 
a long thin staff, surmounted by a cross and 
bearing a fluttering cross -decorated banner. His 
left foot rests on the forward edge of the sarcoph- 
agus, in front of which four sleeping soldiers in 
chain mail and Gothic armor are sprawled. The 
sky is punctuated by a series of stars in reserve. 
Rosettes, also in reserve, are centered in the loz- 
enges that mark the points interspersed among 
the lobes. Three of these rosettes have suffered 
later drilling. While the original context of the 
plaque is uncertain, it once must have been held 
in place by a bezel. 

In proportions and linear animation, the figure 
style is loosely related to the panels with Pas- 
sion subjects on the back of Duccio's Maestd (of 
1308-11) in Siena. However, the specific style 
of the Resurrection plaque is characteristic of a 
series of Sienese enamels dating from the end 
of the thirteenth into the first decades of the four- 
teenth century. Included in this series are the 

de-lis behind Saint Louis and the shells behind 
Saint James. The narrow, red encircling bands in 
four of the medallions are decorated with tiny re- 
served diagonal crosses or quatrilobes (Saints 
Catherine, Louis, James, and Paul). Three of 
the busts are frontal (Saints Louis, James, and 
Paul) ; the remaining ones are rendered in three- 
quarter view. 

All six saints are nimbed, and bear one or 
more attributes, which, in lieu of inscriptions, 
readily identify them. Saint Catherine holds a 
palm in her right hand and the wheel of her 
martyrdom in her veiled left hand. In her veiled 
right hand Saint Elizabeth holds a flaming pot, 
a symbol of spiritual love, to which she points 
with her left hand. Saint Louis, youthful and 
beardless, wears a bishop's miter and holds a 
crosier, an episcopal symbol of pastoral authority, 
in his left hand; he gives an episcopal blessing 
with his right. Saint Paul, bald and with a long 
beard, clutches a sword and a book. Peter, with 
curly hair and short beard, grasps his keys and 
a book. 

While the original context of these medallions 
is unknown, they probably belonged to a larger 
group that once decorated an altar — in a man- 
ner similar to the enameled medallions on the 
altar of Saint James in Pistoia (M.-M. Gauthier, 
1972, pp. 208-12, 385-86, ill. 163). Thus, they 
may have been part of the border divisions that 
separated a series of larger images in a christo- 
logical or hagiographical cycle. 

medallions on the late-thirteenth-century altar 
of Saint James in Pistoia Cathedral (M.-M. 
Gauthier, 1972, pp. 208-12, 385-86, ill. 163), 
the six medallions with busts of saints in the 
Vatican (see cat. no. 46), and the quatrilobe 
enamels on the early-fourteenth-century in- 
scribed processional cross from Trequanda, near 
Siena, and now in Cleveland (W. D. Wixom, 
1979, pp. 133-39, figs. 86-87, 89, 90-94, and 
back cover in color) . The technique of using 
opaque enamel — dark blue in the background, 
red in decorative details, and enamel-filled 
engraved lines in the figures in reserve — con- 
tinues that of an earlier and contemporary group 
of enameled objects produced in the Upper 
Rhine, such as the processional cross (of about 
1280) from the Lake Constance region, also 
now in Cleveland (H.-J. Heuser, 1974, pp. 
156-57, figs. 313-323; W. D. Wixom, 1979, 
p. 139, fig. 99; see also M.-M. Gauthier, 1972, 
pp. 267-68, 388, 407, ills. 216, 217). 

The figural style, physiognomic types, and 
the fluid, curvilinear drapery, in general, reflect 
contemporary Sienese painting. The figures of 
Simone Martini (c. 1284-1344) seem especially 
similar, particularly several in his Maestd fresco 
(of 1315) in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, or 
his representation of Saint Louis on a panel of 
1317 in Naples. 

The technique is identical to that of the Resur- 
rection plaque, although the scale of the figures 
in the medallions is larger and, by contrast, 
almost heroic. A medallion inscribed "Saint 
Elizabeth," in the Louvre, closely allied with the 
present series in both style and technique, has 
been variously attributed. Guccio di Mannaia, 
the artist of the translucent enameled quatrilobes 
on the signed chalice in Assisi, the gift of Pope 
Nicholas IV (1288-92), was suggested by 
Gauthier (1972, pp. 212-14, 388, ill. 166) as the 
artist of the Louvre enamel. Tondino di Guerrino, 
one of two artists responsible for the translu- 
cent enamels on a signed chalice in the British 
Museum, was assigned to the Louvre plaque by 
Pierluigi Leone de Castris (1980, p. 25). Another 
clearly related medallion, that of Saint Anthony 
in Berlin, and a rectangular plaque of the 
Enthroned Virgin and Child with Saints Peter 
and Paul in the Bargello in Florence — both ex- 
amples of opaque enamels with enamel-filled 
engraved figures in reserve — also have been at- 
tributed to Tondino by de Castris (1980, pp. 
24-27) . Without accepting any attribution to a 

Inexplicably, Gauthier attributed the Resurrec- 
tion hexalobe to the master of the translucent 
enamel Passion plaques on the large reliquary 
of the Bolsena Corporal by Ugolino di Vieri and 
associates, dated 1338, in the cathedral of 
Orvieto. This date seems too late for the present 
work, which, stylistically and technically, is more 
akin to the medallions on the Pistoia altar. 

W. D. W. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. F. Stohlman, GliSmaltidelMuseoSacro 
Vaticano (Catalogo del Museo Sacro delta Biblioteca Apostolica 
Vaticana, II), Vatican City, 1939, pp. 43-44, pi. XXII, no. 
S 73; M.-M. Gauthier, Emaux du moyen age occidental, 
Fribourg, 1972, p. 388, no. 168, ill. 

Comparative works cited: H.-J. Heuser, Oberrheinische 
Goldschmiedekunst im Hochmittelalter, Berlin, 1974, pp. 
156-57, figs. 313-323; W. D. Wixom, "Eleven Additions 
to the Medieval Collection," in Bulletin of The Cleveland 
Museum of Art, LXVI, 3, March-April 1979, no. X, pp. 
133-39, figs. 86-87, 89, 90-94, 99. 

specific artist, we can easily recognize a com- 
mon style and technique in the Vatican, Louvre, 
Berlin, and Bargello enamels. Slightly variant, 
stylistically, and by a different hand, is the tech- 
nically identical, inscribed processional cross from 
Trequanda in Cleveland (W. D. Wixom, 1979, 
pp. 133-39, figs. 86-87, 90-94, and back cover 
in color). 

A terminus post quern is provided by the date 
of 1317 for the canonization of Saint Louis of 
Toulouse, shown nimbed in the Vatican medal- 
lion. A date immediately following for the six 
Vatican medallions is confirmed by their stylistic 
affinity to the work of Simone Martini. 

These enamels were in the collections of 
Clement XIII (1758-69). Their earlier history 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W F. Stohlman, GliSmalti del Museo Sacro 
Vaticano (Catalogo del Museo Sacro della Biblioteca Apostolica 
Vaticana, II), Vatican City, 1939, pp. 44-45, nos. S 76-S 81, 
pi. XXII; M.-M. Gauthier, Emaux du moyen age occidental, 
Fribourg, 1972, pp. 388-89, no. 169, ill. (Saint Louis of 
Toulouse); R de Castris, "Tondino di Guerrino e Andrea 
Riguardi orafi e smaltisti a Siena (1308-1338)," in Pro- 
spettiva, 21, April 1980, p. 24; M.-M. Gauthier, "Emaux 
gothiques," in Revue de I'art, 51, 1981, p. 36, fig. 8 (Saint 

Comparative works cited: M.-M. Gauthier, op. cit., 1972, 
pp. 208-14, 385-86, 388, ills. 163, 166; W. D. Wixom, 
"Eleven Additions to the Medieval Collection," in Bulletin 
of The Cleveland Museum of Art, LXVI, 3, March- April 1979, 
no. X, pp. 133-39, figs. 86-87, 89, 90-94, and back cover 
in color; R de Castris, op. cit. , 1980, pp. 24-27. 



Florence, 1464-71 
Silver, niello, and silver gilt 
Diameter, Paul II and coat of arms, each, 1 % " 
(4.5 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. nos. 2079, 2085 

The two roundels decorated the front and back 
of the binding of a manuscript presented to Paul 
II: Aristea. Ad Philocratem fratrem (Vat. lat. 8913). 
Known as The Letter ofAristeas, the manuscript 
is the first translation into Latin, by the Pisan 
Mattia Palmieri, of a third-century-B.c. Hellenistic 
text referring to the Septuagint version of the 
Pentateuch. The illumination on its first page, 
the work of a Roman miniaturist, shows Palmieri 
offering his book to the pope (Quinto Centenario, 
1976, p. 16). 

The two niello medallions suggest, however, 
that they are by a goldsmith and that the design 
was by a Florentine painter. The quality of the 
niello engraving is of unusual distinction and 
may be compared to that of the two sumptuous 
Florentine niello book covers presented by Car- 
dinal Jean de la Balue to Paul II, about 1467-69 
(Decorative Arts of the Italian Renaissance, 1959, 
p. 153, ills.). The effigy of Paul II may appear to 
be superficially related to the pope's effigy on 
the numerous medals cast for him by Cristoforo 
di Geremia, but, in fact, the suavity of outline, 
the degree of idealization, and the plasticity 
achieved in this portrait make it much closer in 
style to the works of Filippo Lippi (14067-1469). 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, La Bibliotheque 
Vaticane etses annexes, Rome, 1867, p. 84, no. 405; Legature 
Papali da Eugenio IV a Paolo V (exhib. cat.), Vatican City, 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1977, no. 12, p. 8, pis. XII, 
XIII; Palazzo Venezia: Paolo II e le fabbriche di San Marco 
(exhib. cat.), Rome, Museo del Palazzo Venezia, 1980, 
no. 9, pp. 29-30. 

Comparative works cited: Decorative Arts of the Italian Ren- 
aissance 1400-1600 (exhib. cat.). The Detroit Institute of 
Arts, November 18, 1958-January 4, 1959; Quinto Cen- 
tenario della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana 1475-1975, Vati- 
can City, 1976. 




Italy, Sulmona, c. 1470 
Silver, partly gilt, and enamel 
Height, 8 Vi " (21.5 cm); width, 6 >/s" (15. 5 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2037 

This beautiful repousse relief, in which the an- 
gel and the Virgin appear almost in the round, 
is stamped twice with the mark of Sulmona (in 
the Abruzzi) for the years about 1468-83 
(V. Pace, 1972, p. 79). The plaque, a rare exam- 
ple of Sulmonese goldsmiths' work, which 
achieved great distinction between the last quar- 
ter of the fourteenth century and the end of the 
fifteenth, originally must have belonged to an 
Evangelistary. The symbols of the Evangelists, 
cast and riveted to the corners of the plaque, in 
design are related to those on a set of well- 
known Sulmonese book covers in the cathedral 
of Lucera (Apulia), which carry the mark for 
about 1430-40 (op. cit., figs. 30-31). The ha- 
loes of the Virgin and the angel — decorated with 
ogival compartments filled with white enam- 
el and outlined in filigree — are also applied 
as independent plaquettes, as are the haloes of 
Mary and Saint John on the Lucera book covers. 

The application of filigree and enamel, and, 
especially, the large flowers and the rich foliage 
in the background of the scene, immediately call 
to mind the magnificent decoration on the bust 
of Saint Pamphilus in the cathedral of Sulmona 
(P Piccirilli, 1918, p. 118, fig. 4). The bust was 
executed in 1458-59 by one of the best masters 
of Sulmona, Giovanni di Marino di Cicco. The 
style of Mary and the angel, who kneel in front 
of an altar rail with Gothic arches, and of God 
the Father, in the sky, suggests that their author 
was familiar with contemporary Florentine 
sculpture. The suavely lyrical contours and the 
plasticity of the figures are especially close to 
the works of Luca della Robbia (14007-1482) 
and agree with a date in the late 1460s. The 
book cover is a work of unusual distinction and 
may well have been executed by Giovanni di 
Marino di Cicco. No provenance has been 
determined for this plaque; in the nineteenth 
century, it probably was removed from a manu- 
script in the Vatican Library and deposited for 
safekeeping in the Museo Sacro. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, La Bibliotheque 
Vaticane et ses annexes, Rome, 1867, p. 105, no. 485; 
E. Mattiocco, "L'oreficeria medievale abruzzese. La scuola 
di Sulmona" (Atti del II Convegno nazionale della cultura 
abruzzese), in Abruzzo, 6, 1968, p. 400. 

Comparative works cited: P Piccirilli, "II busto di S. Panfilo 
nella Cattedrale di Sulmona," in Rassegna d'Arte, 18, 1918, 
pp. 116-19; V. Pace, "Per la storia deH'Orefkeria Abruz- 
zese," in Bollettino d'Arte, 1972, pp. 78-89. 


Rome, 1489 

Silver, partly gilt, and niello 
Height, 16 Vs" (43 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2057 

Incised on the front and back of the shaft of 
the cross is the following dedicatory inscription: 


tile de Sanctis Gave to God's Apostle Andrew in 
1489 Rome). The main decorative elements of 
the cross are the silver filigree scrolls applied on 
both sides, serving as foils for the hollow, cast- 
silver figures: Christ, flanked by two mourning 
Marys and by the Magdalene, repeated twice, in 
the top and bottom quatrefoils. A motif of Saint 
Andrew's crosses, in niello, appears along the 
edges of the cross. The clearly Tuscan outline of 
the cross is emphasized by the gilded fillet around 
its contours, while the interplay of white silver 
with touches of gilding in the hair, beard, and 
loincloth of Christ, and in the draperies of the 
holy women, strikes a delicately pictorial note. 
On the back of the cross, the four lobed medal- 
lions have lost their decoration, which, judging 
from the hatched ground of two of them, must 
have been painted in translucent enamel. 

As shown by Eugene Miintz (1898, pp. 104- 
20) , numerous Tuscan as well as Northern Italian 
goldsmiths, attracted by the opportunities for pa- 
tronage at the papal court, settled in Rome dur- 
ing the pontificate of Innocent VIII ( 1484-92 ) . In 
the absence of a strongly defined Roman school, 
the fact that these craftsmen were of various ori- 
gins determined the somewhat eclectic, yet 
conservative, character of their works. In the case 
of this cross, the extensive use of filigree, a tech- 
nique originally favored by Venetian goldsmiths, 
and the Sienese type of the figures — especially 
the ascetic harshness of Christ — suggest that it 
was the collaborative product of such a recently 
established goldsmith's workshop. 

In the Museo Sacro the cross is mounted 
on a tall, gilt-bronze foot composed of seven 
sections. Of these, only three seem germane 
to the cross: a "sleeve" decorated with a niello 
plaque engraved with a flowered bush growing 
from three hillocks, and two knobs chased with 
acanthus leaves and mounted with six plain sil- 
ver lozenges. 

The provenance of the cross is not known, 
but the allusion to Saint Andrew suggests that 
it may come from Saint Peter's, where, until 
1606, the head of the apostle, one of the most 
important relics in the basilica, was kept in an 
altar tabernacle erected by Pius II (1458-64) in 
the left nave. 

The cross was first described in the 1880s 
in Giovanni Battista De Rossi's manuscript 
inventory (no. 633). q ^ 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. F. Volbach, La Croce—Lo sviluppo 
nell'oreficeria sacra (Guida del Museo Sacro, 2), Vatican 
City, 1938, p. 12, ill. 

Comparative work cited: E. Miintz, Les arts a la com des 
papes Innocent Mil, Alexandre V, Pie III (1484-1503), Paris, 




Italy, Lombardy, early 16th century 

Silver, niello, and silver gilt 

Christ: height, 4 I A 6 " (10.3 cm), width, 3W (9.2 
cm); Saint Luke: height, 1 'Vie" (4.9 cm), width, 
1 'Vie" (4.3 cm); Saint Matthew: height, 1 'Vie" 
(4.9cm), width, lVs" (4.2 cm); Saint John: height, 
1 'Vie" (4.9cm), width, l"/ie" (4.3cm); SaintMark: 
height, 1 W (4.8 cm), width, 1 Vs" (4.2 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, Inv. 
nos. 2073, 2080, 2083, 2086, 2089 

This set of niello book cover plates comes from 
the sumptuous binding of a thirteenth-century 
Evangelistary in the Vatican Library (Vat. lat. 
8892). The plate with Christ blessing occupied 
the center, and the hexagonal plates with the 
Evangelists the four corners of the front cover. 
On the reverse side, a central plate with the 
Agnus Dei was surrounded by hexagonal plates 
with the symbols of the Evangelists. Two silver- 
gilt clasps with a scrollwork tendril motif sim- 
ilar to that surrounding the plate with Christ 
blessing complete the decoration of the binding. 
The delicate elegance of this motif is quite typi- 
cal of the ornamental vocabulary of early- 
sixteenth-century Lombard goldsmiths. A similar 
light scrollwork ornament is applied along the 
outlines of a silver cross in the church of the 
Incoronata in Lodi, executed by the brothers 
Rocchi in 1512, as well as around the triangular 
base of a silver cross, dated 151 1, in the Museo 
Poldi Pezzoli in Milan (F. Malaguzzi Valeri, 1917, 
3, pi. X, p. 307, fig. 358). 

The Lombard origin of the niello plates is 
further confirmed by the style of the designs 
themselves, which recalls the austere and earnest 
mood of the figures painted by Bramantino 
(c. 1465-1530) and the Lombard masters close 
to him. The plates are described in the manuscript 
inventory by Giovanni Battista De Rossi (nos. 

714-714 A-l). 

' O.R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, La Bibliotheque 
Vaticane et ses annexes, Rome, 1867, pp. 84-85, 
nos. 405-406. 

Comparative work cited: F. Malaguzzi Valeri, La corte di 
Ludovico il Moro, Milan, 1917. 


VALERIO BELLI (1468-1546) 



Vicenza, c. 1524 

Rock crystal and silver gilt 

Height, each: with frame, 4 W (11.5 cm), 
without frame, 3 %" (10 cm); width, each: 
with frame, 4 %" (12.5 cm), without 
frame, 4 Vs" (11.1cm) 

A. The Betrayal of Christ 
Inscribed: valerivs vicentinvs • f 
Inv. no. 2413 

B. Christ Carrying the Cross 
Inscribed: valerivs vicentinvs • f 
Inv. no. 2412 

C. The Entombment 

Inscribed: valerivs • debellis • vicen • f • 
Inv. no. 2415 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro 

These three oval medallions belong with a rock 
crystal crucifix, signed valeriv/s • vin • f, also in 
the Museo Sacro. Both crucifix and medallions 
have been identified with the "croce di cristallo 
divina," which, according to Vasari, was made 
by Valerio Belli for Clement VII (1523-34). The 
cross is probably the one mentioned in the papal 
inventory as "a rock crystal cross with a crucifix 
and other figures carved in it with a silver-gilt 
base, which was bought from Valerio da Vicen- 
za in the month of . . . 1524 for ducats . . . "( "1 
erode di cristallo intagliatovi un crocifisso et altre 
figure con pied'argento dorato, quale si comperb da 
Valerio da Vicenza del mese di. . . 1524 perd. . .") 
(E. Miintz, 1888, p. 74). 

The three crystal plaques must have been in- 
serted in the silver-gilt base, as occurs in an ear- 
lier rock crystal crucifix, of similar form, made 
by Belli about 1510-15 (now in the Victoria and 
Albert Museum). Comparison between the carv- 
ings on these two works shows how soon Belli, 
after his arrival in Rome in 1520, abandoned 
his dry Northern Italian Mantegnesque style in 
favor of the High Renaissance idiom of Raphael 
and Michelangelo. 

A brilliant master of crystal and hard-stone 
carving, a goldsmith, and a medalist, Belli was 

anxious, however, to adapt designs by other 
artists for his compositions. The medallion with 
The Betrayal of Christ is based upon a drawing 
by Polidoro da Caravaggio (1496/1500-1543) 
now at Windsor Castle, but it is interesting to 
note how, in this translation into crystal, Poli- 
doro's dramatic chiaroscuro and nervously 
violent style have been purified by Belli and 
transformed, through the skilled definition of 
light planes, into a deeply harmonious, classi- 
cizing frieze — the poetic creation of a master 
who has been called, aptly, "an instinctive 
Hellenist" (J. Pope-Hennessy, 1980). 

No designs for the other two medallions are 
known, but their many Raphaelesque quotations 
make it quite conceivable that they also are 
based on sketches by Polidoro or by another of 
Raphael's students. Their very high quality puts 
them among the finest of Belli's works, possi- 
bly even superior to the rock crystal plaques of 
the famous casket of Pope Clement VII, com- 
pleted in 1532 (now in the Museo degli Argenti 
in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence). Bronze pla- 
quettes, cast after the Vatican crystals, exist in 
various collections (J. Pope-Hennessy, 1965, 
pp. 9-10, nos. 7-9). 

The crucifix and the medallions were a gift of 
Pius IX (1846-78), who bought them in 1857 
from the poorhouse in Bologna, to which they 
had been bequeathed a few years earlier by a 
woman who had received them from a French 
commissar. It is likely that the crystals lost their 
original silver-gilt mount at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Miintz, "L'Oreficeria a Roma durante 
il regno di Clemente VII," in Archivio Storico dell'Arte, 
1, 1888, pp. 14-23, 35-42, 68-74; A. G. Cotton and R. M. 
Walker, "Minor Arts of the Renaissance in the Museo 
Cristiano," in The Art Bulletin, 17, 1935, pp. 132-40 (with 
earlier bibliography); F. Antal, in A. E. Popham and 
J. Wilde, The Italian Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth 
Centuries in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Wind- 
sor Castle, 1949, p. 295, no. 692; E. Steingraber, "Das 
Kreuzreliquiar des Marc'Antonio Morosini in der Schatz- 
kammer von San Marco," in Arte Veneta, 1 5, 1 96 1 , p. 56; 
J. Pope-Hennessy, "The Italian Plaquette," in Proceedings 
of the British Academy, 1 , 1 964, reprinted in The Study and 
Criticism of Italian Sculpture, New York, 1980, pp. 215-17; 
idem, Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collec- 
tion, London, 1965, pp. 9-10, nos. 7-9; E Barbieri, 
"Valerio Belli," in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, 1, 1965, 
p. 682. 



Medallion: The Netherlands, Antwerp, 

c. 1560-70; bronze-gilt frame: Florence, 

early 18th century 
Silver, cast and chased, the frames of gilt copper 

and gilt bronze, with lapis lazuli, simulated 

rubies, and glass 
Height, overall, 10 Vie" (25.5 cm); width, overall, 

8V4" (22.2 cm); diameter of medallion, 6 u /i6 

(17 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2105 

The relief shows Charles V, seated on a high 
throne, with the full complement of his imperi- 
al attributes: clad in classicizing armor and wear- 
ing the imperial crown over his helmet, he holds 
the insignia of the Holy Roman Empire — the 
sword and the globe surmounted by a cross — 
and is flanked by the twin pillars of Hercules. 
At his feet is the imperial eagle, in whose beak 
is a ring to which are attached the cords that tie 
together six princes defeated by Charles. On the 
left are Francis I, King of France, accompanied 
by an unidentified warrior (possibly one who 
was captured with the king at the Battle of Pavia 
in 1525), and the Turkish Sultan Suleiman II, in 
the act of retreating. On the right are the Ger- 
man adversaries of Charles V: John Frederick, 
Elector of Saxony; Philip, Landgrave of Hesse; 
and William, Duke of Cleve. 

The scene reproduces quite faithfully the open- 
ing plate of a well-known series of twelve prints, 
The Victories of Charles V (Divi Caroli V Imp. 
Opt. Max. Victoriae), engraved in 1555 by Dirck 
Volckertsz. Coornhert, after designs by Maarten 
van Heemskerck, and published in 1556 by 
Hieronymus Cock, in Antwerp (F. W. M. Holl- 
stein, 8, n.d., p. 241, nos. 167-178). The only 
important difference between the print and our 
medallion occurs on the left side, where the en- 
graving shows Pope Clement VII instead of the 
unidentified warrior. In the medallion, the scene 
seems to take place on a platform, supported by 
an entablature, in front of a curtain drawn across 
three open arches. The lower segment of the 

roundel is decorated with strapwork ornament, 
diamond points, and a caryatid mask, all of 
which typify the ornamental vocabulary of such 
Netherlandish designers as Comelis Floris II and 
his followers, Jacob Floris de Vriendt I and Jan 
Vredeman de Vries. Equally typical of their work 
is the molding of the medallion, with its egg- 
and-dart motif, cartouches, and semicircular 
loops. Similar medallion designs are engraved 
in J. Floris's Compertimentorum Quod vocant mul- 
tiplex Genus . . . , printed in Antwerp in 1566 by 
Hieronymus Cock; they occur frequently on 
Dutch monuments of the third quarter of the 
sixteenth century. 

Eugene Plon was the first to suggest Leone 
Leoni as the possible author of the Vatican 
medallion, mainly on the basis of Leoni's repu- 
tation as the favorite sculptor of Charles V and 
on a general affinity between the imagery of the 

medallion and Leoni's many sculptures and med- 
als of the emperor. Plon's attribution was ac- 
cepted as the most plausible by A. G. Cotton 
and R. M. Walker, although they acknowledged 
some difficulty in finding stylistic correspon- 
dences among Leoni's works. 

New evidence for the study of this relief came 
with the discovery of its close similarity to a plate 
in The Victories of Charles V, published in 1960 
by S. Williams and Jean Jacquot. These authors 
suggested that Heemskerck must have known 
the relief and based his design upon it, introduc- 
ing the figure of Clement VII as one more de- 
feated adversary of the emperor. A comparison, 
however, of the Heemskerck print and the silver 
medallion shows that the latter is based upon 
the engraving, not the other way around. 
Moreover, the presence of decorative details that 
do not appear in ornamental prints before 

1555-60 makes an earlier date extremely un- 
likely for the silver relief. 

The plates of The Victories of Charles V were 
sufficiently well known to have been used as 
models for a series of eight wooden reliefs now 
in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, 
probably carved in southern Germany or in the 
Tyrol, about 1560-70 (Sonderausstellung Karl V, 
1958, p. 31, nos. 66-73). The Viennese reliefs 
seem to have been made to decorate a small 
cabinet, of the same type as the so-called 
Wrangel-Schrank, dated 1566 (in the Westfal- 
isches Landesmuseum fur Kunst und Kulturge- 
schichte in Munster), and other related southern 
German cabinets, which often show strong Neth- 
erlandish influences. The silver medallion in the 
Vatican also may have been intended, originally, 
for a portable cabinet or writing box. Its ex- 
tremely fine chasing, with minute heraldic and 


costume details, is faithfully copied from the 
Heemskerck print and seems most likely the 
work of a Netherlandish goldsmith. It was prob- 
ably made in Antwerp — famous, about 1560, 
for its goldsmiths, silversmiths, and jewelers, 
working in close association with local design- 
ers and engravers. The narrative aspect of the Vat- 
ican medallion and its glorification of Charles V 
recall, in particular, an imposing silver-gilt basin 
(now in the Louvre) embossed and chased with 
scenes from the battles of Charles V's campaigns, 
made in Antwerp in 1558-59 (J. E Hayward, 
1976, p. 396, pi. 597). 
The medallion is mounted in a double frame; 

the first, made of gilt copper and set with lapis 
lazuli and simulated rubies, may be germane to 
the piece, but the outside bronze-gilt frame has 
an elaborate Late Baroque cartouche in the style 
of Florentine designs of the early eighteenth 
century, such as the bronze cartouches made in 
1708-11 by Massimiliano Soldani for the reliefs 
of the Seasons (now in the Bayerisches National- 
museum in Munich) (K. Lankheit, 1962, pis. 
95, 96). 

The medallion was a gift of Pius IX (1846-78). 

0. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, La Bibliotheque 
Vaticane etses annexes, Rome, 1867, p. 106, no. 490; E. Plon, 

Benvenuto Cellini, Paris, 1883, p. 275, pi. XXXIV; E. Molin- 
ier, Les Plaqueltes, Paris, 1886, p. 21, no. 354; E. Plon, 
Leone Leoni et Pompeo Leoni, Paris, 1887, p. 252; A. G. Cot- 
ton and R. M. Walker, "Minor Arts of the Renaissance in 
the Museo Cristiano," in The Art Bulletin, 17, 1935, 
pp. 151-62; S. Williams and J. Jacquot, "Ommegangs 
Anversois," in Les Fetes de la Renaissance, 2, Paris, 1960, 
p. 373. 

Comparative works cited: Sonderausstellung Karl V, Vienna, 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1958; K. Lankheit, Florentin- 
ische Barockplastik: Die Kunst am Hofe der letzen Medici 
1670-1743, Munich, 1962; J.E Hayward, Virtuoso Gold- 
smiths and the Triumph of Mannerism 1540-1620, London, 
1976; E W. H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, en- 
gravings and woodcuts 1450-1700, Amsterdam, n.d. 


PIPPI) OF ARRAS (active 1578-1601/4), 
after a wax model by Daniele da Volterra 
(1509-1566), based on drawings attributed 
to Michelangelo (1475-1564) 


Flemish, executed in Rome, c. 1579 

Ivory, cut out and mounted on a slate plaque, set 
in an ebony frame inlaid with silver ajoure 
and engraved ornamental plaquettes and with 
eight cutout cherubs holding instruments of 
the Passion 

Relief: height, 11 Vie " (29 cm); width, 8 > 5 A 6 " (22. 7 
cm); overall (including frame): height, 17' 5 /i6" 
(45. 5 cm); width, 14 l5 Ae " (38 cm) 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Museo Sacro, 
Inv. no. 2445 

The relief is based on a well-known composi- 
tion, the idea for which was attributed, as early 
as 1610, to Michelangelo (O. Doering, 1894, pp. 
48, 55). This, indeed, is borne out by two 
drawings — one in the Teylers Museum in Haar- 
lem (A 25 r.), the other in the British Museum 
(1860-6-16-4) — often attributed to Michelan- 
gelo. The Haarlem red-chalk study, depicting the 
nucleus of the composition, with the body of 
Christ being lowered from the cross, was as- 
signed by B. Berenson and F. Knapp to Sebas- 
tiano del Piombo; by Erwin Panofsky, Wolfgang 
Stechow, and Marita Horster to Daniele da 
Volterra; but accepted as a Michelangelo by H. 
Marcuard, H. Thode, L. Goldscheider, J. Wilde, 
Frederick Hartt, and Charles De Tolnay (refs., in 
Corpus .... 1975, no. 89 r., p. 82). The black- 
chalk sketch in the British Museum, a study for 
the mourning Virgin sustained by a Mary and by 
Saint John, was ascribed to Daniele da Volterra 
by E. Panofsky and F. Baumgart, but was accept- 
ed as a Michelangelo by B. Berenson, H. Thode, 
A. E. Brinckmann, and J. Wilde (refs., in J. 
Wilde, 1953, no. 69, p. 108), as well as by Hartt 
(1971, no. 451, p. 321). 

Among the many reliefs in various mediums 
and sizes that reflect the extraordinary popularity 
of this composition (M. Horster, 1965, p. 199), 
only three examples — all in Florence and of 
nearly identical dimensions — are relevant for a 
complete understanding of the Museo Sacro 
ivory. They are: a well-known stucco relief in 
the Casa Buonarroti (W. Stechow, 1928, p. 92; 

L. Goldscheider, 1973, pi. XXXI), a wax relief in 
the Museo Nazionale (R. W. Lightbown, 1970, 
p. 37, ill.), and an ivory in the Museo degli 
Argenti of the Palazzo Pitti (C. R. Morey, 1936, 
fig. 47). 

Morey was the first to observe the close 
conformity of the Pitti ivory to the Vatican ivory, 
and to suggest that both were carved by the same 
master: an Italian artist, working about the mid- 
dle of the sixteenth century. Recent scholarship, 
however, has clarified in further detail the mutu- 
al relationship of the three reliefs and the 
authorship and dating of the Pitti ivory. 

The stucco relief in the Casa Buonarroti ap- 
pears to be a rough cast taken from the Museo 
Nazionale wax. The wax was attributed by 
Horster to Daniele da Volterra, and dated in the 
1560s on the basis of a newly discovered copy 
drawn by Vasari. . 

As to the Pitti ivory (C. Piacenti Ashengreen, 
1968, pp. 14, 152), it must be identified now 
with one of several replicas made after an ivory 
relief, "sul disegno di Daniele da Volterra," by 
Nicolo Pippi, and delivered to the Medici 
Guardaroba on May 13, 1579 (Archivio di Stato, 
Florence, Guardaroba, 79, p. 39). The original 
ivory, still unlocated, was sent as a gift to the 
Viceroy of Catalonia, Don Ermando de Toledo, 
but the Vatican relief most likely is another of 
the copies mentioned in the Florentine docu- 
ment. Such replicas probably were carved with 
the help of stucco casts, like the one in the Casa 
Buonarroti for which Daniele da Volterra's 
authorship is now confirmed. 

If we accept the currently prevailing attribu- 
tion to Michelangelo of the Teylers Museum 
drawing, we must conclude that Daniele reused 
and adapted this early composition shortly after 
the death, in 1564, of Michelangelo (a direct 
reference to whom, in the Vatican ivory, is the 
old man standing behind Mary). The ivory rep- 
licas of 1579 were commissioned as devotional 
objects, inspired by the desire to multiply and 
codify the master's compositions as religious 
Counter-Reformation symbols, much as hap- 
pened with his Pieta composition for Vittoria 
Colonna (C. De Tolnay, 1953). 

Both the Pitti and Vatican reliefs, in all 
likelihood, were executed in Rome. In 1578, 
Pippi was not only settled in the city, but also 
was considered one of the leading Flemish 

sculptors, of an excellence comparable to 
Giovanni Bologna in Florence (R. Beer, 1891, 
CXCVIII, no. 8471). Known especially for his 
works in marble, such as the Last Judgment re- 
lief (of 1579) for the tomb of the Duke of Cleve 
at Santa Maria deH'Anima in Rome (A. Venturi, 
1937, fig. 517), Pippi must have been also an 
accomplished ivory carver. 

In the Vatican relief, the Michelangelesque 
composition has been adapted with a remark- 
able feeling for its melodious and emotional 
impact. A precise, sensitive use of the chisel, 
reflecting the control of a hand used to making 
drawings after the master's Roman works, here 
results in a noble stylization and a pronounced 
graphic quality. 

The ebony frame does not appear to be con- 
temporary with the relief. The style of the cher- 
ubs carrying the instruments of the Passion, and 
of the ornamental plaquettes, suggests that the 
frame was made in southern Germany, about 

The ivory was the gift of Gregory XVI 
(1831-46), who, according to a letter recently 
discovered by Giovanni Morello in the Vatican 
Library archives, purchased it in 1835 from a 
Tommaso Pansieri. q. R. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: X. Barbier de Montault, La Bibliotheque 
Vaticane et ses annexes, Rome, 1867, pp. 44, 71, no. 310; 
C. R. Morey, Gli oggetti di avorio et di osso del Museo Sacro 
Vatkano. Catalogo del Museo Sacro, I, Vatican City, 1936, 
pp. 42-50, 89, pi. XXXII. 

Comparative works cited: R. Beer, "Acten, Regenten und 
Inventaren aus dem Archivio General zu Simanca," in 
Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des allerhbchsten 
Kaiserhauses, 12, 2, 1891, no. 8471; O. Doering, Philipp 
Hainhofers Beziehungen zum Herzog Philipp II in Pommern- 
Stettin, Vienna, 1894; W. Stechow, "Daniele da Volterra 
als Bildhauer," in Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlun- 
gen, 49, 1928, pp. 82-92; A. Venturi, Storia dell' Arte Italiana, 
X, 3, Milan, 1937, pp. 632-42; C. De Tolnay, "Michel- 
angelo's Pieta Composition for Vittoria Colonna," in Record 
of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 13, 1953, pp. 
44-62; J. Wilde, Italian Drawings in the British Museum: 
Michelangelo and His Studio, London, 1953; M. Horster, 
"Eine unbekannte Handzeichnung aus dem Michelangelo- 
Kreis und die Darstellung der Kreuzabnahme im Cinque- 
cento," in Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch, 28, 1965, p. 199; C. 
Piacenti Ashengreen, // Museo degli Argenti a Firenze, Milan, 
1968; R. W. Lightbown, "Le cere artistiche del Cinque- 
cento," in Arte Illustrata, 3, 1970, nos. 34-36; F. Hartt, 
Michelangelo Drawings, New York, 1971; L. Goldscheider, 
Michelangelo, London, 1973; C. De Tolnay, Corpus dei disegni 
di Michelangelo, I, Novara, 1975. 




Clement XIV (1769-74) and Pius VI (1775-99) 
were the founders of this museum. The pur- 
chase of the Fusconi and Mattei collections in 
1770, and their transfer to the Palazzetto del 
Belvedere, the fifteenth-century villa of Inno- 
cent VIII on the Vatican hill, brought about a 
revival of interest in antique sculptures along with those al- 
ready in the sculpture court of the Belvedere. Yet, underlying 
the creation of the new museum were the moving forces of 
the eighteenth century. When Clement XTV dissolved the Jesuit 
Order on July 21, 1773, with the (papal) brief "Dominus ac 
Redemptor," he thereby considered the Counter Reformation 
ended. During the second half of the sixteenth century, the 
statue court of the Palazzetto del Belvedere had fallen victim 
to the fanatical proponents of the Counter Reformation. In 
the second half of the eighteenth century, this same sculpture 
court became the nucleus of the new Museo Pio- Clementine 
Clement XIV had Anton Raphael Mengs portray his vi- 
sion of the new museum in a ceiling fresco in the Gabinetto 
dei Papiri of the Vatican Library, a commission awarded in 
1771 and completed by July 1772 (see fig. 30). In a framed 
central painting set between the figures of Moses and Peter, 
the founding of the Museo Pio-Clementino is depicted as an 
allegory. The personification of History is seated in the center 
of the scene, wearing a white robe with a pink mantle over 
her left arm. She lifts her head, crowned with a laurel wreath, 
to look at a Janus-like figure in a green robe standing before 
her, to whom she appears to be listening. This figure with a 
double face— indicating knowledge of both past and future- 
has raised his hand as he speaks. His youthful face, turned 
toward her, is in the light; his bearded, old face, in shadow, 
looks away. History is writing in a large open book propped 
against the wings of an old man in a brown robe, a scythe 
resting on his arm, who sits in front of her— an allegorical 
representation of Time in the form of Saturn, the Kronos of 
the ancient Greeks. A winged boy, a spirit reminiscent of 

Amor wearing an oak wreath in his hair, rushes toward 
History; he looks back with an air of mischief, for he is clutch- 
ing a number of scrolls in his arms, testaments from the past 
that he has rescued from the deterioration wrought by Time 
in order to entrust to History. Hovering above the scene on 
white wings, wearing a yellow- gold gown and a billowing 
lavender mantle, is the figure of Fame. Sh e sounds a trumpet 
to the glory of the Clementine museum, toward which her 
left hand is pointing and which is identified by an inscription 
above its entrance. 

The assembly of allegorical personages is depicted as 
though gathered in 1772 in the old sculpture court of the 
Belvedere, the virtual forecourt of the new Museo Pio- 
Clementino. Above the open door is the lower portion of the 
coat of arms of Clement XIV, with the ends of a garland of 
oak leaves hanging down on either side. Until a short time 
before ( 1 771 ) , the coat of arms of Innocent VIII, held aloft by 
two angels (see cat. no. 14), had occupied that place. The 
expressive gesture of the Janus-like figure invites History to 
visit the new museum, and History records the occasion of 
the opening. The youthful Janus face proclaims the dawn of 
a new age, and the presence of Saturn, Amor, and Fame 
suggests that it is to be a golden one. 

At the foot of the painting, the seated figure of Peter 
functions almost as a pillar, supporting History, lending per- 
manence to this moment and serving as a witness to her act. 
Above his head two angels hold a tablet inscribed with the 
words of Christ, svper/hancpetram/a[e]dificabo/ecclesiam/ 
meam (Matthew 16:18), which serves as a base for the 
picture. The institution of the Church gives the heathen past 
a home in the new Museo Pio-Clementino. As the caretaker 
and trustee of antiquity, the museum ensures that the past 
will not be forgotten. An ancient inscribed stone depicted at 
the bottom of the picture provides eloquent testimony to this 
intention. It is lying within the gaze of the aging figure of 
Time, its edges chipped and grass beginning to grow up around 


it. The acronym in its last line is apt: h[oc] m[onumentum] 
h[eredem] n[on] s[equitur] (the right to the burial place shall 
not pass to the heirs to the fortune), here suggesting that the 
Church, though heir to the treasures of antiquity, will not 
share its burial place, its demise. The stone was a gift to the 
pope from Jacopo Bellotti in 1771, and is, today, exhibited in 
the Galleria Lapidaria. 

The sixteenth-century sculpture court of the Belvedere 
was a garden area in the open air, but the new museum was 
given the interior rooms of the Palazzetto del Belvedere. The 
architect Alessandro Dori began reconstruction of the papal 
chambers in January 1771. The open arches of the loggia 
were closed in, and the long space set up as a sculpture gallery. 
The walls separating the apartment wing to the east were 
removed, and erected in their place, corresponding to the 
sequence of rooms, were three large arches in the form of the 
Serliana (the Palladian motif of a wide central arch resting 
on columns and flanked by narrow openings) . In this manner, 
the apartments were brought together to form the Sala dei 
Busti, in which primarily Roman portraits, such as the dual 
portrait of the Gratidii (see cat. no. 129), are displayed. In the 
following years, 1772-73, the statue court of the Belvedere 
gained a portico. The old disposition of the ancient statues — 
with the Apollo, the Laocoon, and the Venus on the south side — 
was maintained, as an engraving by Vincenzo Feoli (fig. 3 1 ) 
makes clear, but, through the integration of sculpture and 
architecture, the aesthetic effect was intensified. The forma- 
tion of the Cortile Ottagono from the old statue court of the 
Palazzetto del Belvedere was a first step toward the establish- 
ment of a museum of art. Under the following pontificate, 
that of Pius VI (1775-99), the Museum Pium, in fact, came 
into being, and was incorporated into the existing Museum 
Clementinum by the architect Simonetti, to create the Museo 

Pius VI spared neither effort nor cost in the expansion of 
the museum founded by his predecessor at his own urging. 
Though, prior to his pontificate, existing rooms had been 
adequate to display the ancient statues, Pius VI set about 
erecting new buildings especially for these monuments of 
antiquity. By 1784, the tenth year of his pontificate, an in- 
scription on the site where the new museum joins the Li- 
brary already proclaimed the realization of his plan: "Pius VI 
constructed the Museum Pium for the study of the fine arts 
and as an ornament to the Vatican Palace as a wholly new 
building, uniting it with the Clementine Museum occupying 
portions of structures from the time of Innocent VIII, and 
moreover enriching it most generously with an extraordi- 
nary wealth of ancient monuments in 1784, the tenth year 
of his pontificate. " 

Thus, the new museum was intended to foster study of, 
devotion to, and research on the fine arts. The numerous 
illustrious visitors at that time testify to the tremendous sup- 
port accorded this idea. The pope insisted on guiding the 
Swedish King Gustavus III through his museum himself (the 
visit is depicted in a fresco in the library; see fig. 32). Artists, 
poets, and writers accepted the pope's challenge, and the 
regard for the Apollo Belvedere and for the Laocoon group was 
heightened. This is especially apparent in the discussion be- 


fore the English House of Commons concerning the pur- 
chase of the Parthenon sculptures on February 15, 1816: 

Chairman of the committee: "To which of the works you 
have seen in Italy do you think the Theseus [of the Elgin 
marbles] bears the greatest resemblance?" 

The sculptor Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823): "I compare 
that to the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoon. " 

Chairman: "Do you think the Theseus as fine a sculpture 
as the Apollo?" 

Nollekens: "I do." 

Chairman: "Do you think it has more or less ideal beauty 

than the Apollo?" 
Nollekens: "I cannot say it has more than the Apollo. " 

There followed this exchange with John Flaxman (1755- 



Chairman: "In what estimation do you hold the Theseus, 
as compared with the Apollo Belvedere and the 

Flaxman: "If you would permit me to compare it with a 

fragment I will mention, I should estimate it before the 

Torso Belvedere." 
Chairman: "As compared with the Apollo Belvedere, in 

what rank do you hold the Theseus?" 
Flaxman: "I should prefer the Apollo Belvedere certainly, 

though I believe it is only a copy. " 
Chairman: "Supposing the state of the Theseus to be perfect, 

would you value it more as a work of art than the Apollo?" 
Flaxman: "No; I should value the Apollo for the ideal 

beauty, before any male statue I know. " 

The painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) gave a 
different evaluation when asked to rate the Parthenon 

Chairman: "Do you conceive any of the Elgin Marbles to 
be of a higher class than the Apollo Belvedere? " 

Lawrence: "I do; because I consider that there is in them 
an union of fine composition, and very grand form, with 
a more true and natural expression of the effect of ac- 
tion upon the human frame than there is in the Apollo, 
or in any of the other most celebrated statues." 

And Benjamin West (1738-1820) contributed to the protocol: 

"The Apollo of the Belvedere, the Torso, and the Laocoon, 
are systematic art; the Theseus and the Ilissus stand su- 
preme in art. " 

The pope could not have hoped for a more resounding re- 
sponse to the new arrangement of the old statues in the Bel- 
vedere courtyard. 

The reopening of the Cortile does full justice to the sec- 
ond motive in the inscription, that of ornamenting the Vati- 
can Palace. The third statement in the dedicatory inscription 
from 1784 relates that Pius VI created his museum as some- 
thing wholly new, a "fundamentis extruxit. " From the Scala 
Simonetti, this phrase is visible over the entrance to the 
Biblioteca Apostolica, as well as from the Cortile Ottagono, 
above the entrance to the Sala degli Animali, and, in a slight- 
ly altered form, from the center of the floor of the Galleria 
delle Statue. In this last place one reads (in Latin): "Pius VI 
built the entire museum from this stone to the library, and 
decorated it." In fact, this pope had expanded the Galleria 
delle Statue to the west, connecting it to the Sala degli Animali. 
Although, in the process, the chapel containing late-fifteenth- 
century frescoes by Mantegna was sacrificed, the unity of the 
museum, as well as the arrangement and accessibility of the 
galleries, was immeasurably enhanced. The entrance to the 
Galleria delle Statue from the Cortile Ottagono was closed, 
to give prominence to the center of the museum. The court- 
yard now could be entered only from the Vestibolo Rotondo 
on the east and from the Sala degli Animali on the west, 
giving it an axial orientation. Simonetti's new building was 
aligned along that same axis, adding to it the Sala delle Muse 
and the Sala Rotonda — the latter a counterpart to, though 
far more grandiose than, the Vestibolo Rotondo. 

The wall painting in the Sala Alessandrina of the library 
shows how Pius VI wished to present his museum (see fig. 
33). A similar view appears in the painting by Bernardino 
Nocchi, with its allegorical figures reminiscent of the ceiling 
fresco by Mengs. From the foot of the Scala Simonetti one 
looks up, through the Sala a Croce Greca as a kind of vestibule, 
at the monumental entry portal to the Sala Rotonda, flanked 
by telamones and inscribed on its architrave: "Museum 
Pium. " This is the view at the end of the over-300-meter- 


long corridor, beside the courtyard of Bramante to the west; the 
arrangement is repeated on a smaller scale on the east side, 
where an inscription on the architrave over the entrance to 
the Vestibolo Rotondo reads : "Museum Clementinum. ' ' The 
sequence of grand staircase, vestibule, and imposing domed 
gallery would become a model for subsequent art museums. 

The exhibition galleries are named either for their archi- 
tectural form — the Sala a Croce Greca is a Greek cross with 
four arms of equal length; the Sala Rotonda is circular — or 
after the subjects of the works displayed in them, such as the 
Sala delle Muse or the Sala degli Animali. In the Sala Rotonda, 
in front of each pilaster that divides up the space, is a colos- 
sal bust on a truncated porphyry column. There are images 
of gods and of mortals, of Jupiter, Juno, and Ceres, and of 
Claudius, Hadrian, and Antinous. Copies of works from the 
fifth century b.c by Pheidias and his followers are side by side 
with portraits from the time of the Roman Empire (the first 
century b.c. to the sixth century a.d. ) . According to Giovanni 
Battista Visconti, the first eloquent chronicler of the Museo 
Pio-Clementino, ancient art maintained the same high 
standard, whether from the age ofPeriklesin the fifth century 
b.c or from the time of Hadrian well into the second century 
a.d. Thus, ancient monuments of the most diverse prove- 
nance are here placed together in a systematic arrangement 
and take on a visual and logical unity within their architec- 
tural context. 

Found in a Tiburtine villa were numerous portraits of 
famous Greeks — those of the Seven Sages, as well as other 
philosophers, poets, and orators. One of these, the portrait 
Herm of Perikles (see cat. no. 124) — "son of Xanthippos, the 
Athenian, " as the inscription on its shaft proclaims — achieved 
particular significance shortly after its discovery. In the sum- 
mer of 1779, the poet Vincenzo Monti (1754-1828) recited 
his "Prosopopea di Pericle" in the "Arcadia," to such ac- 

claim that this poem is still displayed in a frame next to the 
portrait. Referring to Pius VI he wrote: "Even in the realm of 
the Greek Elysium, though remote from grace, there is none- 
theless one illustrious spirit worthy of doing you homage. " 

Pius VI died in Valence, on the Rhone, as a prisoner of 
Napoleon, at the age of eighty-two, on August 29, 1799. 
Following the agreement made at Tolentino on February 19, 
1797, the chief works of his museum were to be delivered to 
the French, and this was accomplished after the occupation 
of Rome under General Berthier on February 10, 1798. On 
July 27 and 28, 1798, the plundered art was paraded through 
Paris in a ceremony organized in the manner of a Roman 
triumphal procession. When the Musee Napoleon opened 
in the Louvre on April 10, 1800, Bonaparte insisted on per- 
sonally affixing an inscribed bronze tablet to the base of the 
statue of Apollo. 

It seemed, then, that the generation that created the 
Museo Pio-Clementino would also experience its dissolution. 
Yet, the idea that gave birth to this museum would prove to 
be much stronger, and more vital, contagious, and long-lived: 
the Pio-Clementino can still be admired in almost its original 
form even today — though now it is but a part of a museum, 
within a museum. GeQrg DaJtrop 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. B. and E. Qu. Visconti, // Museo Pio-Clementino, I- VII, Rome, 
1782-1807; P Massi, Indicazione antiquaria del Pontificio Museo Pio-Clementino in Vaticano, 
Rome, 1792; A. Michaelis, Ein Jahrhundert kunstarchdologischer Entdeckungen, 2nd ed., 
Leipzig, 1908; B. Nogara, Origine e sviluppo dei Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, Rome, 1948; 
C Pietrangeli, "II Museo Clementino Vaticano," in Rendiconti delta Pontificia Accademia 
Romana di Archeologia, 27, 1951/52, pp. 87-109; idem, Scavi e scoperte di antichitd sotto il 
pontificato di Pio VI, 2nd ed., Rome, 1958; idem, "I musei Vaticani al tempo di Pio VI," 
mBollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 1,2, 1959-74, pp. 7-45; S. Howard, 
"An Antiquarian Handlist of the Pio-Clementino," in Eighteenth Century Studies, 1, 
1973, pp. 40-61; S. Rottgen, "Das Papyruskabinett von Mengs in der Biblioteca Vaticana, 
ein Beitrag zur Idee und Geschichte des Museo Pio-Clementino," in Munchner Jahrbuch 
der bildenden Kunst, 31, 1980, pp. 189-245; H. von Steuben, "Das Museo Pio- 
Clementino," in Antikensammlungen im 18. Jahrhundert, ed. H. Beck et al. (Frankfurter 
Forschungen zur Kunst, 9), Berlin, 1981, pp. 149-65. 

FIG. 32 

FIG. 33 





Roman, 2nd century a. d. (Hadrianic period), 

after a Greek original 

Height, 79 ¥ 4 " (202.5 cm) 

Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala delle Muse, Inv. no. 310 

The statue as it appears today is complete. Exten- 
sive modern restoration — above all, of the head 
and kithara — probably gives us an accurate idea 
of the Apollo's original form. The head, added sep- 
arately, has been part of the work since antiquity. 

Together with eight statues of Muses (includ- 
ing cat. nos. 55, 56), the Apollo was discovered 
in the so-called Villa of Cassius, near Tivoli, by 
Domenico De Angelis in 1775. It was restored 
by Gaspare Sibilla, then acquired by Pius VI, 
and carried off by Napoleon to Paris, where it 
remained from 1798 to 1816. 

The god Apollo, caught in a vigorously for- 
ward-striding pose, is characterized as a kitha- 
rode by the musical instrument whose strings 
he plucks and by his long, high-waisted robe. 
He also wears a chiton with sleeves, and a full- 
length cloak, draped across his back and fas- 
tened with two large buttons at the shoulders. 
His motion causes the robe to billow behind him. 
The head is raised, graced by a laurel wreath 
with a large jewel in the center; the hair is parted, 
some tied back, the rest falling freely. The kithara 
is secured by a band over his right shoulder. On 
the inside of the kithara's forward arm is the 
hanging Marsyas, in relief. Most of the kithara is 
restored, but the lower portion is surely antique. 

The conception of this Apollo was based upon 
Greek models. The sense of movement in the 
drapery and the play of the folds, especially, are 
treated with a restraint that recalls the classi- 
cism of Hadrian's time. Though majestically cool, 
something of the originally dynamic image of 
the kithara-playing god, nonetheless, has found 
its way into the statue. 

Although this Apollo is represented as the 
leader of the choir of the Muses, the vitality of 
the striding god is hardly compatible with the 
calmly standing and seated Muses; the statue, 
perhaps, was created as a single figure, and only 
later displayed with the assembled Muses. 

The ancients regarded Apollo as the preserv- 
er of moral order and noble moderation. He was 
the god of the arts, particularly of music, and 
leader of the Muses, as Homer reported (Iliad, I, 
603-4). Musical instruments and the bow are 
his attributes (for the bow, see cat. no. 20) . Apollo 
is the source not only of the unerring arrow, but 
also of the apt song. Plato (Republic, 399 E) was 
convinced of the ethical effects of Apollonian 
music: "We are doing nothing new in granting 
precedence to Apollo and the instruments of 
Apollo [lyre and kithara] over Marsyas and his 
instruments [wind instruments] ." q d 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, 1, Berlin, 1936, p. 60, no. 516, pis. 
6-7; W Helbig, Ftihrer durch die offentlkhen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan undLateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 82; 
K. M. Tiirr, "Eine Musengruppe hadrianischer Zeit," in 
Monumenta Artis Romanae, X, Berlin, 1971, pp. 36-40, 
67-68, pis. 28, 30. 




Roman, 2nd century a. d. (Hadrianic period), 

after a Greek original 
Pentelic marble 
Height, 62 '¥,6 " (159.5 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala delle Muse, Inv. no. 295 

This considerably damaged seated Muse has 
been accurately restored, except for the posi- 
tion of the right forearm and the pedum (or 
shepherd's crook); the tympanum is, undoubt- 
edly, correctly restored, given the curved depres- 
sion in the folds of the garment on the left thigh. 

This statue, too, was discovered by De Angelis 
in 1775, in the so-called Villa of Cassius, with 
the seven other Muses and the Apollo Musagetes 
(see cat. nos. 54, 56) . Like thtm, it was restored 
by Sibilla, acquired by the pope, and taken to 
Paris by Napoleon. 

The mask, pedum, tympanum, and ivy wreath 
characterize this youthful woman seated on a 
rock as Thalia, the Muse of comedy and light 
verse. She wears several layered garments: a chi- 
ton buttoned along the arms under a chiton 
without sleeves fastened with a large button on 
each shoulder and secured by a belt, and a cloak 
draped loosely over her legs. The wreath sug- 
gests her affinity to Dionysos. 

This type of Muse, of which five additional 
statues and two heads survive, is notable for its 
easy, relaxed, cross-legged pose, slender propor- 
tions, wealth of movement in the composition, 
and plasticity. The gracefully inclined head is 
particularly effective in the version in the Museo 
Gregoriano Profano (Inv. no. 9969), which, of 
the two, is of superior execution and better 
preserved. The Pio-Clementino Muse is a reflec- 
tion, in the classicistic style of the second centu- 
ry a.d., of the original, which was created in the 
Late Classic period of the fourth century b.c. 

The Thalia belongs to a group of Muses 
whose attributes suggest their particular province 
and function. In the rendering, an attempt was 
made to capture the essence of each Muse; it 
was only later that this differentiation of the 
individual Muses gave way to the schema of 
the nine. Ensembles of Muses were considered 
appropriate decoration for private Roman li- 
braries, reflecting the creative and literary ambi- 
tions of their owners, as Cicero attests (Ad jam., 
7, 23, 2). The frequent combination of poets 
and Muses on sarcophagi and in mosaics of the 
Late Roman Empire may derive from actual dis- 
plays of grouped statues. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, 1, Berlin, 1936, p. 27, no. 503, pi. 4; 
W. Helbig, Fuhrer durch die offentlichen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Papstlichen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 
63; K. M. Turr, "Eine Musengruppe hadrianischer Zeit," 
in Monumenta Artis Romanae, X, Berlin, 1971, pp. 32-35, 
67, pis. 25, 26. 



Roman, 2nd century a. d. (Hadrianic period), after 

a Greek original 
Pentelic marble 
Height, 50 1 Vie" (129 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala delle Muse, Inv. no. 312 

This seated Muse is, doubtlessly, correctly re- 
stored. The head, worked separately and in large 
part a restoration, is not the original one; the 
marble appears to match, but not the style 
of execution. 

De Angelis discovered this statue, together with 
seven other Muses and the Apollo Musagetes ( see 
cat. nos. 54, 55). Sibilla was also the restorer, 
and, after its acquisition by the pope, Napoleon 
carried it off to Paris along with the other statues. 

The writing tablet in her left hand identifies 
this figure as Calliope, the Muse of heroic poetry, 
the epic, and the elegy. One corner of the dip- 
tych on her lap is original; thus, the position of 
the left hand corresponded roughly to the hand 
as restored. She leaned on her right arm, and, 
in her right hand, she probably held a stylus. 
The Calliope wears a sleeved chiton, buttoned 
along the arm; a sleeveless, tightly belted chiton 
over that; and a cloak on which she sits and 
which lies across her lap. 

This type of Muse, of which eleven similar 
examples exist (see Bibliography), derives from 
the basic scheme for seated figures first formu- 
lated in Late Classic times, during the fourth 
century b.c. The arm rests on the slightly higher 
leg with the foot drawn back, and the upper 
body turns in the direction of the advanced foot. 
The bending and turning of the body, here, par- 
ticularly emphasize the meditative aspect of the 
elegiac Muse. The pose is, nevertheless, natural — 
as are the academic arrangement and deep mod- 
eling of the drapery. Such individual statues as 
the Calliope began to be represented as part of a 
group during the Hadrianic period, its compo- 
nents drawn from the rich store of Classic and 
Hellenistic images available to the sculptor. 

In the late period, the Muses became sche- 
matic figures from a long-outmoded tradition. 
At one time, however, they were vital forces. In 
the epics of Homer, they inspired the poet with 
speech and with song. At the beginning of the 
Iliad, Homer asks the Muse of heroic poetry to 
sing of the wrath of Achilles; at the beginning 
of the Odyssey, he begs her to name for him the 
hero who was cast about after destroying the 
sacred city of Troy. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, I, Berlin, 1936, p. 56, no. 515, pis. 7, 
8; W Helbig, Fuhrer durch die offentlkhen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 80; 
K. M. Turr, "Eine Musengruppe hadrianischer Zeit," in 
MonumentaArtisRomanae, X, Berlin, 1971, pp. 28-31, 66, 
pi. 20. 



Roman, 2nd century a. d. (Hadrianic period), after a 

Greek original from the early fourth century b. c. 

Height, 33 l h " (85 cm) 

Museo Pio-Clementino, Galleria delle Statue, Inv. 
no. 769 

This statue of a boy is well preserved, although 
lacking both forearms from the elbows down, 
and both legs below the thigh. Other minor dam- 
age was sustained by the nose (restored) and 
hair. Two vertical grooves on the back, each with 
a large square hole, are evidence of the place 
where wings were once attached. 

The Eros was found in Centocelle, along the 
Via Labicana, by Gavin Hamilton, from whom 
Clement XIV acquired the statue in April 1772. 
It was removed by Napoleon to Paris, where it 
remained from 1798 to 1816. 

The long-haired boy stood upright, most of 
his weight on the left leg, the right one relaxed, 
though only slightly, as the position of the thigh 
indicates. Other copies of the statue show that 
the winged Eros stood calmly, deep in thought, 
a bow in his left hand. Presumably, the right 
hand, at his side, held an arrow. The propor- 
tions are Classic, reflecting the influence of Poly- 
kleitos, especially in the way that the body is 
slightly closed on the side of the supporting leg. 
The delicate curvature of the central axis of 
the compact torso and the modeling endow the 
sculpture with a sense of movement. This kind 
of sculptural form, and the tightly curled hair, 
suggest that this copy was based on a bronze 
original, while the lifelessness of the smooth mar- 
ble and the unskilled use of the drill for the hair 
are characteristic of Roman copies from the sec- 
ond century a.d. 

According to the ancient writers, in cult images 
Eros was depicted as a boy of considerable 
beauty, with a quiet grace of gesture. Praxiteles, 
especially, is said to have created figures of this 
type — which the Eros of Centocelle undoubtedly 
resembles. Statues of Eros were found in gym- 
nasiums, and the Spartans are known to have 
sacrificed to him before going into battle. Eros 
embodies the yearning of the soul, which he 
accompanies through life and death, and leads 
to higher bliss. 

In Roman imperial times, Eros was reinter- 
preted as a god of death and, therefore, the type 
of the Eros of Centocelle appeared frequently as a 
tomb statue; as the spirit of death, Thanatos, he 
held a torch in his lowered right hand. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, pp. 408-13, no. 250, 
pi. 45; W. Helbig, Fuhrer durch die offentlkhen Samm- 
lungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Papstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, no. 116; P Zanker, Klassizistische Statuen, Studien 
zur Verdnderung des Kunstgeschmacks in der rbmischen 
Kaiserzeit, Mainz, 1974, pp. 108-9, pis. 81, 82. 



Roman, last quarter of the 1st century a. d. 

Height, 33 Vie " (84 cm); width, 22 Vie " (57 cm); 

depth, 16 l Vie " (43 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Galleria delle Statue, 

lnv. no. 770 

The inscription on the front of this square mono- 
lith must have been chiseled off before the altar 
was set up in the Museo Pio-Clemenuno. Other- 
wise, the altar has been only slightly damaged; 
the top, at the back, is restored. 

Before it was acquired by the Vatican, this 
tomb altar is known to have been in San Lorenzo 
fuori le Mura. Since about 1780, it has served as 
a base for the Eros of Centocelle (see cat. no. 57). 

At the edges of the block are columns with 
inward-twisting fluting and Composite capitals. 
Beside each column is the leg of a tripod deco- 
rated with scales and with paws for feet. Each 
leg supports a volute composed of bead-and- 
reel ornament and containing a ram's head fac- 
ing inward; between the volutes a goat nurses 
its kid. Through the volutes passes a garland, 
the ends of which hang down between the col- 
umns and the tripod legs. Below the tablet with 
the now-missing inscription is a relief of a man 
and wife in an open doorway, their right hands 
clasped in the gesture of dextrarum iunctio (see 
cat. no. 129). This scene and the legs of the tri- 
pod rest on a relief of birds fighting over an in- 
sect (a cicada), with rams' heads at either end. 
On each of the narrow sides of the altar is a 
laurel tree with birds at the foot of the trunk, 
framed at the back by an Ionic pilaster. 

The composition of the altar's pictorial ele- 
ments, the inscription, the dress and rendering 
of the figures, and the characteristic drill holes 
in the carving of the garland point to a date in 
the Late Flavian period of the last quarter of the 
first century a.d. The group of the suckling goat 
evokes a bucolic idyll, to be understood as a 
symbol of peace and prosperity. 

Tomb monuments in the form of altars could 
be used as libation altars, supports for sarcophagi, 
or as memorials. This funerary altar displays all 
the features of a memorial that the freedman 
Rhamnus once consecrated to the Manes of 
T. Vestricius Hyginus and his wife, Vestricia He- 
tera, as its inscription indicated before it was 
chiseled away. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, VI, 4, 
fasc. 1, p. 2790, no. 28639; W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen 
des Vaticanischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, pp. 413-14, 
no. 250a, pi. 45; W Altmann, Die romischen Grabaltare 
der Kaiserzeit, Berlin, 1905, p. 162, no. 204, ill. 132; 
N. Himmelmann, Uber Hirten-Genre in der antiken Kunst 
(Abhandlungen der rheinisch-westfalischen Akademie 
der Wissenschaften, 65), Opladen, 1980, p. 123, pi. 41. 



Roman, 1st century a.d. 

Total height, 72 Vs " (184. 5 cm); height of base, 
28 Vie " (72.2 cm); height of upper part, 
44 "Ae" (113.5 cm) 

Galleria dei Candelabri, II 51, lnv. no. 2482 

The candelabrum consists of a base, shaft, and 
bowl. The feet have been damaged and restored. 
The heads of the Erotes in the reliefs on the base 
are weathered, or missing. 

Although known since the end of the fifteenth 
century — the candelabrum is shown in a draw- 

59 A 

ing in the Codex Escurialensis — it was not until 
January 1772 that Clement XIV brought it to 
the Vatican from the church of Sant'Agnese 
in Rome. 

The mock feet at the lower corners, upon 
which the three- sided base rests, consist of the 
bodies and wings of sphinxes and the claws of 
lions; between the sphinxes are ornamental re- 
liefs with palmettes, vines, and rosettes. On each 
of the three center panels of the base is an Eros, 
whose thighs terminate in acanthus leaves 
sprouting vines and rosettes. The Erotes hold 
baskets of fruit, bunches of grapes, fillets, a horn 
of plenty, or a pedum. Above these panels is a 
frieze of blossoms and palmettes, with rams' 
heads in the corners. The shaft, a baluster set on 
a profiled foot, appears to rise out of a calyx of 
acanthus leaves with blossoms. The middle of 
the shaft is encircled by a wreath of acanthus 

59 B 


vines and palmettes, and, above, by three con- 
necting swags made up of fruit. The strongly 
profiled top is composed of a projecting, turned 
row of petals, with a band of stylized, upright 
leaves above it. Over this is the fluted bowl (pre- 
sumed to be modern) , with an overhanging rim 
of leaves. 

The clean, clearly denned treatment of the 
ornament and of the Erotes suggests Late Augus- 
tan rather than Trajanic work, as is generally 

This candelabrum most certainly is one of a 
set of six from Sant'Agnese (one is still there, 
two are in the Galleria dei Candelabri, and 
another is in the Galleria Borghese), and formed 
a pair with no. 59 B. The slight differences among 
them do not argue against their belonging to- 
gether. Candelabra served as lamp stands or as 
thymiaterions (incense burners). If they were not 
used for religious purposes (and the decoration 
in no way suggests that they were), they must 
have been part of the luxurious furnishings of 
Roman palaces. This type of candelabrum has 
persisted into the modem era in the form of a 
candlestick, or Easter light. 


Roman, 1st century a. d. 

Total height, 71 'A " (181 cm); height of base, 
27 Vs " (69.5 cm); height of upper part, 44 Vie " 
(112.5 cm) 

Galleria dei Candelabri, II 44, Inv. no. 2487 

This candelabrum is the mate to cat. no. 59 A. 
They share the same type of three-sided base, 
baluster-like shaft, fluted bowl (the upper por- 
tion of the shaft of this example was reworked 
in modern times; the bowl is entirely modern), 
decoration (including Erotes among vines), and 
style of carving in the reliefs. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, 2, Berlin, 1956, pp. 188-89, no. 44, 
pis. 88-89 (cat. no. 59 B), p. 191, no. 51, pis. 90-91 (cat. 
no. 59 A); J. Bean, Les dessins italiens de la collection Bonnat, 
Paris, 1960, no. 252; W Helbig, Fiihrer durch die offentlichen 
Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, no. 526; Antiquity in the Renaissance (exhib. cat.), 
ed. W Stedman Sheard, Smith College Museum of Art, 
Northampton, Mass., 1978, no. 117. 



Roman, 1st century a.d., after a Hellenistic original 

of the 3rd-2nd century b. c. 
Pentelic marble 
Height, 33 'A " (85 cm) 
Galleria dei Candelabri, IV 66, Inv. no. 2655 

In 1789, Ferdinando Lisandroni restored this 
sculpture — following a similar copy in the Stan- 
za dell'Ercole (today known as the Stanza del 
Fauno) of the Museo Capitolino — mainly re- 
placing the heads of the boy and the goose. The 
statue had been discovered on July 1 1 of that 

year — during excavations carried out by the 
pontifical museums in "Roma Vecchia" — in the 
Villa "Sette Bassi" in the Via Latina. 

A small boy tests his strength on a goose, 
around whose neck he wraps his arms in a vise- 
like grip, as though he were going to throttle 
the bird. The boy stands like a little Hercules, 
wrestling with a powerful opponent almost big- 
ger than he is. The seemingly serious effort ex- 
pended on child's play imparts to the work a 
lighthearted quality. 

Pliny (Nat. Hist. , 34, 84) mentions an "infans 
amplexando . . . anseremstrangulat," a famous 
bronze by the artist Boethos; the present exam- 
ple is among the numerous extant copies of the 
work. The group is masterfully composed, in 
the form of a pyramid. The two bodies are pit- 

ted against each other, their weight thrust up- 
ward by the parted legs that brace and bear the 
conflict. The struggle culminates in the heads, 
the look of the tortured animal in sharp contrast 
to the mischievous pride on the face of the boy. 

The original work typifies the genre and pathos 
of Hellenistic art at the turn of the third century 
b.c. Although the Roman copyist of the first 
century a.d. turned the work into a fountain — 
the water was piped through the support at the 
back — such a sculpture most probably was made 
for the sanctuary of a god of healing, as thanks 
for a young boy's recovery. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, 2, Berlin, 1956, pp. 325-27, 550, no. 
66, pi. 145. 



h* 'f.h *A8 


Antique fragment, incorporated into a classicistic 

Dark-veined marble 

Height, 31 Vs " (79 cm); width, 28 % " (72 cm); 

depth, 14 Vie " (36 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala degli Animali, 

Inv. no. 441 

The body of the stag, the head of the dog — who 
has bitten deeply into the animal's back — and 
the dog's legs are original. About 1780, this frag- 
ment provided Francesco Antonio Franzoni 
(1734-1818) with a welcome incentive to cre- 
ate the present animal group. The antique parts 
were restored then, their surfaces brought to a 
high polish. 

The powerful representations of fighting ani- 
mals that, in archaic Greek times, embellished 
temple pediments as images of mortality in later 
antiquity served merely as decoration. Animal 
sculptures then became occasions for the intense 
observation of nature, an academic exercise for 
artists. The value of these works lies in their 
specific content, rather than in their overall effect. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vati- 
canischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, pp. 328-29, no. 107, 
pi. 39; W. Helbig, Fiihrer durch die bffentlichen Samm- 
lungen klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, no. 103; on the subject of animals in antiquity: O. 
Keller, Die antike Tierwelt, I, II, Leipzig, 1909, 1913; J. M. C. 
Toynbee, Animals in Roman Life and Art, London, 1973. 


61, 62 


Rome, c. 1780 
Carrara marble 

Height, 3 7 >Vi 6 " (96 cm); width, 30 ' Vie " 

(78. 5 cm); depth, 19 »/i 6 " (50 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala degli Animali, 

Inv. no. 441a 

This marble base belongs to the furnishings of 
the Sala degli Animali, for which it was made 
about 1780. It is probably by Franzoni, who re- 
stored the animal groups displayed in that gallery. 

The square base has a cyma, or molding, of 
acanthus leaves below, and an egg-and-dart 
molding and Lesbian cyma above. On each of 
the four sides of the block a square field is framed 
by a border ornamented with rosettes. Only the 
front is decorated with a relief. Inside a bound 
laurel wreath is a simplified rendering of the 
coat of arms of Pius VI (Braschi; 1775-99): a 
lily bends under a gust from Boreas, the north 
wind, represented as a head, above which, sepa- 
rated by a molding, are three stars. 

The coat of arms no longer has its initial form 
of a triangular shield with convex sides; also, 
the signs of the original heraldic images have 
been omitted to allow the narrative quality of 
the picture to dominate. Boreas may refer to the 
Swedish origin of the Braschi family. The sym- 
bols and emblems remain somewhat puzzling, 
even to the most knowledgeable scholars. 


At the beginning of the pontificate of Pius VI, 
his coat of arms was more richly ornamented: 
besides the wind, the lily, and the three stars, 
there was an imperial double eagle and a styl- 
ized lily. A verse affixed to the "Pasquino" group 
(which stands in front of the Palazzo Braschi in 
Rome) contained a mockery of it: 

Give back the eagles to the empire, the lilies to 
the king of the French/Give back the stars to 
the sky, Braschi, and keep the rest for yourself. 

The response to which was: 

The lilies mean the Bourbons are friendly, the 
queen of the birds shows the Austrians are 
well disposed, the stars tell that God is on his 
side. But what about the snow-white flowers 
that endure while Zephyr blows? They stand 
for the character of an innocent prince. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Massi, Indicazione antiquaria del Ponti- 
ficioMuseo Pio-Clementino in Vaticano, Rome, 1792, p. 105, 
no. 35 (cf. also p. 36, no. 3); G. Ceccarelli, I Braschi, Rome, 
1949, pp. 2, 11-12. 



Antique fragment, incorporated into a classicistic 


Height, 13 Vs " (34 cm); width, 16 >/ s " (41 cm); 

depth, 7 "/, 6 " (19.5 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sola degli Animali, Inv. 

no. 439 

Only the body and neck of the bull and the fore- 
part of the bear are original. Franzoni created a 
new sculpture from these antique fragments 
about 1780. 

The bear lunges head on at its prey, while the 
bull tries to gore the flanks of its opponent, from 
below. G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vati- 
canischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, p. 329, no. 108, 
pi. 39. 



Antique fragments, combined in a classicistic 


Height, 15 " (38 cm); width, 17 Vie " (44 cm); 

depth, 8 Vie" (20.5cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala degli Animali, Inv. 

no. 440 

The original sections appear to be the bodies of 
the panther and goat, and bits of one of the 
panther's paws. Franzoni combined and re- 
worked the two parts so skillfully that it is no 
longer certain what is antique and what is 
modern. Judging from the type of the paw, it is 
also possible that the animal attacking the goat 
might have been a lion. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vati- 
canischen Museums, II, Berlin, 1903, p. 366, no. 174, 
pi. 39. 



PIERINO DA VINCI (Vinci 1531 -Pisa 1554) 

After 1549 
Carrara marble 

Height, 29 Vs " (74 cm); width, 39 % " (108 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Galleria delle Statue, Inv. 
no. 742 

Until 1981, this relief was set into the south wall 
of the Galleria delle Statue of the Museo Pio- 
Clementino, which once had served as the prin- 
cipal wing of the Palazzetto del Belvedere of In- 
nocent VIII, on the site of the chapel decorated 
by Mantegna. The original has been replaced 
permanently with a plaster cast. The relief de- 
picts Cosimo I de' Medici, of Tuscany, amidst 
personifications of his own virtues, expelling 
from Pisa "the many vices and natural defects 
of the place that, like enemies, were besieging 
and afflicting it everywhere" (G. Vasari, Le Vite, 
1568, Milanesi ed., VI, 1878, pp. 128-29). 

The grand duke, holding a scepter, is at the 
center, in the act of raising to her feet (again in 
Vasari's words) "a Minerva representing Wis- 
dom and the Arts, which were revived by him 
in the city of Pisa." According to E. Steinmann 
(1908, pp. 40-42), the scene records Cosimo's 
founding of the new University of Pisa in 1542, 
its opening in 1543, and the creation, in 1547, 
of the Ufficio de'Fossi (Office of Canals), a sort 
of ministry of water control that improved liv- 
ing conditions in the city. It is not known for 
what purpose or for what monument this panel 
was sculpted. Curiously, Vasari called the work 
unfinished, "imperfetto" — perhaps, however, 
referring to the project for which it was made. In 
any case, it is one of the most beautiful and most 
significant works of the very young Pierino that 
is believed to have been executed upon his re- 
turn from a stay in Rome during 1548 and 1549. 
As Venturi (1936, X, 2, p. 332) noted, the tech- 
nique resembles that of "a goldsmith who has 
cast his figures in metal and then has subtly 
incised their outlines on the background, while 
softening their flesh in the manner of Bandinelli." 
There are many references to the work of 
Michelangelo, which Pierino certainly studied 
very carefully during his Roman visit. Accord- 
ing to R A. Massi (1846, p. 76, no. 249), one of 
the Virtues has Michelangelo's facial features — 
perhaps the bearded figure in the second row, 
on the left, framed by the two vessels carried by 
a man and a woman. The Michelangelesque 
quality of the relief suggested an attribution to 
the master, himself, to Winckelmann's friend B. 
Cavaceppi, who owned the work and published 
it thus, in 1772 (cf. B. Cavaceppi, pi. 60). The 
relief was purchased from Cavaceppi by G. B. 
Visconti, who paid five hundred scudi, on be- 
half of the Museo Clementino Vaticano — as re- 
vealed by an autograph memorandum discov- 
ered by Carlo Pietrangeli (which he kindly shared 
with me). The document is important, for it in- 
forms us that, prior to entering Cavaceppi's 
collection, the relief was owned by the Salviati 
family, and it provides a valuable indication of 
the tastes that informed Visconti's choices. The 

relief, then attributed to Michelangelo, was of having acquired, in the space of a century, 

considered — with much exaggeration — "of its the bas-relief from the Ottoboni tomb (the fu- 

type the most elegant and famous work of the nerary monument of Alexander VIII by A. de 

sixteenth century, the restorer of the fine arts. Rossi in Saint Peter's); the Attila (of Algardi in 

Indeed, how much prestige and esteem will come the chapel of Saint Leo I in Saint Peter's); and 

to the Vatican, which, until then, had owned a the present work, the most beautiful specimen 

plaster cast of it, if it [the Vatican] could boast of the sixteenth century — that is to say, the 


flowers of three centuries" (cf. "Giustificazioni 
del Museo Clementino," in the Archivio di Stato 
Roma, Camerale II, no. 308). Perhaps because 
of its "exemplary" character, Pierino's relief was 
the only Renaissance art exhibited in the Museo 
Clementino, providing a comparison with the 
sculpture of antiquity. F. M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Cavaceppi, Raccolta d'antiche statue, 
Rome, 1772, pi. 60; E A. Massi, Museo Pio-Clementino al 
Vaticano, Rome, 1846, p. 76, no. 249; G. Vasari, Le Vitede' 
piu eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori, 1568, Milanesi 
ed., Florence, VI, 1878, pp. 128-29; E. Steinmann, "Zur 
Ikonographie Michelangelos," in Monatshefte fur Kunst- 
wissenschaft, 1, 1908, pp. 40-52; idem, Die Portrdtdarstellung 
des Michelangelo, Leipzig, 1913, p. 49; W. Gramberg, 

"Beitrage zum Werk und Leben Pierino da Vincis," in 
Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, II, 1931, pp. 
225-26; A. Venturi, Storia dell' Arte Italiana, Milan, X, 2, 
1936, p. 332; C. Pietrangeli, "II Museo Clementino 
Vaticano," in Rendiconti della Pontifitia Accademia Romana 
diArcheologia, XXVII, 1951-52, p. 106; J. Pope-Hennessy, 
Italian High Renaissance and Baroque Sculpture, London- New 
York, 1970, p. 361. 





Paintings from the Vatican collections have been pub- 
licly exhibited for two centuries, but the present 
Pinacoteca, one of the newest buildings of the 
Vatican, opened to visitors just over fifty years 
ago, in 1932. The formation of the collection is 
associated with four popes: Pius VI (1775-99), 
Pius VII (1800-1823), Pius X (1903-14), and Pius XI (1922- 
39). About 1790, Pius VI created the first Pinacoteca in what 
is now the Galleria degli Arazzi. The space then consisted of 
three large rooms, and the pope ordered that a vaulted ceil- 
ing be constructed and decorated. The collection numbered 
118 paintings, of varying provenance. Three of these — 
Poussin's Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus, The Mass of Saint Grego- 
ry by Sacchi, and Valentin's Martyrdom of Saints Processus and 
Martinian — had been removed from Saint Peter's for reasons 
of conservation and replaced by mosaics. Paintings by Reni 
and Guercino, Barocci's Rest on the Flight into Egypt, and a 
group of flower pieces by Seghers were also exhibited. Only 
works of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and early eighteenth cen- 
turies were displayed in the Gallery of Pius VI. As was typical 
of the taste of that time, paintings of earlier date — the so- 
called primitives, and Byzantine icons — were excluded, al- 
though such works had already entered the collections of 
the Museo Sacro of the library. The gallery was short-lived. 
Following the Treaty of Tolentino (1797), a number of the 
most important works were taken to Paris (fig. 34); as a result, 
and to give more space to the sculpture collection, the gallery 
was closed in 1802, and the remaining pictures were dispersed. 

After the fall of Napoleon, Antonio Canova and Gaetano 
Marini secured the restitution of a number of works from the 
papal states that had been taken to France. In accordance 
with the allies' wishes, the most important of these were not 
returned to their places of origin, but were exhibited to the 
public as a group, as they had been in Paris. Thus, the new 
Pinacoteca, which opened in 1817 in the six rooms of the 
Borgia Apartment (fig. 35), included twenty-six works re- 
turned from Paris. Among these were Raphael's Transfiguration; 
paintings by Perugino, Reni, and Guercino; two predella panels 
by Fra Angelico; Barocci's Blessed Michelina and The Annuncia- 
tion; and the Pietd by Giovanni Bellini. To this nucleus were 
added paintings from the Palazzo del Quirinale, Capitoline 
collections, and pontifical apartments — for example, Titian's 
Madonna in Glory, from San Nicolo dei Frari in Venice; and 
two Veroneses, Saint Helen and the small octagonal Allegory. 
The Pinacoteca of Pius VII included only forty- four pictures, 
but all were of the highest quality, a collection of master- 
pieces from the Renaissance and after. Salviucci's catalogue 
of 1821 describes the arrangement of the galleries. In the first 
room, the Sala dei Pontefici, three works of the sixteenth 
century and two of the seventeenth, very different in style 
and date, were exhibited: Raphael's Transfiguration, Giulio 
Romano's cartoon for The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen, and 
the paintings by Titian, Poussin, and Valentin mentioned 
above. The second room, the Sala dei Misteri, was even more 
heterogeneous. In it were exhibited the predella panels by 
Fra Angelico, Caravaggio's Deposition, Sacchi's Saint Romuald, 
The Aldobrandini Wedding (a Roman wall painting acquired 
by Pius VII in 1818), and five other fragments of ancient 



Roman painting that had been discovered in recent excava- 
tions in Rome and its environs. 

A number of early Italian paintings were acquired with 
the Mariotti Collection in 1820. These, however, were not 
shown in the Pinacoteca but in the library gallery that was 
set aside for the purpose. This group of early paintings in 
time was expanded, particularly under Gregory XVI (1831-46) 
and through the initiative of Monsignor Gabriele Laureani, 
prefect of the library, who sent an open letter to religious 
organizations in the papal states asking that paintings at their 
disposal be donated to the pope. 

Although the Pinacoteca was moved several times, it 
should be emphasized that the collection created by Pius VII 
remained essentially unchanged throughout the nineteenth 
century. In 1846, under Gregory XVI, thirty- five pictures were 
exhibited, and, in 1870, during the pontificate of Pius IX 
(1846-78), forty- two works were on view. Throughout this 
period the Picture Gallery maintained its character as a col- 
lection of masterpieces exhibited for the pleasure of the pope. 

By 1822, the Pinacoteca had been transferred from the 
Borgia Apartment — which was not well illuminated — to 
rooms on the third floor of the Logge of Gregory XIII. Having 
been exhibited briefly in the rooms used for the first Pina- 
coteca (fig. 36), and in the Apartments of Pius V the paintings 
were returned to the Logge of Gregory XIII in 1857, at the re- 
quest of Pius IX. Under Gregory XVI, Guercino's Saint John the 
Baptist and Carlo Crivelli's Dead Christ were added to the 
collection. Leonardo da Vinci's Saint Jerome, which was in 
the 1845 sale of the collection of Cardinal Fesch, entered the 
Pinacoteca rather later, in 1857. Under Pius IX, paintings by 
Guercino, Sassoferrato, Moretto, and Ribera also were 
acquired, and two by Murillo, The Adoration of the Shepherds 
and San Pedro Arbues, were presented by members of the 

Spanish royal family. Melozzo da Forli's fresco Sixtus IV Nomi- 
nates Platina Prefect of the Vatican Library, which, originally, 
had decorated the Latin Room in the Library of Sixtus IV, 
was transferred to canvas and moved to the Pinacoteca dur- 
ing the pontificate of Leo XIII (1878-1903). 

The rooms described above were difficult of access, due 
to their proximity to the papal apartments; they came to seem 
small, disorganized, and poorly lit, and were subject to radi- 
cal changes of temperature according to the season. Thus, 
with the advent of Pius X, the Pinacoteca was moved once 
again. The display was radically transformed: didactic crite- 
ria were adopted, the size of the collection increased 
substantially, and 277 works were exhibited. For the first time 
modern concerns, such as the need for conservation and for 
more logical organization, came into play. The site chosen 
for the new Pinacoteca was a series of rooms under the library, 
on the ground floor of the building to the west of the Cortile 
del Belvedere. The space was adapted to provide for an en- 
trance area, seven galleries, and a storeroom. The rooms were 
vaulted, with stuccoed ceilings, and the walls were covered 
with fabric; the windows were curtained; a modern heating 
system was installed; and many works were restored to 
exhibitable state. The installation of the Pinacoteca was en- 
trusted to the painter Ludovico Seitz and, after his death, to 
Professor Pietro D'Achiardi, who published the first scholar- 
ly catalogue of the collection. Again for the first time, each 
work was identified by a label with a suggested attribution, 
and all of the paintings were grouped by period and school. 

To the existing collections had been added, in 1909, the 
Byzantine icons from the Museo Sacro, and the primitives 
from the Vatican Library (Margaritone's Saint Francis, Ma- 
donnas by Vitale da Bologna and Daddi, Pietro Lorenzetti's 
Christ Before Pilate, and the predella panels from Gentile da 


Fabriano's Quaratesi Altarpiece, among others). A number 
of important works, many of the Quattrocento, were trans- 
ferred from the Lateran museum — paintings by Carlo Crivelli, 
Benozzo Gozzoli, and Fra Bartolomeo, for example — as well 
as a Giulio Romano cartoon. 

In fact, the Pinacoteca of Pius X assumed definitively 
the character of a public museum. The collection, which 
throughout the nineteenth century remained semiprivate — 
located near the papal apartments, infrequently open to 
visitors, and including only a small number of paintings, of 
excellent quality — was more systematically arranged and 
made available to a broader public. 

The Pinacoteca was transferred during the pontificate of 
Pius XI to the building that houses it today. In 1922 and 
1927, respectively, departments for the restoration of paint- 
ings and tapestries had been set up. Later, in accordance with 
the Lateran Treaty of February 1929, which established the 
borders of the new Vatican state, the Holy See pledged to 
make the artistic and scientific treasures of the Vatican avail- 
able to scholars and visitors, while reserving the right to regu- 
late public access. The present entrance was opened in the 
Vatican walls. The design and construction of a new build- 
ing were entrusted to Luca Beltrami, but Pius XI personally 
selected the site and oversaw the planning of the new structure, 
which included galleries on the second floor and ancillary 
services below. The building is freestanding, ensuring ideal 
lighting conditions for the restoration studios on the ground 
floor. The exhibition galleries above, on the north side, re- 
ceive side light, while those on the south side, and the Raph- 
ael gallery at the east end, are lit from above. By 1932, no 
fewer than 463 works were on view. Newly exhibited paint- 
ings included Christ Blessing, a Roman panel of the twelfth 
century; the Stefaneschi Altarpiece, painted by Giotto and 
his school for the high altar of Saint Peter's; the fresco frag- 
ments of angels and apostles by Melozzo, which were recov- 
ered in 1711 from the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli in Rome; 
the Astronomical Observations by Creti, removed from Castel 
Gandolfo; and portraits of Alexander VI (1492-1503), Clem- 
ent IX (1667-69), and Benedict XIV (1740-58). 

Again, the increased space permitted a more logical 
display, in which the works could be presented in chronologi- 
cal sequence, by school, and, where appropriate, by genre. 
Individual rooms were named after the dominant artist in 
each. For the first time, eighteenth-century paintings were 
also on view. On the other hand, the paintings of the four- 
teenth century and earlier, even then deprecatingly referred 
to as primitives, were still shown with Byzantine icons that 
differed radically in style and were centuries later in date. 
The installation, which was in the hands of Biagio Biagetti, 
has remained essentially unchanged to this day. A small se- 
lection of contemporary works has been acquired more 
recently, but these were subsequently absorbed into the Col- 
lection of Modern Religious Art established by Paul VI 
(1963-78) in 1973. 

In 1972-73, the first three rooms of the Pinacoteca were 
reinstalled. A separate gallery is being prepared for the Byz- 
antine icons. The panel paintings have been freed of later 
additions — nineteenth-century frames, for the most part — and 

returned to their original dimensions. The modern retouch- 
ing is integrated, but, at the same time, easily discernible 
with careful observation. The most important of the restora- 
tions completed recently is that of Raphael's Transfiguration, 
and, in 1980, the cleaning of Michelangelo's lunettes in the 
Sistine Chapel was begun. The year 1979 saw the publica- 
tion of the first of a series of new catalogues, Volbach's study 
of all of the paintings in the papal collections dating from the 
tenth century to the time of Giotto. Further volumes are 
intended to be equally comprehensive, and a program of 
inventory and cataloguing has been undertaken in all of the 

properties of the Holy See. _ , . . w . „. 

Fabrizio Mancinelli 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. A. Guattani, I piii celebri quadri delle diverse scuole italiane riuniti 
nell'Appartamento Borgia del Vaticano disegnati ed incisi a contorno da Giuseppe Craffonara 
pittore tirolese e brevemente descritti da G. A. G., Rome, 1820; G. and A. D'Este, Elenco 
degli oggetti esistenti nel Museo Vaticano, Rome, 1821, pp. 2-61; Galleria di quadri al 
Vaticano, Rome, 1846; G.Moroni, Dizionariodieducazionestorico-ecclesiastica.XD/II.Venice, 
1847, pp. 91-97, LXXXVIII, Venice, 1858, pp. 243-44; Galleria dei quadri al terzo piano 
delle Logge Vaticane, Rome, 1857; X. Barbier de Montault, Les Musies et Galeries de Rome, 
Rome, 1870, pp. 167-72; A. Venturi, La Galleria Vaticana (Collezione Edelweiss, II), 
Rome, 1890; P. D'Achiardi, La Nuova Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome, 1909; idem, Guida della 
Pinacoteca Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913; A. Munoz, I quadri bizantini della Pinacoteca Vaticana 
provenienti dalla Biblioteca Vaticana, Rome, 1928; E D'Achiardi, I quadri primitivi della 
Pinacoteca Vaticana e del Museo Cristiano descritti e illustrati, Rome, 1929; B. Biagetti, La 
Nuova Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1932; A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933; E. Francia, La Pinacoteca Vaticana, 
Milan, 1961; D. Redig de Campos, Itinerario pittorico dei Musei Vaticani, Rome, 1964; 
C. Pietrangeli, "I Musei Vaticani al tempo di Pio VI," in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e 
Gallerie Pontificie, I, 2, 1978, pp. 7-45; Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie. Catalogo 
della Pinacoteca Vaticana, I, W. F. Volbach, / dipinti dalXsecolo fino a Giotto, Vatican City, 
1979; F. Mancinelli, Pinacoteca (Musei Vaticani), Vatican City, 1981. 





ANTONIO CANOVA (Possagno 1757- 
Venice 1822) 


c. 1820-22 


Height, 24 W (62 cm); with base, 34 Vs" (88 cm) 
Braccio Nuovo, Inv. no. 2301 

The bust represents Gregorio Luigi Bamaba Chi- 
aramonti (1742-1823), a Benedictine monk, 
who successively became bishop of Imola and 
Tivoli, cardinal in 1783, and Pope Pius VII in 
1800. It was Pius VII who was responsible for 
the creation of the Museo Chiaramonti, the Brac- 
cio Nuovo, and the reorganization of the Vati- 
can Pinacoteca. This is the third portrait of the 
pope executed by Canova. The first, sculpted in 
1803-4, is today in the Musee National du Cha- 
teau de Versailles. The second, executed about 
1806-7, was given by Canova to Pius VII in 
1807; from him, it passed to the Protomoteca 
Capitolina upon its inauguration in 1820. Cano- 
va executed a replica of the latter portrait for 

the Braccio Nuovo, which was opened in the 
same year. 

The present work is that replica, signed on 
the base at the right a. canova fece. Its rather 
academic execution suggests the participation 
of an assistant, perhaps Adamo Tadolini, whose 
1816 copy of the original is now in the Universi- 
ty of Bologna. In the Capitolina portrait, as in 
the one at Versailles, Canova attempted to cap- 
ture Pius VII "at one of those moments, so 
difficult to record, of serenity and gentle sweet- 
ness that characterized his most clement heart," 
but, in the replica for the Braccio Nuovo, the 
psychological observation remains superficial, 
subordinated to the desire to render individual 
details with cold precision. The impeccable, al- 
most virtuosic execution of the face and hair 
contrasts with the generalized and uncertain 
rendering of the details of the mozzetta and the 
stole, in which, according to V Martinelli (1955), 
the hand of an assistant clearly can be seen. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. D'Este, Memorie di A. Canova, 
Florence, 1864, p. 253; V. Martinelli and C. Pietrangeli, 
La Protomoteca Capitolina, Rome, 1955, pp. 40-44; 
G. Pavanello, L'opera completa di Canova, Milan, 1976, 
p. 132, no. 337. 


These frescoes were formerly part of the deco- 
ration of the Roman basilica of San Nicola in 
Carcere, where they covered the walls and vault 
of what the sources call the "confessione" — 
perhaps the crypt, or the three-apsed cella lying 
beneath the nineteenth-century chapel of the 
Madonna of Guadalupe. On the occasion of the 
1855 restoration of the church (ordered by Pius 
IX) , the surviving frescoes of the confessione were 
detached, transferred to canvas, and exhibited — 
together with those from the church of Sant' 
Agnese — in the Museo Cristiano Lateranense, 
which had been established a few years before 
by Gregory XVI. They remained there until 1926, 
when they were moved to the Vatican, restored, 
and placed in the storeroom of the Pinacoteca. 
Two of the tondi with prophets were exhibited 
in the Pinacoteca in 1973. From A. Ciacconio, 
who saw the confessione in 1591, we know that 
in addition to the frescoes that have been pre- 
served (The Baptism of Christ; the tondi with the 
Prophets Amos, Haggai, Jeremiah, and Moses; 
and nineteen ornamental fragments), the deco- 
ration included a Crucifixion and a Flagellation 
(documented by Ciacconio 's sketches) and four 
roundels of Saints Abundius, Abundantius, 
Mark, and Marcellinus (of which no graphic 
record survives). The Baptism roundel was locat- 
ed at the center of the vault and was bordered 
by the four tondi of the prophets — whose icono- 
graphic relationship to the central subject was 
underscored by the scrolls that they hold, each 
alluding to Christ and his mission of redemption. 
The three fragments with partridges and a hare 
amidst flowering shrubs probably belonged to 
the ceiling decoration, as well, since part of the 
same swag of fruits and foliage that appears in 
these sections was also included in the tondi 
and the central roundel. However, it is difficult 
to determine the original location of the other 
fragments. One of the walls, perhaps on the socle, 
might have been decorated with intersecting cir- 
cles surrounding birds resting on, or holding 
onto, floral elements; these are not unlike the 
decoration below The Legend of Saint Alexis in 
the Roman basilica of San Clemente. All of the 
paintings are true frescoes, executed with rapid 
and impressionistic brushwork on a layer of plas- 
ter made of lime and sand and finished with a 
whitewash of lime and marble dust. 

Stylistically, the frescoes of the confessione are 
related to other Roman paintings of the first quar- 
ter of the twelfth century. As W. F. Volbach (1979, 
pp. 16-17) has revealed, the iconography of the 
Baptism is Roman in all its constituent elements; 
roundels analogous to those of the prophets are 
to be found in Rome at Santa Croce and a little 
to the north in the town of Tuscania, and 
typologically similar decorative elements appear 
in Rome both at San Clemente and at Santa 
Pudenziana, and in the environs of Rome at 
Castel Sant'Elia. All of these cycles date from 
between the end of the eleventh and the first 
half of the twelfth century. Such a dating in the 
early eleven hundreds is, for the most part, 
agreed upon in the literature, including the re- 


cent studies that have associated the frescoes with 
the restoration and reconsecration of San Nicola 
in 1128. 


Roman school, c. 1120-30 

Diameter, 23 Vie" (59.5 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 508 

The tondo, restored in 1972 using conservative 
techniques, is in relatively good condition. As 
the inscription indicates, the Prophet Moses is 
represented; he holds a scroll whose text, from 
Acts (7:37), alludes to the coming of Christ: . . . 
vobis svsci/ [tabit] . . . fratrib[vs] (This is that 
Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, 
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto 
you . . . him shall ye hear). The fresco was on 
the ceiling of the confessione and, with the other 
tondi representing prophets, formed the border 
of The Baptism of Christ. 


Roman school, c. 1120-30 

Diameter, 23 'A" (59 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 506 

The tondo is in fairly good condition; it was 
restored in 1977 using conservative techniques. 
As the inscription indicates, the Prophet Jeremiah 
is represented; he holds a scroll inscribed with a 
text taken from Jeremiah (11:19), alluding to 
Christ's sacrifice: . . . co qvasi agnvs man / [svet] 
vs qvi portatvr (But I was like a lamb or an ox 
that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not 
that they had devised devices against me . . . ) . 
The fresco decorated the ceiling of the confessione 
and, with the other tondi representing prophets, 
formed the border of The Baptism of Christ. 


Roman school, c. 1120-30 

Height, 17 W (45 cm); width, 14 Vu (36 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 489 

This fragment is in a good state and was re- 
stored in 1981 using conservative techniques. It 
represents a pheasant seen in profile, between 
two shrubs with leaves and flowers. At the lower 
right is part of a curved swag — containing leaves 
and fruit on a black background— the edge of 
which was drawn with the aid of a compass. The 
presence of this swag suggests that the fragment 
might have been part of the decoration between 
the tondi on the ceiling of the confessione. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Ciacconio, Descriptio coemeterii sive 
loci sacri subterranei antiquae Ecclesiae Sancti Nicolai in Carcere 
Tulliano a Fratre Alfonso Ciaccon ordinis praedicatorum 
elaborata anno Dom. 1591, Biblioteca Vaticana, Cod. Vat. lat. 
5409; 0. Marucchi, Guida del Museo Lateranense, Rome, 
1898, p. 178; L. Magnani, "Frammenti di affreschi 
medioevali di S. Nicola in Carcere nella Pinacoteca 
Vaticana," in Rendiconti della Pontiflcia Accademia Romana 
di Archeologia, VIII, 1932, p. 239; E. B. Garrison, Jr., Studies 
in the History of Medieval Italian Painting, III, Florence, 
1957-58, p. 187; Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie. 
Catalogo della Pinacoteca Vaticana, I, W. F. Volbach, / dipinti 
dal X secolo fino a Giotto, Vatican City, 1979, pp. 11-17, 
nos. 2 B, D, F. 

] 67 C 





1216-c. 1290 

c. 1270-80 

Tempera on panel (fir) 

Height, 50" (127cm); width, 21 V 4 " (53.9 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 2 

The panel, from the Vatican Library, was trans- 
ferred in 1909 to the Pinacoteca of Pius X, where 
it was the earliest work in the gallery. In 1965, it 
was restored using strictly conservative tech- 
niques. Saint Francis is standing in a directly 
frontal pose, dressed in his usual gray-brown 
habit, his wounded feet exposed. The saint holds 
the Gospel in his left hand and raises his right 
to show the stigmata. At the lower left is 
the fragmentary signature of Margaritone: 
m[a] r [g] a [ri] to d [e] [ariti] o me fe c [it] . During 
restoration it was found that the background 
and the dark- red band on which the saint stands 
(this band originally rose halfway up the panel) 
had been repainted; the additions were not re- 
moved but simply isolated after exposing the 
surviving original paint.The hood's once-pointed 
tip had long since abraded and become rounder, 
like that in the version in Siena (P Torriti, 1977, 
p. 47); the cleaning restored its original form, 
as intended by the artist. 

The painting is one of several versions of the 
subject by Margaritone. He, like Giunta Pisano, 
was very active in disseminating the image of 
Saint Francis, who was greatly venerated in the 
churches of Central Italy. Unlike Giunta, who 
added four scenes from the life of Francis to his 
representation, Margaritone created a prototype 
with the single, isolated figure of Saint Francis, 
which, to judge from the large number of sur- 
viving versions, enjoyed sufficient public favor 
to secure the posthumous fame of the Aretine 
artist. Of the variants, the most notable are those 
in Siena, Montepulciano, and Rome (the church 
of San Francesco a Ripa) and two in Arezzo 
(from Ganghereto, and from the monastery of 
Sargiano). The prototype may survive among 
the extant examples. A. M. Maetzke (1973, p. 
108; 1974, pp. 28-30) believes that the picture 
from Sargiano might well be primary, as X rays 
revealed an earlier version, evidently painted a 
few years before, beneath the visible composition; 
this first rendition depicts Francis with his head 
uncovered and his eyes raised to heaven. For 
the Vatican panel, E. B. Garrison, Jr. (1949, p. 
51, no. 57), and W F. Volbach (1979, pp. 23-24, 
no. 6) propose a date between 1270 and 1280 — 
about the time of the version in Siena and of 
most other known replicas. F. M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. D'Achiardi, Guida della Pinacoteca 
Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, p. 3, no. 1; E. B. Garrison, Jr., 
Italian Romanesque Panel Painting, Florence, 1949, p. 51, 
no. 57; A. M. Maetzke, "Nuove ricerche su Margarito 
d' Arezzo," in Bollettino d'Arte del Ministero della Pubblica 
Istruzione, VIII, 1973, p. 108; idem, "Margarito di Arezzo e 
Ignoto Toscano, S. Francesco," in Arte nell'Aretino (exhib. 
cat.), Florence, 1974, pp. 28-30; E Torriti, La Pinacoteca 
Nazionale di Siena, i dipinti dal XII al XV secolo, Genoa, 
1977, p. 47; Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie. Catalogo 
della Pinacoteca Vaticana, I, W F. Volbach, / dipinti dal X 
secolo fino a Giotto, Vatican City, 1979, pp. 23-24, no. 6. 


BERNARDO DADDI (Florence c. 1290-1355) 

c. 1335-40 
Tempera on panel 

Height, 31 W (96 cm); width, 24" (61 cm) 
Palazzi Vaticani, Appartamento Pontificio, Inv. no. 

This picture, restored in 1963, is in good con- 
dition. In 1909, it was transferred to the Pina- 
coteca of Pius X from the Vatican Library; in 
1964, Pope Paul VI had the work brought to the 
Sala dei Papi in the Pontifical Apartment, where 
it remains today. The Madonna is represented 
half length, holding the infant in her arms. He 
toys with the collar of her dress and raises his 
right hand to tenderly caress the face of his 
mother. The theme, typifying the emotional re- 
lationship between mother and child, is ex- 
pressed through gestures and the silent exchange 
of glances. The figures are monumentally con- 
ceived and rendered with a volumetric solidity 
that is underscored by a use of color highly dec- 
orative in effect but restricted in range. The panel 
is very close to several mature works by or at- 
tributed to Daddi: the Madonna in the Berenson 
Collection at Villa I Tatti; the triptych (or panels 
from a polyptych), dated 1334, in the John G. 
Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Muse- 
um of Art; the Madonna and Child with Saints 
Matthias and George, Four Angels, and a Donor, 
dated 1336, at Bagno a Ripoli; and, to a lesser 
extent, the Madonna in the Acton Collection in 
Florence. On the basis of these similarities, G. 
von Vitzthum and Bernard Berenson attributed 
the picture to Daddi, himself, while O. Siren, 
F. M. Perkins, and R. Offner considered it a work 
of his school — a hypothesis that is contradicted 
by the very high quality of the painting. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. von Vitzthum, Bernardo Daddi, 
Leipzig, 1903, pp. 21-22; F. Mason Perkins, "Note su 
alcuni quadri del Museo Cristiano nel Vaticano," in 
Rassegna d'Arte, VI, 1906, p. 123; O. Siren, "Notizie critiche 
sui quadri sconosciuti nel Museo Cristiano Vaticano," in 
I Arte, IX, 1906, p. 330; R D'Achiardi, Guida della Pinacoteca 
Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, p. 4, no. 5; R. Offner, Corpus of 
Florentine Painting, sec. Ill, vol. IV, New York, 1934, p. 36; 
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, London, 
1932, p. 167; idem, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. 
Florentine School, London, 1963, p. 57. 


PIETRO LORENZETTI (Siena c. 1280-1348) 

c. 1335 

Tempera on panel 

Height, 15" (38 cm); width, 10 %" (27.5 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 168 

This small panel, restored in 1 98 1 using conserv- 
ative techniques, comes from the Vatican Library 
and was first exhibited in the Pinacoteca during 
the pontificate of Pius X (1903-14). The con- 

dition of the work is relatively good, despite some 
scratches and losses and an old, too-radical 
cleaning. Both the figures and the architectural 
and ornamental elements were first drawn with 
a stylus on the gesso priming of the panel, which 
is painted on both sides. The episode of the con- 
frontation of Christ and Pontius Pilate, described 
in all the Synoptic Gospels, is represented on the 
obverse. The moment portrayed is that referred 
toby John (18:33-35), when Pilate asks Christ: 
'Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered 
him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did 
others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I 
a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests 
have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou 
done?" Pilate points to himself as he speaks. 

The scene is rigorously designed to emphasize 
the two protagonists; Christ and Pilate are iso- 
lated at the right, while at the left are the High 
Priest and a small group of soldiers. The archi- 
tectural elements, of great elegance and formal 
simplicity, determine the space in which the ac- 
tion takes place and, at the same time, divide 
the figures into two distinct, dramatically oppos- 
ing groups. Despite its small dimensions, the pic- 
ture possesses an extraordinary monumentality. 
On the reverse, the panel has not been left rough 
and untreated; rather, like the obverse, it has 
been smoothed and prepared with a gesso 
priming. A Active marble design with a silvered 
border has been applied, of which a few traces 
remain of a reddish bole preparation. This deco- 


ration indicates that the panel was intended to 
be seen on both sides and, originally, was part 
of a diptych or, more probably, a triptych paint- 
ed for private devotion. 

The painting is almost unanimously attributed 
to Pietro Lorenzetti, whose Sienese education, 
modified by Florentine influence, is evidenced 
by its chromatic, richly ornamental texture and 
by the placid solemnity and monumentality of 
the whole. Typical of the artist's more mature 
works is the particularly complex perspectival 
structure of the scene. Stylistically, the picture 
resembles the altarpiece from the chapel of Saint 
Sabinus in the cathedral of Siena, painted be- 
tween 1335 and 1342 and now divided between 
the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Siena and 


the National Gallery in London, and the predel- 
la of the 1328 altarpiece from the Chiesa del 
Carmine in Siena, now in the Pinacoteca of that 
city. Martin Davies (1961, p. 301) believes that 
the panel might have been part of the predella 
from the chapel of Saint Sabinus, but the pres- 
ence of the decoration on the reverse seems to 
exclude this hypothesis. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. D'Achiardi, Guida della Pinacoteca 
Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, p. 6, no. 9; M. Davies, The 
Earlier Italian Schools. National Gallery Catalogues, 2nd ed., 
London, 1961, p. 301; E. Carli, Pietro e Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 
Milan (Siena), 1970; idem, Pittori Senesi, Milan, 1971, p. 108. 



Siena c. 1400-1450 


Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 9 %" (25 cm); width, 11 'A" (28.5 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 234 

This work, which entered the Pinacoteca in 1909 
from the collection of the Vatican Library, is one 
of the predella panels from Sassetta's dismem- 
bered Arte della Lana triptych (P DAchiardi, 
III, 1913, pp. 78-79). A restoration employing 
modern conservation techniques was undertak- 
en in 1974; the painting is in fairly good condi- 
tion despite some losses, particularly in the 
background. The picture, which still maintains 
its original dimensions, represents a well-known 
event in the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Ac- 
cording to his biographers, in 1273 Thomas was 
praying before a crucifix at the monastery of 
San Domenico in Naples when he heard a voice 
asking him: "Thomas, you have written well of 
me; what reward do you wish to receive for 
your labors?" To which he replied, "Lord, noth- 
ing but you." In Sassetta's interpretation the 
image before which the saint kneels is not carved 
or painted but is, instead, a materialization of 
the crucified Christ, which is in turn draped with 
a veil. The book held by Thomas and the writ- 
ing desk in the cell beyond clearly allude to the 
saint's career as a writer. 

Sassetta does not place the scene in its actual 
locale, the chapel of the monastery of Saint 
Nicholas; rather, the event is set in a kind of 
loggia, before Thomas's cell, beside a courtyard 
with arches and pilasters viewed in perspective 
to give depth to the scene. The palette employed 
is at once extremely subdued and refined, in 
order to emphasize the spirituality of the moment 
represented. The triptych to which this predella 
panel belonged was painted by Sassetta between 
July 1423 and December 1426 as an altarpiece 
for the chapel of the Arte della Lana (the Wool 
Guild) in Siena. This chapel was attached to the 
former church of San Pellegrino and was used 
by the guild to celebrate its own festival: on the 
occasion of the Feast of Corpus Domini, a 
procession would leave the chapel and proceed 
to the nearby Chiesa del Carmine. In 1423, the 
altar of the chapel was still devoid of any 
altarpiece, and the members of the guild, dis- 
graced and ashamed, agreed to solicit funds for 
one; from this arose the commission granted 
Sassetta. With the transfer of the celebration of 
Corpus Domini to the cathedral, the chapel of 
the Arte della Lana lost its importance. In 1798, 
it was severely damaged by an earthquake, and 
in 1816 it was demolished, along with the church 
of San Pellegrino. At that time, the triptych was 
dismembered and dispersed, but its appearance 
is known from eighteenth-century descriptions 
by Girolamo Carli and also by Angiolo Maria 
Carapelli, who noted that the frame was Gothic, 
"ending in many very pointed pinnacles." The 
central panel represented a subject related to the 
guild's feast, The Exaltation of the Corpus Domini, 


and featured a monstrance held by angels flying 
between other music-making angels — all, above 
a landscape with two castles, towers, and domes. 
The main part of this panel is lost, but E. Borsook 
(1966, p. 37) and F. Zeri (1973, pp. 29-32) be- 
lieve that two fragments of the landscape sur- 
vive in A City on the Sea and A Castle on the 
Lakeshore (Inv. nos. 70, 71) in the Pinacoteca in 
Siena; this proposal, however, has been rejected 
by P. Torriti (1977, pp. 113-15). Above the cen- 
tral panel was a Coronation of the Virgin (since 
lost). On the left was a Saint Anthony Abbot, iden- 
tified by Zeri (1956, pp. 37-41) and, more re- 
cently, by lorriti (1977, p. 240) — in opposition to 
J. Pope-Hennessy (1956, pp. 364, 369) — with a 
work in the Costa Collection in Genoa; above 
this was an Annunciate Virgin (in the Yale Univer- 
sity Art Gallery) . lb the right stood a Saint Thomas 
Aquinas (also presumed lost) surmounted by an 
Angel Annunciate (in the Museo Civico in Massa 
Marittima) . On the pilasters were standing figures 
of Saints Jerome, Gregory, Ansanus, Victor, 
Ambrose, Augustine, Sabinus, and Crescentius 
(now in the Siena Pinacoteca). On the pinna- 

cles were busts of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha 
(in the Pinacoteca in Siena) , among others. The 
predella had as its central panel the Last Supper 
(also in Siena) . At the left were the Saint Thomas 
Aquinas in Prayer (in the Szepmuveszeti 
Muzeum in Budapest), The Vision of Saint Thomas 
(in the Vatican), and The Miracle of the Holy Sac- 
rament (in the Bowes Museum at Barnard 
Castle) . On the right were Saint Anthony Beaten 
by the Devils (in the Siena Pinacoteca), The Burn- 
ing of a Heretic with the Elevation of the Host (in 
the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne), 
and another panel (also lost). The triptych was 
one of the most beautiful and important Sienese 
works of the fifteenth century. Despite the Gothic 
frame, which was probably the wish of the pa- 
trons, certain aspects of the work are typical of 
a fully Renaissance conception: the naturalistic 
observation in the definition of the figures; the 
perspectival construction of architectural spaces, 
which are no longer Gothic; and the depth of 
the landscape backgrounds. Furthermore, the 
triptych is the first documented work by Sassetta, 
who signed it with self-conscious pride: hic 


(following Pope-Hennessy's reading [1939, p. 
39, n. 9], "Behold, Fathers [of the Guild], Stefano 
di Giovanni built this whole altarpiece for the 
altars of Siena without regard to the mistakes of 
the elders"). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. M. Carapelli, Notizie delle chiese e cose 
riguardevoli di Siena, 1718, Biblioteca Comunale di Siena, 
Ms. B VII 10, f. 30; G. Carlr, Notizie di Belle Arti, c. 1768, 
Biblioteca Comunale di Siena, Ms. C VII 20, ff. 81-82; P 
D'Achiardi,G«Wa della Pinacoteca Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, 
pp. 78-79, no. 176; J. Pope-Hennessy, Sassetta, London, 
1939, pp. 6-16, 39, n. 9; idem, "Rethinking Sassetta," in 
The Burlington Magazine, XCVIII, 1956, pp. 364-70; F.Zeri, 
"Towards a Reconstruction of Sassetta's Arte della Lana 
Triptych," in The Burlington Magazine, XCVIII, 1956, pp. 
36-41; E. Carli, Sassetta e il Maestro dell'Osservanza, Milan, 
1957, pp. 7-13; C. Volpe, "Sassetta e il Maestro dell'Osser- 
vanza," in Arte Antica e Modema, I, 1958, pp. 83-86; E. 
Borsook, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Florence, 1966, p. 37; F. Zeri, 
"Ricerche sul Sassetta: La Pala dell'Arte della Lana 
(1423-1426)," in Quademi di Emblema, II, 1973, pp. 22-34; 
P Torriti, La Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena, i dipinti dal XII 
alXVsecolo, Genoa, 1977, pp. 115, 240. 


72 A 



c. 1370-Rome 1427) 

The Quaratesi Altarpiece, which Vasari consid- 
ered Gentile da Fabriano's finest painting, is one 
of the latest works of the Marchigian master. It 
was, in fact, painted two years before the art- 
ist moved to Rome (1427), where he died be- 
tween August 2 and October 14 of 1427. The 
polyptych was commissioned from Gentile by 
the Quaratesi family for the principal altar of the 
church of San Nicolo sopr'Arno in Florence and 
was completed in May 1425 as the lost inscrip- 
tion indicated: opvs gentilis de fabriano 
mccccxxv mensis maii (cf. S. Roselli, Sepoltuario 
Fiorentino, 1657, 1, f. 193 r., Biblioteca Nazionale, 
Florence, Ms. II— IV, 534; and Richa, Notizie delle 

chiese fiorentine, Florence, 1762, X, p. 270). In 
1830, the polyptych was dismembered; the vari- 
ous panels are now divided among London; 
Florence; Washington, D.C.; and the Vatican (on 
the history of the altarpiece, see K. Christiansen, 
1982, pp. 43, 104-5). The central panel, the 
Madonna and Child with Angels, was in the col- 
lection of Warner Young Ottley in 1835, from 
which it passed into the British royal collection 
in 1846; it is now on loan to the National Gal- 
lery in London. The lateral panels — Saint Mary 
Magdalene, Saint Nicholas of Bari, Saint John the 
Baptist, and Saint George — were donated to the 
Ufrizi in 1879 by the Quaratesi family. One of 
the predella panels, representing Cripples and Pil- 
grims at the Tomb of Saint Nicholas, was acquired 
by Tommaso Puccini of Pistoia; it is now in The 
Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of 
Art, Washington, D.C. The picture was published 
independently by R. Longhi (p. 190) and W 
Suida (p. 351) in 1940. The four other predella 
panels entered the Vatican Library in the nine- 
teenth century, perhaps during Monsignor 
Gabriele Laureani's tenure as prefect (1838-49); 
they were transferred to the Pinacoteca in 1909. 

The subjects of these works are The Birth of Saint 
Nicholas, Saint Nicholas Gives Three Balls of Gold to 
Three Poor Maidens, Saint Nicholas Revives Three 
Youths, and Saint Nicholas Saves a Storm-Tossed 
Ship. Siren (1906, p. 334) associated these panels 
with the predella of the Quaratesi Altarpiece, but 
the attribution to Gentile at first was questioned. 
As Grassi (1953, p. 63) indicated, this doubt was 
due, in large part, to the condition of the panels. 
Until 1972, the four predella panels in the Vati- 
can remained heavily overpainted, with losses 
reconstructed in a rather arbitrary fashion. Con- 
servation treatment in 1973 brought to light dam- 
ages caused by the removal of the original frame 
and by an irresponsible cleaning, presumably 
with soda and abrasive compounds. However, 
the treatment also revealed the extraordinary 
quality of the predella, which had prompted 
Vasari (1568; Milanesi ed., 1878, III, p. 7) to 
say that "there can be nothing more beautiful." 
As has been widely noted, in this work Gentile's 
fundamentally Gothic taste was adapted to the 
style then current in Florence. A broader han- 
dling of the paint replaced the meticulous and 
precise technique — Lombard in origin — that is 


still perceptible, if only as a decorative element, 
in the dress of the poor maiden standing in the 
scene of the gift of the three gold balls. Further- 
more, the figures acquired greater solidity and a 
more monumental conception, as did the en- 
tire compositional structure of the scenes. What 
remained Gothic were Gentile' s extremely refined 
sense of color, the delicate play of shadows, and 
the imaginative and fanciful spirit with which 
he illustrates the story of the saint. 



Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 14 Vs" (36.5 cm); width, 14Vs" (36.5 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 248 

This work was restored in 1973 using strictly 
conservative techniques. The panel, whose orig- 
inal dimensions had been reduced, has several 
lacunae in the upper part that correspond with 
the contour of the original Gothic frame. It is 
presumed that the panel was originally on the 

left side of the predella (cf. L. Grassi, 1953, p. 62). 
Gentile records an episode from the youth of 
Saint Nicholas: he gave three gold balls that he 
made to three poor maidens so that their father 
would not be forced to sell them into prostitution. 
The story, one of the most famous in the life of 
the saint, is recorded in The Golden Legend of 
Jacobus de Voragine and is referred to by Dante 
in the Purgatorio (XX, 31-33) when Ugo Capeto 
speaks of "the bounty which Nicholas showed 
to the maidens to guide their youth to honor." 



Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 11 >Vi 6 " (30 cm); width, 24 7 /u" (62 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 249 

This panel was also restored in 1973 using strictly 
conservative techniques; it no longer retains its 
original dimensions, and the lacunae along the 
top of the panel follow the pattern of the mold- 
ing of the original Gothic frame. This work was 
the central panel of the predella and represents 

the saving of a ship in a tempest — one of the 
most celebrated posthumous miracles of Saint 
Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. The clean- 
ing of the picture brought to light the curvature 
of the horizon, which accentuates the fantastic 
character of the scene and accords well with the 
panel's central location. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, he Vite de' piu eccellenti pittori, 
scultori ed architettori, 1568, Milanesi ed., Florence, 1878, 
III, pp. 6-7; L. Cust, "The Quaratesi Altarpiece by Gen- 
tile da Fabriano," in The Burlington Magazine, VI, 1905, 
p. 470; O. Siren, "Notizie critiche sui quadri sconosciuti 
nel Museo Cristiano Vaticano," in L'Arte, IX, 1906, 
pp. 332-34; R. Longhi, "Fatti di Masolino e di 
Masaccio," in La Critica d'Arte, V, 1940, pp. 190-91; 
W. Suida, "Two Unpublished Paintings by Gentile da 
Fabriano," in The Art Quarterly, III, 1940, pp. 348-52; 
L Grassi, "Considerazioni intorno al Polittico Quaratesi," 
in Paragone, II, no. 15, 1951, pp. 23-29; idem, Tutta la 
pittura di Gentile da Fabriano, Milan, 1953, pp. 33-42, 
61 -64; E. Micheletti, L opera completa di Gentile da Fabriano, 
Milan, 1976, pp. 90-91, nos. 37, 38; K. Christiansen, Gentile 
da Fabriano, Ithaca, 1982, pp. 43-48, 102-5, no. XIV. 



DI CRISTOFORO FINI), Panicale c. 1383- 
? after 1435 



Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 7W (19.7 cm); width, 19 Vie" (48.4 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 245 

This panel was restored in 1982 using conserva- 
tive techniques. The figures are quite abraded 
due to an old overcleaning that exposed, at sev- 
eral points, the green underpainting of the faces 
and, in places, the preparatory design of the 
costumes — executed with the end of a paint- 
brush on the gesso priming. A sizable loss af- 
fects the chest of the apostle farthest to the left. 
The panel, which was part of the predella of an 
altarpiece, retains its original height, as can be 
seen by the gilded borders and the raised edges 
at top and bottom; it has been cut down (prob- 
ably only slightly) at the sides. Its thickness, 1.07 
centimeters, appears to be original. 

The Burial of the Virgin, a theme not treated in 
the Gospels, is infrequently represented. Usually 
the Madonna is shown being lowered into the 
tomb by angels, but here the apostles, grouped 
about the sarcophagus, perform the deed. At the 

sides, two pairs of angels, each holding a can- 
dle in a tall candlestick, frame the scene. At the 
center, Christ holds in his left arm the soul of 
the Virgin, represented as a baby in swaddling 
clothes, and extends his right hand — in which 
he holds a palm, symbolic of the promised 
paradise — toward the corpse of the Virgin. The 
figures of Christ holding the soul of Mary and 
Saint Peter reading a book are not usually found 
in representations of the Burial of the Virgin, 
but rather in scenes of her death. A. Schmarsow 
(1895, III, pp. 85 ff.) published the panel as a 
work by Masaccio, but Siren (1906, p. 332) sub- 
sequently proposed the name of Masolino, an 
attribution that has been maintained since. 
Schmarsow also suggested that this panel, to- 
gether with the small Crucifixion also in the Vati- 
can (Inv. no. 260), was part of an altarpiece 
described by Vasari as a work by Masaccio (1568; 
Milanesi ed., 1878, II, pp. 293-94) : "... in the 
church of Santa Maria Maggiore [in Rome], in 
a small chapel near the sacristy; in which there 
are four saints so well carried out that they ap- 
pear to be in relief; and the Virgin of the Snows 
in the middle; and the portrait from life of Pope 
Martin who with a spade marks the foundations 
of that church; and beside him is the Emperor 
Sigismund II. " U. Procacci (cf. M. Davies, 1961, 
p. 355) identified the chapel described by Vasari 
as the one at the extreme east end of the church, 
between the choir and the north aisle — the chap- 
el of the Colonna family dedicated to Saint John 
the Baptist. The altarpiece comprised The As- 



sumption and The Miracle of the Snow (in the 
Museo di Capodimonte in Naples), the two pan- 
els in the Johnson Collection in Philadelphia 
representing Saints Martin and John the Evan- 
gelist (?) and Saints Peter and Paul, and the two 
in the National Gallery in London of Saints 
Liberius(?) and Matthias and Saints Jerome and 
John the Baptist. These panels almost certainly 
formed a triptych, painted on both sides (M. 
Davies, 1961, pp. 353-54). Masaccio's partici- 
pation and the date of the work have been much 
discussed. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that 
the altarpiece was executed by Masolino in 1428 
(the other suggested dates are 1423 and 1425) 
and that Masaccio was responsible only for the 
Saints Jerome and John the Baptist in the Nation- 
al Gallery. It is not clear whether the Vatican 
panels representing The Burial of the Virgin and 
The Crucifixion belonged to the altarpiece. This 
hypothesis was maintained by Pope-Hennessy 
(1943, pp. 30-31), rejected by M. Salmi (1948, 
p. 222), and considered as possible by Davies 
(1961, p. 355). In any case, the provenance of 
the two Vatican panels is entirely different from 
that of the other pictures; in 1653, the works 
now in Naples, London, and Philadelphia were 
in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and all of them 
were marked with the Farnese seal, which does 
not appear on the paintings in the Vatican. Pope- 
Hennessy (1943, pp. 30-31) published a small 
panel of The Marriage of the Virgin that is particu- 
larly close to The Burial of the Virgin; this work, 
which was destroyed during World War II, was 

almost identical in size to the Burial and surely 
was part of the same altarpiece. The Masaccesque 
elements that characterize the figures in the Vati- 
can panel appear there: the monumentality of 
the figures, despite their small size, and the 
simplified rendering of the drapery. The prepara- 
tory drawing can be seen in the overcleaned 
areas, and there is an important pentimento in 
the arrangement of the hands of the apostle who 
holds the head of the Virgin — originally, they 
were joined. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, he Vite, 1568, Milanesi ed., 
Florence, 1878, II, pp. 293-94; A. Schmarsow, Masaccio- 
Studien, III, Kassel, 1895, pp. 85 ff.; O. Siren, "Notizie 
critiche sui quadri sconosciuti nel Museo Cristiano 
Vaticano," in L'Arte, IX, 1906, p. 332; E Toesca, Masolino 
da Panicale, Bergamo, 1908, pp. 69-70, n. 2; R. Longhi, 
"Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio," in La Critica d'Arte, V, 
1940, pp. 145-90; J. Pope-Hennessy, "A Predella Panel 
by Masolino," in The Burlington Magazine, LXXXII, 1943, 
pp. 30-31; M. Salmi, Masaccio, Milan, 1948, p. 222; K. 
Clark, "An Early Quattrocento Triptych from Santa Maria 
Maggiore, Rome," in The Burlington Magazine, XCIII, 1951, 
pp. 339-47; J. Pope-Hennessy, "The Santa Maria Mag- 
giore Altarpiece," in The Burlington Magazine, XCIV, 1952, 
pp. 31-32; M. Salmi, "Gli scomparti della pala di Santa 
Maria Maggiore acquistati dalla National Gallery," in 
Commentari, III, 1952, pp. 14-21; U. Procacci, "Sulla 
cronologia delle opere di Masaccio e di Masolino tra il 
1425 e il 1428," in Rivista d'Arte, XXVIII, 1953, pp. 3-55; 
M. Davies, The Earlier Italian Schools. National Gallery 
Catalogues, London, 2nd ed., 1961, pp. 352-61; L. Berti, 
L'opera completa di Masaccio, Milan, 1968, pp. 100-101. 



SANO DI PIETRO (Siena 1406-1481) 


These two works representing the Nativity and 
the Flight into Egypt came from the Vatican Li- 
brary and were first exhibited in the Pinacoteca 
in 1909. The provenance of the panels is un- 
known, but it has been suggested that, together 
with at least two others — The Adoration of the 

Magi and The Massacre of the Innocents (both in 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art) — they once 
formed the predella of a large lost altarpiece. 
The attribution to Sano di Pietro, proposed by 
D'Achiardi (HI, 1913, p. 83), is generally accept- 
ed, as is a dating between 1445 and 1450 — before 
the qualitative decline in the artist's work occa- 
sioned by the level of commercial activity in his 
shop. In favor of a dating toward 1445 are the 
refined execution of the figures, which have not 
yet become rigidly stylized; the dream-like lyri- 
cism of the landscape in The Flight into Egypt, a 
worthy example of the Gothic tradition; and the 
soft spraying of paint in the rendering of the 
cobbled paths, which, in later paintings, would 
be effected with short brushstrokes (cf. C. Brandi, 
Quattrocentisti Senesi, Milan, 1949, p. 80, no. 57). 
The trees are typologically derived from those 

in the predella of Sano's Osservanza Altarpiece 
of 1436 (Siena, Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 216) and 
particularly recall those in the Saint Jerome in 
the Desert (Siena, Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 265); the 
physiognomic types of Joseph and Jerome also 
may be compared. The group of shepherds in 
The Nativity anticipates the analogous render- 
ing in Sano's Annunciation to the Shepherds ( Siena, 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 262), which E. Sandberg 
Vavala (cf. Sienese Studies, Florence, 1953, p. 271) 
dates between 1445 and 1450, and P. Torriti (cf. 
La Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena, i dipinti dalXII 
alXVsecolo, Genoa, 1977, p. 276) places after 
1450. It should also be pointed out, however, 
that a later dating of the four panels divided 
between the Vatican Pinacoteca and the Metro- 
politan Museum has been proposed (F. Zeri and 
E. E. Gardner, 1980, p. 82). 


74 B 


c. 1445 

Tempera on panel 

Height, 12 W (31.5 cm); width, 17 3 A" (45 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 144 

The panel, which was restored in 1977, is in 
generally good condition, with a few small loss- 
es (near the bottom and in the background) 
inpainted with vertical hatching. The source is 
the Gospel of Saint Luke (2:6-14), which, with 
that of Matthew, records the Infancy of Christ. 
Joseph and Mary appear within a shed, kneel- 
ing in adoration before the Child, who is warmed 
by the breath of a pair of oxen; above is God 
the Father in glory, flanked by angels. The Vir- 
gin wears a white dress, symbolic of her purity, 

while the dove descends toward the Christ Child, 
thus aligning the Trinitarian group of Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit. In the background at the 
left is the Annunciation to the Shepherds. 


c. 1445 

Tempera on panel 

Height, 12 W (31.5 cm); width, 18 W* (47 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 145 

Despite a scratch and some small losses (in- 
painted with vertical hatching), this panel, 
which was cleaned and restored in 1976, is in 
good condition. The Flight into Egypt, described 
in the Gospel of Matthew (2:13-15), is set in a 

hilly countryside with the figures all proceeding 
to the right. Joseph is at the rear of the group 
and prods the donkey on which the Madonna 
and Child sit; an unusual addition is the figure 
of a servant, who pulls the animal along by the 
reins and looks back (as does the Virgin) to the 
road already traveled. A pentimento is visible in 
one of the donkey's hind legs. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. D'Achiardi, Guida della Pinacoteca 
Vaticana, HI, Rome, 1913, p. 83, nos. 183-184; B. Berenson, 
Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Central Italian and North 
Italian Schools, London, 1968, p. 378; F. Zeri and E.E. 
Gardner, Italian Paintings: Sienese and Central Italian Schools, 
New York, 1980, p. 82. 


75 A 



Florence c. 1400-Rome 1455 


The Perugia Triptych was painted by Fra An- 
gelico in 1437 for the chapel of Saint Nicholas 
in the church of San Domenico in Perugia; it 
was, perhaps, commissioned under the terms 
of the will of a former patron, the bishop, Bene- 
detto Guidalotti (died 1429). The date of the 
picture is known from Bottonio's Annali, which 
survives in manuscript in the Biblioteca Comu- 
nale in Perugia (Ms. ii, c. 72; published by 
W. Bombe, 1912, p. 77). At some time before 
1706, the triptych was transferred from the 
chapel to the Sacristy of the church, where it 
remained until 1797. In that year, following the 
terms of the Treaty of Tolentino, the entire altar- 
piece was sent to the Louvre in Paris; at the 
time of their restitution, in 1817, these two pan- 
els were placed on exhibit in the new Vatican 
Pinacoteca of Pius VII (cf. G. and A. D'Este, 1821, 
pp. 15-16, 33). After the predella was taken 
apart, the main panels of the triptych were 
moved to the chapel of Saint Ursula, also in 
San Domenico, while the remaining predella 
panel was hung above the door of the Sacristy. 
In 1863, all the parts left in Perugia were trans- 

ferred to the Galleria Nazionale deH'Umbria, 
where they are today. The triptych was tem- 
porarily reassembled in 1955, on the occasion 
of the large exhibition commemorating the five- 
hundredth anniversary of Fra Angelico's death. 
At the center was the Madonna and Child with 
Angels, flanked by two panels with two saints 
each; on the left were Saints Dominic and Nicho- 
las and on the right Saints John the Baptist and 
Catherine of Alexandria. On each of the adjacent 
pilasters were three pairs of saints in successive 
ranks. Two tondi representing The Annunciatory 
Angel and The Virgin Annunciate were above the 
lateral panels; below were the three predella pan- 
els recording scenes from the life of Saint 
Nicholas, the patron saint of the chapel. Most 
of the triptych is generally thought to be 
autograph; however, Pope- Hennessy (1974, pp. 
17, 199) has suggested that the panel at the right 
is by an assistant who worked from Angelico's 
cartoon and that the predella also may evidence 
some collaboration. W. Weisbach (1901, p. 38) 
and L. Collobi-Ragghianti (1955, p. 39), in par- 
ticular, have proposed that the two panels in 
the Vatican are by Pesellino — a suggestion refut- 
ed in more recent criticism. 

The Perugia Triptych is one of the most im- 
portant of Angelico's works and anticipates the 
full maturity of the San Marco Altarpiece. In 
their monumentality, the figures are totally Ren- 


aissance in conception, and the single light 
source from the left constitutes a rational ele- 
ment that serves to unify the whole. To these 
qualities is added a gem-like, crystalline color — 
in part taken up by Domenico Veneziano — that 
transfigures the scenes and imparts to them an 
unreal, otherworldly dimension. Some years after 
the execution of the Perugia Triptych, Angelico 
was called to Rome by either Eugene IV or 
Nicholas V; there, he worked in Saint Peter's and 
in the Vatican palaces and frescoed the chapel 
of Nicholas V (in the papal palace), one of the 
finest examples of his art. 



Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 13" (33 cm); width, 24 'Vie" (63 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 251 

This panel was restored in 1955 on the occa- 
sion of the exhibition commemorating the five- 
hundredth anniversary of Fra Angelico's death. 
There are some small paint losses, which have 
been integrated; the altered color, visible along 
the bottom and sides of the panel, is a product 
of the restoration. This work was at the left of the 
predella of the Perugia Triptych. The three epi- 
sodes from the youth of the saint are all set in a 
cityscape open at the center but flanked by two 

projecting structures that give depth to the 
composition. The first scene documents the ex- 
traordinary precociousness of the saint, who, 
just after his birth, stood by himself when he 
was bathed in a basin. In the center is the call- 
ing of the young Saint Nicholas, who is seen 
listening to the bishop. At the right is the most 
famous episode from the saint's life — a subject 
also painted by Gentile da Fabriano (see cat. 
no. 72 A) — Nicholas's surreptitious gift of a 
dowry to three impoverished maidens whose 
father, fallen into misery, would have been forced 
to sell them into prostitution. 




Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 13" (33 cm); width, 24 'Vie" (63 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 252 

This panel also was restored on the occasion 
of the Fra Angelico exhibition in 1955. There 
are a number of small losses, which have been 
integrated; the band of varying color along the 
bottom of the painting is a result of restoration, 
and the eyes of some of the figures, which were 
damaged by a vandal long ago, also have been 
restored. This panel was at the center of the 
predella. The scene is a seascape of great depth 

accentuated by the diagonal placement of the 
figures; a second diagonal is formed by the rocks 
that separate the two episodes and underscore, 
with their abstract forms, the fabulous charac- 
ter of the tale. The pebbles on the beach are not 
painted with the end of the brush but, rather, 
are rendered by sprinkling the paint — a tech- 
nique used by Gentile da Fabriano, which also 
reappears in Siena in the work of Sassetta, of 
the so-called Osservanza Master, and in that of 
the young Sano di Pietro. The two episodes por- 
trayed are posthumous miracles of Saint Nicho- 
las. At the left, Saint Nicholas appears to an im- 
perial messenger (recognizable by his pointed 
hat). Through the intervention of the saint, a 
shipment of grain was delivered to the city of 
Myra, saving the people from famine. At the 
right, Saint Nicholas, the protector of sailors, ma- 
terializes to rescue a ship from the stormy sea ( see 
cat. no. 72 B). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. and A. D'Este, Elenco degli oggetti 
esistenti net Museo Vaticano, Rome, 1821, pp. 15-16, 33; 
W Weisbach, Pesellino und die Romantik der Renaissance, 
Berlin, 1901, p. 38; W. Bombe, "Geschichte der Peruginer 
Malerei bis zu Perugino und Pinturicchio," in Italienische 
Forschungen, herausg. vom Kunsthistorischen Institut in Florenz, 
V, 1912, pp. 77-79; J. Pope-Hennessy, Fra Angelico, London, 
1952, pp. 9-10, 170-72; L. Collobi-Ragghianti, "Studi 
angelichiani," in Critica d'Arte, IX, 1955, p. 39; E. Francia, 
Tesoridella Pinacoteca Vaticana, Milan, 1964, p. 43; U. Baldini, 
L'opera completa dell Angelico, Milan, 1970, p. 99, nos. 57 F, 
G; J. Pope-Hennessy, Fra Angelico, 2nd ed., Ithaca, 1974, 
pp. 17-18, 198-99. 


76 B 




AMBROGI), Forli 1438-1494 

These two fresco fragments of music-making 
angels were part of The Ascension of Christ, the 
apse decoration of the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli 
painted by Melozzo shortly after the renovation 
of the church ordered about 1475 by Cardinal 
Giuliano della Rovere (nephew of Sixtus IV), 
the future Julius II (cf. E. Muntz, Les Arts a la 
courdes popes, Paris, 1882, HI, p. 154). According 
to Vasari (1568; Milanesi ed., 1878, III, p. 52), 
the patron "by whom he [Melozzo] was richly 
rewarded" was Cardinal Riario, another nephew 
of Sixtus IV. Scholars generally date this work 
about 1480, soon after the fresco Sixtus IV Nomi- 
nates Platina Prefect of the Vatican Library (now in 
the Pinacoteca) and the other documented works 
(since lost) for the Library of Sixtus IV. Vasari 
speaks with much admiration of the 'Ascension 
of Jesus Christ, in the midst of a choir of angels 
who are leading him up to Heaven, wherein the 
figure of Christ is so well foreshortened that it 
seems to be piercing the ceiling, and the same is 
true of the angels, who are circling with various 
movements through the spacious sky. The Apos- 
des, likewise, who are on the earth below, are so 
well foreshortened in their various attitudes that 
the work brought him much praise, as it still 
does, from the craftsmen, who have leamt much 
from his labours. " This is the only document of 
the appearance of the work before it was de- 
tached from the wall. C. Ricci (1911, p. 8) be- 
lieved that the entire fresco was reproduced in 
the background of another fresco representing 
Sixtus V Proclaiming Saint Bonaventure a Doctor of 
the Church in the Basilica of the Santi Apostoli (now 
in the Vatican Library), but this hypothesis was 
rightiy rejected by A. Venturi (1913, VII, 2, p. 24, 
n. 1) and M. Salmi (1938, p. 236, n. 7). A re- 
construction proposed by B. Biagetti, which is 
exhibited with the surviving fragments in the 
Pinacoteca, also appears hypothetical in some 
details. The Ascension remained in situ until 171 1, 
when, under Clement XI, the apse was destroyed 
in order to enlarge the tribune. The surviving 
fragments were detached and restored by Giu- 
seppe Chiari. The largest part, Christ Ascending 
to Heaven Surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim, 
was sent to the Palazzo del Quirinale, while the 
heads of apostles and angels were given to the 
Vatican, through the intervention of the Ora- 
torian Father Sebastiano Resta and Agostino Taja; 
these fragments were installed in the hemicycle 
of the Belvedere apartment, in the area current- 
ly occupied by the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco 
(A. Taja, 1750, pp. 360-61). Later in the 
eighteenth century, the Vatican fragments were 
moved to one of the octagonal rooms in the 
dome of Saint Peter's (E. Pistolesi, 1829, II, p. 
177) ; after a restoration by Camuccini, they were 
transferred to the Sala Capitolare, or Chapter 
room, of the Sacristy. In 1932, Pius XI had them 
placed in the renovated Pinacoteca, thus unit- 
ingthemwhhMelozzo's Sixtus IV Nominates Plati- 
na Prefect of the Vatican Library, which had been 
moved to the Pinacoteca during the reign of Leo 

76 A 

XII (1823-29). The Santi Apostoli fresco is a 
major work by Melozzo, a founder of the 
Accademia di San Luca who signed its char- 
ter in 1478 "Melotius Pi[ctor] pa[palis]" or 
"pa[latii]." It testifies to his full maturity and 
absolute mastery of perspective. The solemn, 
monumental figures are akin to the warriors by 
Bramante in the Casa Panigarola (now in the 
Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan). This fresco should 
be compared also with the decorations by 
Mantegna in the Camera degli Sposi in Mantua, 
which Melozzo might have known. Given the 
dimensions of the apse, Melozzo surely relied 
on workshop assistance. Although different 
hands are evident in the individual fragments, 
the unity of the whole was not sacrificed. 


c. 1480 

Height, 44 W (113 cm); width, 35 'Vie" (91 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 269-D 

This work was restored in 1982 using conserv- 

ative techniques and is in fairly good condition, 
except for those losses and abrasions daring from 
the time when the fresco was detached from the 
wall. Previously, the halo had been regilded, and 
only traces of the original gilding remain. The an- 
gel, looking upward, plays a stringed instrument, 
apparently a vielle. This fragment probably was 
part of the median band of the apse and, given 
the position of the body, was most likely to the 
viewer's left. The artist transferred the cartoon 
using pouncing and chalk dust for the head and 
hands, and incising for the wings and clothing. 
The blue sky is lapis lazuli. 


c. 1480 

Height, 39 V 4 " (101 cm); width, 27 W (70 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 269-0 

This fragment was restored in 1982 using con- 
servative techniques and is in a fairly good state; 
the losses date from the time when the fresco was 


detached from the wall. The right eye of the 
angel is now inpainted with vertical hatching. 
Previously, the halo was heavily regilded; of the 
original gold, only traces remain. Early retouch- 
ing, which was done with great care, may have 
been the work of Camuccini. 

The angel looking out at the viewer is playing 
a lute. In Biagetti's reconstruction, this fragment 
was in the middle band of the apse, more or 
less at the center, as the position of the body is 
slightly turned to the observer's left. The red 
drapery and ribbons visible above belong to the 
Angel Playing a Fife and Drum (Inv. no. 269-F). 
The cartoon was transferred using pouncing and 
charcoal dust for the hands and head — traces 
of which remain on the lips and eyes — and in- 
cising for the wings and clothing. The blue in 
the sky and blouse is lapis lazuli. p ^ 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, Le Vite, 1568, Milanesi ed., 
Florence, 1878, III, pp. 51-52, 64; A. Taja, Descrizione 
del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, Rome, 1750, pp. 360-61; 
E. Pistolesi, // Vaticano descritto ed illustrate da Erasmo 
Pistolesi, Rome, 1829, II, pp. 176-77; C. Ricci, Melozzo 
da Forli, Rome, 1911, p. 8; A. Venturi, Storia dell' Arte 
Italiana, Milan, 1913, VII, 2, pp. 24-37; A. Tulli, "La 
Saia di Melozzo nella nuova Pinacoteca Vaticana," in 
Llllustrazione Vaticana, III, 1932, pp. 5-6; M. Salmi, 
"Melozzo e i suoi rapporti con la pittura toscana e 
umbra," in Melozzo da Forli, XVI, 1938, pp. 235-36; 
A. Schiavo, "Melozzo a Roma," in Presenza Romagnola, 
1977, pp. 89-110. 


VANNUCCI), Citta della Pieve 1450/52- 
Fontignano 1523 



These three panels were part of an altarpiece 
painted for the high altar of the church of San 
Pietro in Perugia; the work was commissioned 
from Perugino by the Benedictine monks of the 
adjoining monastery on March 8, 1495 (the 
documents were reviewed by F. Canuti in 1931). 
The frame and the panels on which the painter 
worked had been ordered from the Veronese arti- 
san Giovanni di Domenico on August 26, 1493. 
Perugino's contract stipulated that within two 
years he would execute the central panel repre- 
senting the Ascension with the twelve apostles, 
the Virgin, and angels; the lunette above, with 
God the Father in a glory of angels; and the 
predella "ornatam ad voluntatem domini abbatis 
pro tempore existentis. " Excluded from this 
agreement was what the document referred to 
as the "capsa quae circundat dictam tabulam" 
and the "ornamenta posita in summitate dictae 
capsae. " What the "capsa" was is not altogether 
clear, and the reconstruction proposed by W. 
Bombe (1914, pp. 49, 238) and, in large part, 
accepted by F. Canuti (1931, 1, p. Ill, n. 1) and 
E. Camesasca (1959, pp. 71-73; 1969, pp. 97- 
98), among others, does not seem absolutely 
convincing. In any case, on November 24, 1496, 
Perugino signed a new contract to paint and 
decorate the "capsa," which was to include cer- 
tain figures of the prophets. The documents are 
contradictory: according to the contemporary 

humanist Maturanzio (F. Canuti, 1931, 1, p. 113), 
the altarpiece was painted in 1496; in May 1498, 
the work is referred to as if completed ("de' avere 
di resto della penctura della ancona et chassa 
che depinse"; F. Canuti, 1931, II, p. 180); but 
the consecration did not take place until Janu- 
ary 13, 1500. The altar was dedicated to Saints 
Peter and Paul, who are represented in the prin- 
cipal panel, and was also intended to house the 
relics of Saint Catherine and the body of Saint 
Peter Abbot. 

In the seventeenth century, Perugino's altar- 
piece was moved to the choir and, at that time, 
probably taken apart (C. Crispolti, 1648, p. 91). 
In 1751, the Ascension was installed in the chap- 
el of the Holy Sacrament, the lunette of God the 
Father in Glory was placed between the doors 
leading to the monastery and the Sacristy, and 
the figures of prophets were hung beside the 
entrance to the church. The documents also in- 
clude a description of the predella, which was 
made up of five panels: The Adoration of the 
Magi, The Baptism of Christ, The Resurrection, 
and two panels of the patron saints of Perugia, 
Constantius and Herculanus. In addition, around 
the bases of the two columns that flanked the 
Ascension were panels of six Benedictine saints: 
Saint Benedict himself; his sister Saint Scholastica; 
his disciples Saint Mourns and Saint Placidus; Saint 
Flavia, the virgin martyr and sister of Placidus; 
and Saint Peter Abbot, the founder and first abbot 
of the church. 

Following the Treaty of Tolentino in 1797, Na- 
poleon had most of the panels brought to France, 
leaving in Perugia only the ones representing 
Saints Herculanus, Constantius, Maurus, Peter 
Abbot, and Scholastica; all remain there, except 
the Saint Scholastica, which was stolen in 1916 
and never recovered. The Ascension and God the 
Father in Glory are in the Musee des Beaux- 
Arts in Lyons, where they were taken in 1811; 
the tondi of the Prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah 
are in the Musee des Beaux- Arts in Nantes (since 
1809); and the three scenes from the predella are 
in the Musee des Beaux- Arts in Rouen, where 
they were sent in 1803. The panels representing 
Saints Benedict, Placidus, and Flavia were re- 
turned to Italy in 1815, and Pius VII had them 
placed in the collection of masterpieces in the 
new Vatican Pinacoteca (G. and A. D'Este, 1821, 
p. 35). 

Vasari (1568; Milanesi ed., 1878, III, p. 588) 
judged the Saint Peter Altarpiece "the best of 
Perugino's oil paintings in Perugia," and L. 
Scaramuccia (1674, p. 85) said that the predella 
panels were painted "with the finest exquisite- 
ness and diligence that Pietro knew to employ. " 
The altarpiece is now generally considered to 
be completely autograph, with the possible ex- 
ception of the predella panels with scenes from 
the life of Christ. It is among the most "Raphael - 
esque" of Perugino's works, so much so that 
Venturi (1913, VII, 2, pp. 816-24) attributed to 
the young Raphael the design of the two prophet 
tondi in Nantes. This hypothesis is no longer 
accepted, but Raphael must have studied such 
paintings in his most Peruginesque phase, and 
later he seems to have employed some typologi- 
cal elements from the Saint Peter Altarpiece — for 
example, the foreshortened head of Perugino's 
Saint Flavia must have influenced Raphael's 
Saint Thomas in the Coronation of the Virgin (the 
Oddi Altarpiece). 



Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 12 V 2 " (31.8 cm); width, 9 'A" (23.6 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 319 

Of the three Perugino panels in the Vatican, this 
work, restored in 1981 using conservative tech- 
niques, has suffered the most damage. In a res- 
toration carried out sometime before 1797, the 
backgrounds of all the panels were repainted 
blue, thereby covering balusters that had pre- 
viously been visible behind the figures of the 
saints. The two comparable panels in Perugia 
are still in this state. The blue was removed from 
the Vatican panels probably during a nineteenth- 
century restoration; this restoration presumably 
made use of soda and abrasive compounds that 
damaged the original color and revealed in some 
areas the dark- gray preparation of the azurite 
underpainting and even the gesso priming. These 
damages, which, in general, are limited to the 
background, have recently been inpainted in a 
slightly different color. In the Saint Benedict panel, 
the saint's face, as well, is slightly abraded. Be- 
sides this, the panel no longer retains its original 
dimensions, having been cut most obviously on 
the left and right sides. Saint Benedict was the 
founder of the order to which the monks who 
commissioned the altarpiece belonged. He wears 
the usual Benedictine habit, and he holds the 
book of the Benedictine Rule and the bunch of 
twigs with which he punished a rebel monk. 



Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 11 % " (30.1 cm); width, 10 % 6 " (26.8 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 320 

The treatment of this panel, which was restored 
in 1981, was similar to that described in the cata- 
logue entry for the Saint Benedict. Here, however, 
the damage is limited exclusively to the back- 
ground; the figure is in almost perfect condition 
and manifests such a high quality of execution 
that an attribution to Perugino himself is assured. 
Typical of the master's hand are the calligraphic 
details with which individual elements are ren- 
dered and the sophisticated chromatic palette 
of the picture as a whole. The panel has been 
thinned and cradled but, as indicated by the two 
lateral edges, it has not been cut down. Proba- 
bly during the nineteenth- century restoration, a 
strip approximately two centimeters wide was. 
added along the bottom so as to equalize the 
height of the three Vatican panels; this now has 
been removed, thereby returning the work to its 
original size. 

According to the eighteenth-century descrip- 
tion of the work in the abbots' records, the saint 
represented is Flavia, the sister of Placidus, who 
was a disciple of Saint Benedict. Together with 
her brother, Flavia was martyred at Messina in 
the course of a Saracen raid. However, the pres- 
ence of the crown is incongruous. Alternatively, 
she may be either Flavia Domitilla, the niece of 
the Emperor Vespasian, or Saint Catherine of 
Alexandria, among whose attributes is a crown. 
The altar in San Pietro contained relics of Saints 
Catherine and Peter Abbot, the founder of the 
monastery, and Peter Abbot appears among the 
saints represented in the panels from the base. 




Tempera on panel (poplar) 

Height, 12 3 A " (32.5 cm); width, 11 Vs" (28.9 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 321 

This painting, which was restored in 1981, has 
essentially the same conservation history as the 
other two. As with the Saint Flavia, the damages 
are limited to the background, while the figure 
is in excellent condition. The extremely high level 
of execution confirms the attribution to Perugino 
himself. While apparently the pendant to the 
Saint Flavia panel, the Saint Placidus is clearly 
larger than its mate, and must have been even 
larger originally, since the lateral borders are 
lacking. There is a pentimento at the right side of 
the saint's face. The palm held by Saint Placidus 
alludes to his legendary martyrdom. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, Le Vite, 1568, Milanesi ed., 
Florence, 1878, III, p. 588; C. Crispolti, Perugia augusta, 
Perugia, 1648, p. 91; L. Scaramuccia, Le finezze de pennelli 
italiani, Pavia, 1674, p. 85; B. Orsini, Vita, elogio e memorie 
dell'egregio pittore Pietro Perugino e degli scolari di esso, Perugia, 
1804, pp. 146-75; G. and A. D'Este, Elenco degli oggetti 
esistenti nelMuseo Vaticano, Rome, 1821, p. 35; A. Venturi, 
Storia dell' Arte Italiana, Milan, 1913, VII, 2, pp. 816-24; 
W Bombe, Perugino: DesMeisters Gemdlde, Stuttgart-Berlin, 
1914, pp. 49-63, 237-38; F. Canuti, // Perugino, Siena, 
1931, I, pp. 111-17, II, pp. 176-78, nos. 223, 224, 228, 
p. 180, no. 232, pp. 182-83, nos. 236, 237; E. Camesasca, 
Tutta la pittura del Perugino, Milan, 1959, pp. 71-76; 
R. Jullian, "Le Retable de 1' Ascension par Perugin," in 
Bulletin des Musees et Monuments Lyonnais, II, 1961, pp. 
381-404; E. Camesasca, L'opera completa del Perugino, 
Milan, 1969, pp. 97-98, nos. 56 G, M, O. 

77 C 




Urbino 1483-Rome 1520 

c. 1502-3 

Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 15 Vs " (39 cm); width, 74 'V l6 " (190 cm) 
Pinacoteca. Inv. no. 335 

The predella is part of the altarpiece that Raphael 
painted, about 1502-3, for the altar of the Oddi 
Chapel in the church of San Francesco in 
Perugia; it was probably commissioned by 
Alessandra di Simone degli Oddi (W. Bombe, 
1911, pp. 304-5; cf. also D. Redig de Campos, 
"L'Incoronazione della Madonna di Raffaello e 
il suo restauro," in FedeeArte, VI, 1958, p. 343), 
rather than by Maddalena degli Oddi, who is 
mentioned by Vasari (1568; Milanesi ed., 1878, 
IV, p. 3 17) , but is not named in documents. The 
principal panel represents The Coronation of the 
Virgin, while the predella includes three scenes 
from the Infancy of Christ: The Annunciation 
(Luke 1:26-38), The Adoration of the Magi 
(Matthew 2:11), and The Presentation in the Tem- 
ple (Luke 2:22-32). All three episodes, as repre- 
sented in the predella, are based on the biblical 
texts. In The Presentation in the Temple, the pres- 
ence of two turtledoves in the hands of one of 
the companions of the Virgin alludes to the holy 
offering that was customarily made on that 
occasion. Of particular interest in The Annuncia- 
tion is the distant landscape, in which one might 
possibly recognize in the mists the twin towers 
of the Palazzo Ducale of Urbino. 

The altarpiece remained in Perugia until 1797, 
when it was taken to France following the terms 
of the Treaty of Tolentino. Shortly before that 
date, the work was restored by a certain Fran- 
cesco Romero (L. Dussler, 1971, p. 10). A sec- 
ond restoration was undertaken at the Louvre 
by the restorers Haquin and Roeser (D. Redig 
de Campos, op. cit., p. 346); at that time, The 
Coronation of the Virgin was transferred to 
canvas. The altarpiece was not returned to its 
original site in Perugia after 1815, but was placed 
in the new Vatican Pinacoteca created by Pius 

VII (cf. G. and A. D'Este, 1821, pp. 36-37). Other 
works by Raphael acquired at the same time — 
the Madonna di Foligno; Faith, Charity, and Hope, 
from the Baglioni Altarpiece; and The Transfigu- 
ration — document the principal periods in the 
stylistic evolution of the painter who, with 
Michelangelo, was considered one of the great- 
est artists of the Renaissance. To this end, and 
with a clear critical awareness of their quality, 
Pius XI (1922-39) had decided that all these 
works, together with the Sistine Chapel tapes- 
tries executed after Raphael's designs, should 
be exhibited in a single room. The Coronation of 
the Virgin was cleaned again in 1957 (D. Redig 
de Campos, op. cit., p. 343), and the predella 
was similarly treated in 1959 (F. Mancinelli, 1977, 
p. 140); apart from changes in the blue pigment 
(lapis lazuli) of the Madonna's dress, the condi- 
tion of the work is nearly perfect. 

In all probability, the Oddi Altarpiece was the 
first work carried out by Raphael in Perugia, 
and marked the first direct confrontation between 
Raphael and Perugino, who, according to Vasari, 
was Raphael's master after his initial apprentice- 
ship in his father's workshop. The similarities 
in the work of the young Raphael to that of 
Perugino are very evident — especially in the Oddi 
Altarpiece — and Vasari's statement traditionally 
has been accepted. However, P De Vecchi (1981, 
pp. 8-19) has argued very convincingly against 
Raphael's apprenticeship in the workshop of 
Perugino. He proposes an interpretation of the 
Peruginesque elements in the paintings of the 
young Raphael in terms of competition rather 
than imitation — in much the same methodologi- 
cal manner as Raphael's later confrontations with 
the works of Leonardo and Michelangelo. The 
composition of The Coronation of the Virgin is 

derived from Perugino's Saint Peter Altarpiece, 
but it has been transformed by the insertion of 
the diagonal sarcophagus, which gives to the 
entire conception greater depth and spaciousness. 
Numerous typological — and, in particular, phys- 
iognomic — details also are drawn from the Saint 
Peter Altarpiece. Foreshortened heads similiar 
to that of Perugino's Saint Flavia appear often in 
the artist's later work — perhaps because the type 
met with such notable success and was adapted 
by Raphael for the head of Saint Thomas in The 
Coronation of the Virgin. The Oddi Altarpiece is 
clearly related, as well, to the predella of 
Perugino's Fano Altarpiece. The compositional 
scheme and typology of the figures in The An- 
nunciation and The Presentation in the Temple fol- 
low those of the analogous panels by Perugino, 
as A. M. Brizio (1963, col. 223) has noted, but 
with increasing breadth and luminosity, and, as 
De Vecchi (1981, p. 15) has written, with greater 
realism and a clearer and more precise sensitivity 
toward spatial relationships. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Vasari, he Vite, 1568, Milanesi ed., 
Florence, 1878, IV pp. 317-18; G. and A. D'Este, Elenco 
degli oggetti esistenti net Museo Vatkano, Rome, 1821, pp. 
36-37; W Bombe, "Raffaels Peruginer Jahre," in Monat- 
shefte fur Kunstwissenschaft, IV, 1911, pp. 304-5; A. M. 
Brizio, "Raffaello," in Encklopedia Universale dell' Arte, XI, 
Venice-Rome, 1963, col. 223; L. Dussler, Raphael, London- 
New York, 1971, p. 10; F. Mancinelli, "Arte Medioevale e 
Moderna," in Bollettino del Monumenti Musei e Gallerie 
Pontifkie, 1, 1977, p. 140; P De Vecchi, Raffaello. La Pittura, 
Florence, 1981, pp. 8-19, 239-40, no. 12. 




Urbino 1483-Rome 1520 


The three panels representing the Theological 
Virtues — Faith, Charity, and Hope — constitute 
the predella for an altarpiece commissioned from 
Raphael by Atalanta Baglioni, and intended for 
the altar of the Baglioni family chapel in the 
church of San Francesco in Perugia (L. Dussler, 
1971, p. 23). Raphael probably received the com- 
mission in the middle of 1506; he signed and 
dated the principal panel Raphael./ vrbinas./ 
m.d.vii. With this altarpiece Atalanta Baglioni 
sought to commemorate the death of her son 
Grifone, who was assassinated in July 1 500 dur- 
ing a conflict between opposing branches of the 
family over the control of Perugia. Originally, 
the altarpiece was composed of a central panel 
with The Deposition (in the Galleria Borghese in 
Rome); a pinnacle representing God the Father 
Blessing, Surrounded by Angels (in the Galleria 
Nazionale dell'Umbria in Perugia); and the pre- 
della in the Vatican. Raphael, as mentioned, 
signed The Deposition — however, C. L. Ragghianti 
(1947, p. 9) believes that it was executed with 
some studio assistance. The predella is generally 
attributed to Raphael, but the pinnacle seems to 
have been painted by Domenico Alfani, after 
Raphael's design (L. Dussler, 1971, p. 24). It has 
been suggested, in the past, that Atalanta was 
portrayed in the guise of the Virgin or the Magda- 
lene, and that the dead Christ or the bearer to 
the right may have the features of Grifone; these 
notions probably are unfounded. The altarpiece 
remained in the church until 1608, when the 
main panel was secretly sent to the Borghese 
pope, Paul V, in Rome; he gave it to his nephew 
Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Faced with objec- 
tions from the people of Perugia and from Brac- 
cio Baglioni, Atalanta's descendant, Paul V 
responded with a brief in which he declared the 
painting to be private property. At the same time, 
Scipione Borghese had Lanfranco paint a copy 
(which has since been lost) and send it to 
Perugia; another contemporaneous copy, not 
mentioned in the documents, is by Cavalier 
d'Arpino (in the Galleria Nazionale in Perugia) . 

The Deposition was taken to Paris in 1809 by 
Camillo Borghese, husband of Pauline Bona- 
parte, but in 181 5 it was returned to the Galleria 
Borghese, where it has remained since. The pin- 
nacle always has been in Perugia — assuming that 
the work now in the museum there belonged to 
Raphael's altarpiece, and that it is not a seven- 
teenth-century copy; De Vecchi (1966, p. 97) 
reproduced a sixteenth-century replica from a 
private collection, which Camesasca (cf. Tutta 
la pittura di Raffaello, 1962, I, pp. 83-84) be- 
lieves may be closer to a lost original. The pre- 
della was expropriated by the French in 1797 
and remained in Paris until 1815; following its 
restitution to Pius VII (1800-1823), it entered 
the renovated Vatican Pinacoteca, thereby com- 
plementing the group of Raphael's works ac- 
quired by the Braschi pope, Pius VI (1775-99) 
(cf. G. and A. D'Este, 1821, p. 45). The Baglioni 
Altarpiece just precedes Raphael's arrival in 
Rome and is as important a work in the artist's 
career as The Transfiguration would be thirteen 
years later; in it, as S. Staccioli writes (1972-73, 
p. 7), Raphael presents a summation of his pre- 
vious experiences in Umbria and Florence and, 
at the same time, gives an indication of his fu- 
ture style. Raphael's preparatory drawings for 
the main panel — which was initially conceived 
as a Lamentation and was then transformed into 
a Deposition — testify, as does the finished picture, 
to a variety of stimuli. At the outset, he was 
inspired by Perugino's Pietd (now in the Palazzo 
Pitti) , from which the first idea for the composi- 
tion came, but later he looked to Signorelli, to 
Mantegna, and ultimately to Michelangelo. The 
influence of Michelangelo is evident in the cen- 
tral panel of the predella— exhibited here— thus 
illustrating Raphael's early interest in the work 
of the artist who would become his competitor 
on the Roman scene. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. and A. D'Este, Elenco degli ogaetti 
esistenti nel Museo Vaticano, Rome, 1821, p. 45; E. Wind, 
"Charity," in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 
I, 1937/8, pp. 329 ff.; C. L. Ragghianti, La deposizione di 
Raffaello, Milan, 1947; A. M. Brizio, "Raffaello," in 
Enaclopedia Universale dell' Arte, XI, Venice-Rome, 1963, cols. 
226-27; P. De Vecchi, L'opera completa di Raffaello, Milan, 
1966, p. 97, no. 70; L. Dussler, Raphael, London-New 
York, 1971, pp. 23-25; L. Ferrara, S. Staccioli, and A. M. 
Tantillo, Storia e restauro della Deposizione di Raffaello, Rome, 
1972-73; R De Vecchi, Raffaello. La Pittura, Florence, 1981, 
p. 244, no. 426. 

79 A. FAITH 


Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 7'/ 8 " (18 cm); width, 17 Vie" (44 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 332 

The predella is painted in grisaille. Each of the 
three panels has a niche-like cavity to the left 
and right of a wider central compartment that 
contains a slightly recessed medallion with 
figures on a green ground. This panel was at the 
left. It represents Faith, with her traditional attri- 
bute, the Eucharistic chalice. The winged putti 
carry tablets with Greek monograms — cpx and 
iSs — alluding to Christ as the object of faith. 



Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 7Vs" (18 cm); width, 17Vi 6 " (44 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 331 

The middle panel of the predella represents 
Charity, whose symbolically dominant role is 
indicated by her central placement. One of the 
putti carries on his back a flaming cauldron; 
the other overturns a basin filled with coins — 
perhaps an allusion to the abundance generated 
through Charity. The tondo in the center closely 
recalls Michelangelo's Pitti Madonna, which 
seems to have furnished the model for the fe- 
male figure. 

79 C. HOPE 


Oil on panel (poplar) 

Height, 7W (18 cm); width, 17 Vie" (44 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 330 

This panel was at the right of the predella. As 
indicated by the pose — one that Ripa's lconolo- 
gia later made canonical — the subject is Hope. 
The trusting attitudes of the winged putti flank- 
ing the central figure are analogous. 





Amboise 1519) 

c. 1482 

Oil on panel (walnut) 

Height, 40 9 /ie" (103 cm); width, 29 >/ 2 " (75 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 337 

Leonardo painted this image of Saint Jerome 
on a panel composed of two irregularly shaped 
walnut boards, glued and reinforced where they 
are joined by three dovetailed wedges. The sur- 
face is very dirty and is covered by a thick layer 
of discolored yellow varnish, which alters the 
original palette. There are numerous old re- 

touches, some of which were intended to dis- 
guise the damages incurred in the nineteenth 
century, when four cuts were made in the upper 
part of the picture and the head of the saint was 
removed. A rigid cradle was applied to the re- 
verse of the panel in 1929, replacing an oak back- 
ing that had been glued on in the nineteenth 
century. The Saint Jerome has not been cleaned in 
this century, if ever (B. Nogara, 1931, pp. 5-7). 

This famous painting, mentioned for the first 
time in 1803, in the will of the Swiss painter 
Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807), who had 
lived in Rome, was attributed to Leonardo (J. 
Langl, 1888-89, p. 298). (From an inventory of 
1680, we know that a picture identical in subject, 
also attributed to Leonardo, was in the Palazzo 
del Giardino in Parma, but the dimensions seem 
to argue against its being the Vatican picture; cf. 
G. Campori, Raccolta di cataloghi ed inventari 
inediti . . .dal secolo XV al secolo XIX, Modena, 
1870.) The picture disappeared after the death 
of Angelica Kauffmann, but, fortunately, was re- 
discovered by Napoleon's uncle Cardinal Joseph 
Fesch, who died in Rome in 1839. Regarding 
this find, D'Achiardi (1913, p. 69), without 
citing the source (which almost certainly was 
F. Wey, 1878, pp. 28-31), tells the following 
— somewhat romantic — story. The cardinal first 
discovered the painting, with the head cut out, 
being used as a cover for a chest in a second- 
hand shop. Subsequently, he located the miss- 
ing part of the panel in a cobbler's shop. The 
details of the story are probably fictitious, but 
the cuts in the panel indicate that the head was 
removed by someone who thought that it would 
be more easily salable alone. However it may 
have been, Cardinal Fesch had the various pieces 
of the picture reassembled; the complete work 
was auctioned in his estate sale, which took place 
at Palazzo Ricci, on the Via Giulia in Rome, dur- 
ing March and April 1845. The picture was val- 
ued at 2,500 francs, but it is not clear whether it 
actually was sold then and if so to whom (B. 
Nogara, 1931, p. 7, n. 4). G. Moroni (1858, p. 
244) records that Pius IX was the first to exhibit 
the work in the Pinacoteca, in 1857; since then, 
it has never been moved, except for an exhibi- 
tion held in Lucerne for the benefit of the 
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, which had been dam- 
aged during World War II. 

Leonardo's Penitence of Saint Jerome is en- 
tirely traditional iconographically. The saint, as- 
cetic in visage and physique, prays before a 
crucifix lightly sketched in profile; in his right 
hand is a stone that he will use to beat his breast, 
which he bares with his left hand. The setting is 
a grotto, from which a rocky landscape, only 
partially blocked in, opens on the left. In the 
foreground is a roaring lion, Jerome's traditional 
attribute. In what appears to be an opening in 
the rocks, the facade of a church has been drawn 
on the gesso priming; despite the generic quality 
of the representation, some scholars have iden- 
tified it as Santa Maria Novella in Florence, 
completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470. The 
painting is actually a sketch, with some parts of 
the landscape and, in particular, the face of the 
saint slightly more developed. The attribution 


to Leonardo proposed by Angelica Kauffmann 
has always been upheld, since the panel clearly 
is related to other works by Leonardo — specifi- 
cally, to The Adoration of the Magi, commissioned 
from the artist in 1481. The Adoration is also a 
sketch, and in it, as Redig de Campos (1977, p. 
66) has written, one finds the same techniques 
of sketching the work in giallolino (yellow prim- 
ing paint) and bister, and of drawing by painting, 
with absolute supremacy given to the sfumato 
(roughly denned as shading) without sacrificing 
the solid framework of Florentine draftsmanship. 
As an example, one should note the analogous 
drawing of the mountain in the two works. L. H. 
Heydenreich (1958, col. 566) sees the influence 
of Florentine art in the springing motion of the 
body — almost an anatomical study, which re- 
calls the work of Pollaiuolo. In the absence of 
documentation .or contemporary evidence, the 
painting must be dated on stylistic grounds. With 
the exception of J. Strzygowski (1895, pp. 
166-68), who dated the work to Leonardo's first 
visit to Milan (at the time of The Last Supper), 
all scholars place the Saint Jerome in the artist's 
first Florentine period, about 1482, just before 
his departure for Milan. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Galerie defeu S. E. le Cardinal Fesch. . . . 
Catalogue des tableaux des koles italiennes, et espagnole, par 
George, peintre, Commissaire-Expert du Musee royal du Louvre, 
Rome, 1845, pp. 174-76, no. 838—750; Galleria dei 
quadri al terzo piano delle Logge Vaticane, Rome, 1857, p. 9; 
G. Moroni, Dizionario di educazione storico-ecclesiastica, 
LXXXVIII, Venice, 1858, p. 244; F. Wey, / musei del Vaticano, 
Milan, 1878, pp. 27-31; J. Langl, "Das Testament der An- 
gelica Kauffmann," in Zeitschrift fur bildende Kunst, XXIV, 
1888-89, p. 298; J. Strzygowski, "Studienzu Leonardos 
Entwickelung als Maler," in Jahrbuch der Preussischen 
Kunstsammlungen, XVI, 1895, pp. 166-68, 171, 173; P. 
D'Achiardi, Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, 
p. 69; B. Nogara, "Gli ultimi restauri del S. Girolamo di 
Leonardo da Vinci," in Miscellanea di Studi Lombardi in 
onore di Ettore Verga, Milan, 1931, pp. 5-7; E. Verga, 
Bibliografla Vinciana, Bologna, 1931; L. H. Heydenreich, 
Leonardo da Vinci, New York, 1954; idem, "Leonardo da 
Vinci," in Enciclopedia Universale dell' Arte, VIII, Venice- 
Rome, 1958, cols. 562, 566; D. Redig de Campos, "S. 
Girolamo," in Leonardo: La Pittura, Milan, 1977, pp. 65-68. 




c. 1580 

Oil on canvas 

Height, 65 Vs" (166 cm); width, 52 W (134 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 352 

This picture is in good condition; the cleaning 
in 1982 brought back its delicacy and chromat- 
ic variety. Benedict XIV (1740-58) acquired the 

painting from the Pio di Carpi family (T. Pignatti, 
1976, p. 150), and Pius VII (1800-1823) placed 
it in the restored Vatican Pinacoteca (G. and A. 
D'Este, 1821, pp. 37-38), where it has remained 
since. The subject is the Vision of Saint Helena — 
so called, as it was more a dream than a vision. 
The saint is seated, her eyes closed, her head 
resting on one hand. She wears a crown, and a 
sumptuous sixteenth-century dress under a cloak 
fastened with a brooch, at the center of which is 
a cameo with a cupid. A winged putto holds up 
a cross — the manifestation of the dream that, 
according to legend, guided her to the place 
where the true cross was buried. The atmosphere 
is solemn and peaceful. Saint Helena is the sub- 
ject of a painting in the National Gallery in Lon- 
don, as well as of other works by Veronese since 
lost (cf. C. Gould, The Sixteenth-Century Venetian 
School. National Gallery Catalogues, London, 1959, 
pp. 147-48). As Gould indicates, the iconogra- 
phy is not that generally employed in Venice, 
where the saint is usually shown standing be- 
neath the cross. He has identified as the probable 

source for the London picture (which may be 
dated about 1570) an engraving by a follower 
of Marcantonio Raimondi in which the vision of 
a female saint — perhaps Saint Agnes — is repre- 
sented. The prototype of that engraving, a draw- 
ing in the Uffizi, has now been attributed to 
Raphael by Konrad Oberhuber (cf. Raphaels 
Zeichnungen, IX, Berlin, 1972, pp. 95-96, no. 409 
a, r.). The Vatican picture, a later version of the 
subject, differs from all of these in that the cross 
is no longer held aloft. G. Fiocco (1928, p. 193) 
dated it about 1575, while R. Marini (1968, p. 
1 19, no. 193) has suggested a date closer to 1580. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. and A. D'Este, Elenco degli oggetti 
esistenti nel Museo Vaticano, Rome, 1821, pp. 37-38; 
G. Fiocco, Paolo Veronese, Bologna, 1928, pp. 86, 193; 
E. Francia, Tesori della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Milan, 1964, p. 
80; R. Marini, L opera completa del Veronese, Milan, 1968, 
pp. 1 12, 119, no. 193; T. Pignatti, Veronese, Venice, 1976, p. 
150, no. 256. 




[Brescia] 1528-Rome 1592) 

c. 1585-92 

Oil on panel, transferred to canvas 

Height, 57 W (147 cm); width, 38 9 / !6 " (98 cm) 

Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 369 

This picture, which was restored in 1981-82 
and is in good condition, comes from the church 
of Santa Marta, which once stood behind Saint 
Peter's basilica, to the left of the church of San 

Stefano degli Abbissini (on the history and dec- 
oration of the building, see C. Pietrangeli, 1982, 
pp. 209-13). Santa Marta was built in 1538 
during the pontificate of Paul III (1534-49) . Be- 
ginning in 1 5 82 , under Gregory XIII (1572-85), 
the church underwent a radical reconstruction, 
which was undertaken by Ottaviano Mascherino, 
architect of the papal palaces since 1578. Work 
proceeded under Sixtus V (1585-90), whose 
coat of arms appeared on the facade, and con- 
tinued during the reign of Clement VIII (1592- 
1605 ) . Muziano's painting decorated the altar of 
the second chapel — on the right of the church — 
commissioned by Ludovico Canossi (died 1626) 
and dedicated to Saint Jerome. The stucco wall 
decorations included figures of Saints Peter, Paul, 
Martha, and Mary Magdalene, and four scenes 
from the life of Saint Jerome; these works are 

lost, but are documented in photographs and in 
several casts in the storerooms of the Vatican 
Museums. The Saint Jerome was saved when, in 
1930, the church was demolished — because, ac- 
cording to the cynical assertion oi II Messaggero , 
it "no longer had a reason to exist." The panel 
was acquired by the Vatican Museums, restored, 
and transferred to the Pinacoteca in 1932, where 
it was exhibited. 

The altarpiece represents Saint Jerome in 
prayer before a crucifix. In his right hand, he 
grasps a rock with which he will beat his chest. 
Next to him are his customary attributes, the 
lion and the cardinal's hat. Despite its high 
quality, the work has never attracted scholarly 
interest, and Ugo da Como only mentioned it 
in his 1930 monograph on the artist (p. 122). In 
this century, the attribution to Muziano has not 
been doubted, although it was questioned in the 
past — for example, by G. Alveri (1670, II, p. 
221), who wrote that the painting was thought 
to be by Muziano but was said to have been 
designed by Daniele da Volterra. This doubt, as 
Pietrangeli has pointed out, must have been sug- 
gested by the emphatic Michelangelism of the 
figure — typical of Muziano's work after his ar- 
rival in Rome, where he was one of the founders 
of the Accademia di San Luca. The limited color 
range, which is also Michelangelesque, contrib- 
utes to the sculptural effect, and the skillful use 
of glazes recalls the artist's Venetian origins. The 
subject was treated often by Muziano, and this 
version is one of the finest. It was probably paint- 
ed during the pontificate of Sixtus V or slightly 
later, rather than under Gregory XIII, who initi- 
ated the rebuilding of the church. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Alveri, Delia Roma in ogniStato, Rome, 
1670, II, p. 221; U. da Como, Girolamo Muziano, Bergamo, 
1930, p. 122; A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, Guida 
delta Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 179; 
C. Pietrangeli, "In ricordo di una chiesa distrutta: S. Marta 
al Vaticano," in Arte e letteratura per Giovanni Fallani, 
Rome, 1982, pp. 209-13, pis. 11-16. 




c. 1594-95 
Oil on canvas 

Height, 65" (165 cm); width, 46 Vie" (118 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 380 

This canvas, restored in 1981, is in excellent con- 
dition, save for a loss inpainted with vertical 
hatching that affects part of the face, shoulder, 
and book of Brother Rufinus. With the removal 
of repaint and discolored varnish, it became clear 
that the work is a sketch. The glazing applied to 
the figure of Saint Francis, which is the most 
elaborate and highly finished part, is not found 
in other areas; the rest was roughed in, almost as 
if the artist drew as he painted, preparing with 
dark colors the areas in shadow, and with light 
colors those in light. The underpainting is gray, 


and only the figure of the saint was transferred 
by incising the outline with a stylus; some penti- 
menti can be seen in the fingers of the right hand. 
The painting represents the moment when, as 
Saint Bonaventure relates, Francis had a vision 
of the crucified Christ between the wings of a 
seraph and received the stigmata. The setting is 
Mount Averna, and there is a view of a Francis- 
can monastery. The figure of Saint Francis is iden- 
tical to that in the Perdono di Assisi (in San 
Francesco in Urbino), completed in 1576, while 
Brother Rufinus recalls a comparable figure in 
a drawing in the British Museum (Inv. no. Pp. 
3-203), which also includes the tree and the 
distant monastery. 

Opinions on the painting have varied. H. Olsen 
(1962, p. 161) considered it a workshop picture, 
and A. Emiliani (1975, p. 102) has called it a 
copy. Since then, it has been restored. Only the 
figure of Saint Francis is derived with little varia- 
tion from the Perdono, and the very high quality 
of execution of the Vatican picture rules out 
workshop participation. The underpainting and 
incising are also typical of the artist. The presence 
of unresolved passages, especially in the rocks, 
and the sketch-like technique strongly suggest 

that this canvas was a preparatory study for one 
of the versions of Saint Francis Receiving the Stig- 
mata, to which Barocci returned many times after 
painting the Perdono. It should thus be grouped 
with Barocci's print of the subject; the drawings 
in the Uffizi (Inv. no. 11500P) and the British 
Museum; numerous studies of rocks and trees; 
and, above all, with the Fossombrone Saint Fran- 
cis Receiving the Stigmata (Museo Civico), which, 
as Emiliani has indicated, is also sketch-like in 
its handling. According to Emiliani, the British 
Museum drawing and the Fossombrone picture 
precede the Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata 
in Urbino (Galleria Nazionale delle Marche), 
which was probably finished in 1595. A similar 
dating for the Vatican version — before the Urbino 
picture — is suggested by the dramatic treatment 
of light and by the palette, which is character- 
ized by a subtle use of brown and gray. The Vati- 
can picture may precede the one in Fossombrone, 
as the figure of Saint Francis is closer to the saint 
in the Perdono di Assisi. Such a repetition of motif, 
in any event, typifies Barocci's working methods. 
The history of the painting, which was brought 
to the Pinacoteca in 1932 from a room in the 
Vatican palaces, is not recorded. F. M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Porcella. Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida delta Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 183, 
no. 380; H. Olscn, Federico Barocci, Copenhagen, 1962, 
p. 161; Mostra di Federico Barocci (exhib. cat.), entry by 
A. Emiliani for the Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata in 
Fossombrone, Bologna, 1975, pp. 102-3. 




c. 1570-73 
Oil on canvas 

Height, 52 Vs" (133 cm); width, 43 Vie" (110 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 377 

In this work, restored in 1981-82, small losses 
affecting both the figures and the background 
have been inpainted with vertical hatching. The 
cleaning has brought to light the extraordinarily 
delicate, subtly shaded coloring typical of Barocci. 
As Giovanni Pietro Bellori (1672, p. 196) de- 
scribed the technique: 'After the laborious work 
of preparing numerous drawings and sketches, 
he applied the paint very rapidly, often blend- 
ing it with his thumb, so as to shade without 
using a brush. " The use of oil glazes over tem- 
pera is also typical of the artist. The attribution 
to Barocci has never been questioned. In subject, 
the picture corresponds to — but is almost cer- 
tainly not identical with — one described by 
Bellori (1672, p. 193) as having been painted for 
Duke Guidobaldo della Rovere: "For Duke 
Guidobaldo, the father of Francesco Maria, he 
painted a small cabinet picture, with the Virgin 
resting from her journey to Egypt: she sits, and 
with a cup takes water from a flowing stream, 
while Joseph lowers a branch of an apple tree, 
holding it out to the Infant Jesus, who smiles 
and extends his hand to it. This work was sent 
as a gift to the Duchess of Ferrara [Lucrezia 
d'Este] , and because the invention was pleasing, 
various replicas were made, and a life-size 
gouache was also made, which Count Antonio 
Brancaleoni had sent to his castle of Pieve del 
Piobbico." According to Olsen (1962, p. 154), 
that painting was given to the Duchess of Ferrara 
just before her marriage (on January 2 or 3, 
1571) and would, therefore, date to about 1570. 
The work, which passed by inheritance into the 
collection of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini in 1 5 98 
or shortly after, remained in the Aldobrandini 
family until about 1800. In that year and the 
following, Alexander Day may have exhibited 
it in London for sale by private contract; M. 
Passavant (cf. Tour of a German Artist in England, 
I, London, 1836 ed., pp. 228-29) saw it in the 
collection of George Channing, first Baron 
Garvagh; in 1898, long after Channing's death, 
it was sold with works from his estate (Christie's, 
London, June 13, 1898, no. 130) and has never 
been found since. 

The replica that Barocci describes as having 
been painted for Count Brancaleoni is in the 
church of San Stefano in Piobbico. 

Olsen (1962, p. 154) and Emiliani (1975, pp. 
85-86) agree that the Vatican picture could not 
be the one painted for Duke Guidobaldo, in 




which — to judge from an engraving of 1772 by 
Cappellano — the Child is seated on the right 
knee of the Virgin. Rather, it would seem to be 
identifiable with a painting that Bellori (1672, 
p. 176) called a Nativity: "After returning to 
Urbino, he sent, out of friendship for Signor 
Simonetto Anastagi, the gift of a Nativity by his 
own hand about four feet in height. " In 1602, 
upon the death of Anastagi, the picture, accom- 
panied by a letter dated October 2, 1573 
(Piancastelli Collection, Forli), passed into the 
hands of the Jesuits of Perugia, who hung it in 
the Sacristy of their church. With the suppres- 
sion of the order in 1773, the painting was taken 
to the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome. Pius VI 
had the work included among those in the first 
Vatican Pinacoteca, which was inaugurated 
about 1790 (C. Pietrangeli, 1975, p. 355). It re- 
mained there only until 1798, or slightly later, 
when, after the removal of the pictures that the 
Napoleonic commissioners sent to the Louvre, 
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt was taken to the 
apostolic palaces. It was returned to the 
Pinacoteca only in the time of Pius X (1903-14). 
During the pontificate of Gregory XVI, what the 

1846 catalogue called the bozzetto (or sketch) for 
the painting was exhibited in the Pinacoteca, 
evidently as a replacement; given the high level 
of quality of the collection, it is unlikely that 
this bozzetto is identifiable with the picture now 
in the Accademia di San Luca — which is a 
mediocre seventeenth -century copy, of differ- 
ent dimensions. 

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt was one of 
Barocci's most popular works, as indicated by 
the number of autograph replicas and its almost 
immediate reproduction (1575) in an engraving 
by Cornelis Cort. The composition, derived from 
Correggio's Madonna della Scodella, is an exam- 
ple of Barocci's characteristic elegance of execu- 
tion and an image of extraordinary lyricism. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY; G. R Bellori, Le Vite de' pittori, scultoriet 
architetti moderni, Rome, 1672, pp. 176, 193, 196; Galleria 
diquadrial Vaticano, Rome, 1846, pp. 35-36; P. D'Achiardi, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, III, Rome, 1913, p. 140, 
no. 253; H. Olsen, Federico Barocci, Copenhagen, 1962, 
pp. 60-61, 154-56; Mostra di Federico Barocci (exhib. cat.), 
entry by A. Emiliani, Bologna, 1975, pp. 85-87; 
C. Pietrangeli, "I Musei Vaticani dopo Tolentino," in Strenna 
dei Romanisti, 1975, p. 355. 


Bergamo 1573-Porto Ercole 1610 


Oil on canvas 

Height, 118 Vs" (300 cm); width, 79 'Vis" (203 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 386 

This picture, which was restored in 1982, comes 
from the Chiesa Nuova (Santa Maria in Valli- 
cella) in Rome. It was commissioned for the 
chapel of the Vittrici family, probably toward 
the end of 1601, as a document refers to work 
already in progress there as of January 9, 1602. 
The patron must have been a nephew of Pietro 
Vittrici (died March 26, 1600), who had been 
Master of the Household to Gregory Xm and had 
purchased the chapel in 1577. The painting was 
certainly finished by September 6, 1604, for on 
that date, according to an entry from the rec- 
ords of the church, the nephew of Signor Pietro 
Vittrici asked for and was given a picture of the 
Pieta which had been on the altar of the chapel 
before the picture by Caravaggio was painted 
(cf. L. Lopresti, "Un appunto per la storia di 
Michelangelo da Caravaggio," in L'Arte, XXV, 
1922, p. 116). 

Scholars disagree on the exact date of the 
painting. A summary of the various arguments 
about the date, together with the relevant 
bibliography, is in Maurizio Marini's mono- 
graph (1974, pp. 398-99). Marini, himself, be- 
lieves that Caravaggio began the altarpiece in 
1602 and finished it in 1604. There were, he 
maintains, various reasons for the unusually long 
period of execution: the libel suit and subse- 
quent trial instituted by Baglione, Caravaggio's 
future biographer; the temporary relocation of 
the artist to the Marches; the legal problems re- 
sulting from an altercation with Pietro da 
Fusaccia, a waiter at the Osteria del Mora alia 
Maddalena in Rome; and, finally, the numer- 
ous other commissions the artist received con- 
currently. The painting remained in the Vittrici 
Chapel until 1797, when, following the terms 
of the Treaty of Tolentino, it was sent to Paris; it 
was replaced with a copy by Vincenzo Camuc- 
cini. Caravaggio's painting was returned to Rome 
in 1817 and installed in the new Pinacoteca of 
Pius VII; at the same time, Camuccini's copy 
was replaced with one by Michel Kock, which 
remains in the church. The Deposition was ex- 
hibited in Lucerne in 1948. 

Caravaggio's treatment of the subject presents 
numerous anomalies when compared with more 
traditional representations. This is not a burial 
scene like Raphael's Baglioni Altarpiece, as the 
protagonists here are not in motion, nor is it a 
Deposition, in the strict sense, since the body of 
Christ is not being lowered into the tomb. De- 
spite the presence of the Virgin, it is not a Pieta, 
given the number and type of the characters 
depicted. Furthermore, according to the Gospels, 
only Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary 
Cleophas were present — not, as here, the Vir- 
gin and Saint John. As M. A. Graeve (1958, pp. 
227-28) and W. Friedlaender (1955, p. 188) 
have shown, Caravaggio represented the moment 


when the body of Christ was placed on the Stone 
of Unction, which then would be used as the 
slab to seal his tomb. Symbolically, as M. Calvesi 
(cf. "Caravaggio o la ricerca della Salvazione," 
in Storia dell' Arte, IX-X, 1971, pp. 121-23, n. 108) 
has noted, the slab alludes to Christ as the cor- 
nerstone and foundation of the Church. Marini 
(1974, p. 33) has suggested that the inclusion of 
the yew beneath the stone and the fig beside the 
entrance to the sepulcher has symbolic import, 
as well. The former recalls a passage in Isaiah 
(53:2) that refers to Christ, while the latter is 
not the accursed fig tree of Matthew (21:18-22) 
and Mark ( 1 1 : 1 3-14) but, more probably, the Res- 
urrection symbol of the two parables in Luke 
( 1 3 : 6-9; 2 1 : 2 9-3 1 ) . The anomalous presence of 
the Virgin is due to the necessity of representing 
the same subject, the Pieta, that appeared in the 

previous altarpiece in the chapel: the iconograph- 
ic program could not be changed, since each of 
the chapels was planned by Saint Philip Neri to 
invite meditation on a single Mystery of the 
Rosary. (It should be noted that the features of 
Nicodemus are curiously reminiscent of those 
of Philip Neri's death mask.) 

The composition of Caravaggio's altarpiece re- 
calls Raphael's Baglioni Deposition, Peterzano's 
Deposition at San Fedele in Milan, and the Mi- 
chelangelo Pieta in Saint Peter's. The hypothesis 
that the figure of Mary Cleophas was a later 
addition is without foundation (G. C. Argan, 
1943, pp. 40-43; R. Longhi, 1943, pp. 100- 
102). Caravaggio painted The Deposition shortly 
after completing the decoration of the Cerasi 
Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo and the 
Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi. The 

picture is one of the few about which there has 
been almost universal agreement: As G. Baglione 
(1642, p. 137) noted, it was said to be Caravag- 
gio's greatest work. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Baglione, he Vite de' pittori scultori et 
architetti, dal pontificate di Gregorio XIII, del 1572, in fino 
a' tempi di papa Vrbano Ottauo nel 1642, 1642, p. 137; 
G. and A. D'Este, Elenco degli oggetti esistenti nel Museo 
Vaticano, Rome, 1821, pp. 17-19; G. C. Argan, "Un'ipotesi 
caravaggesca," in Parallelo, II, 1943, pp. 40-43; R. Longhi, 
"Ultimissime sul Caravaggio," in Proporzioni, 1, 1943, pp. 
100-102; W. Friedlaender, Caravaggio Studies, Princeton, 
1955, pp. 123-30, 186-89, no. 25; M.A. Graeve, "The 
Stone of Unction in Caravaggio's Painting for the Chiesa 
Nuova," in The Art Bulletin, XL, 1958, pp. 223-38; M. 
Marini, Io Michelangelo da Caravaggio, Rome, 1974, pp. 
32-33, 180, 398-99, no. 48. 


NICOLAS POUSSIN (Les Andelys 1594- 

Rome 1665) 


Oil on canvas 

Height, 126 " (320 cm); width, 73 'A " (186 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 815 

This painting was restored in 1980 on the occa- 
sion of the exhibition "Bernini in Vaticano" 
(1981). A rather sizable damage near the left 
shoulder of the soldier in the foreground — 
sustained long ago — has been inpainted with 
vertical hatching. The subject, the martyrdom 
of Saint Erasmus, was first represented in the 
fourteenth century; virtually unknown in France 
in Poussin's time, it was only rarely met with in 
Italy, though Saraceni's altarpiece for the cathe- 
dral of Gaeta is an important precedent. Poussin's 
Martyrdom, intended for one of the altars in the 
right transept of Saint Peter's, was commissioned 
in February 1628. A. Felibien (1666-85; 1725 
ed., IV, p. 19) states that Poussin secured the 
commission through his patron Cassiano dal 
Pozzo, although Bernini told R Freart de Chante- 
lou (1665; 1885 ed., p. 146) that the suggestion 
was his. In any event, it was Poussin's first pub- 
lic commission since his arrival in Rome in 1624. 
He completed the painting in 1629, and signed 

it: Nicolaus Pusin fecit. The work met with only 
limited success; contemporaries preferred the 
Martyrdom of Saints Processus and Martinian, 
which Valentin had painted in the same year 
for the altar on the opposite wall of the transept. 
The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus remained in Saint 
Peter's until the eighteenth century, when it was 
replaced by a mosaic copy and moved to the 
Palazzo del Quirinale. Following the terms of 
the Treaty of Tolentino, the painting was sent to 
Paris in 1797; it was returned to Rome in 1817, 
and entered the collection that Pius VII had as- 
sembled as the new Vatican Pinacoteca. 

The commission had been awarded first to 
Pietro da Cortona, whose preparatory drawing 
influenced Poussin's work. Venetian characteris- 
tics in The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus confirm 
the artist's supposed stay in Venice: according 
to M. Stein (1952, pp. 5-6), his conception is 
derived from Veronese's Martyrdom of Saints Pri- 
mus and Felicianus, painted for the Abbey of 
Praglia (now in the Museo Civico in Padua), 
while for A. Blunt (1966, p. 67), Titian's Pesaro 
Altarpiece in the church of the Frari in Venice is 
the source. Both critics note that the two putti 
were taken from Titian's Death of Saint Peter Mar- 
tyr (then in Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, but 
since lost), while Stein believes that the figure 
of the soldier on horseback is a reflection of 

Veronese's Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, created 
for the Venetian church of the same name. 

The picture is painted with extraordinary 
sureness: There are very few pentimenti, and the 
pigment is laid on in broad, flat masses, creat- 
ing strong contrasts of light and shadow. The 
recent restoration has revealed an extremely in- 
tense palette that is Venetian in origin — closer 
to that of Veronese than to Titian — but with a 
different tonal accent. In fact, Poussin used al- 
most pure pigments, applied thinly over reddish- 
brown underpainting. It is this ground, exposed 
in the shadows, that gives the painting its warm, 
fiery tonality. The limited palette and the rigor- 
ous formal structure of the composition produce 
an impression of restrained yet expressive 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: R Freart de Chantelou, Journal du voy- 
age du Cavalier Bernin en France (1665), Paris, 1885, pp. 
67, 72, 146; A. Felibien, Entretiens sur les vies et sur les 
ouvrages des plus excellens peintres anciens et modernes 
(1666-85), Paris, 1725, III, p. 227, IV, p. 19; M. Stein, 
"Notes on the Italian Sources of Nicolas Poussin," in 
Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, XXI, 1952, pp. 5-6; A. Blunt, The 
Paintings of Nicolas Poussin. A Critical Catalogue, London, 
1966, pp. 66-68, no. 97; F. Mancinelli, "Nicolas Poussin. 
II Martirio di S. Erasmo," entry in Bernini in Vaticano (exhib. 
cat.), Rome, 1981, pp. 61-62, no. 36. 



BARBIERI), Cento 1591-Bologna 1666 



Oil on canvas 

Height, 86 Vs " (220 cm); width, 78 V 4 " (200 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 391 

This picture was restored in 1982; the face of 
the Magdalene and the background are some- 
what abraded, and the dark colors, particularly, 
were damaged in a previous overcleaning. The 
work was painted for the high altar of a church in 
Rome that was dedicated to Saint Mary Magda- 
lene, the Convertite al Corso. As D. Mahon 
(1968, p. Ill) has pointed out, the painting 
should be dated 1622, when it was engraved by 
G. B. Pasqualini. A. Porcella (1933, p. 196) holds 
that it was executed in 1623, the year in which 
it was registered by Guercino's brother Paolo 
Antonio; however, this date probably refers to a 
subsequent payment. The identity of the patron 
is not recorded. F. Titi (1675; 1763 ed., p. 348) 
speaks of restoration work in the church, which 
had burned in 1617, that was carried out, under 
Paul V (1605-21), by Cardinal Pietro Aldobran- 

dini (died 1621) and his sister Olimpia, so that it 
is possible that the cardinal was also responsible 
for the commission. Until the church was sup- 
pressed — probably during the Napoleonic era — 
the picture remained there; afterward, it was sent 
to the Palazzo del Quirinale, where Camuccini 
restored it. In 1817, it was transferred to the new 
Vatican Pinacoteca and, thus, entered Pius VII' s 
collection (G. and A. D'Este, 1821, p. 38). 

Guercino illustrates the meeting of Mary 
Magdalene and the angels at the empty sepul- 
cher of Christ, an episode based on the Gospel 
of John (20:11-13). Here, however, the subject 
is given a somewhat moralistic, typically post- 
Tridentine interpretation, which is clearly re- 
flected in G. Passeri's description (1772; 1934 
ed., p. 352). He noted that Guercino painted 
Mary Magdalene repenting her vanities and 
errors: the saint kneels on the hard ground and 
laments her faults, while one of the angels as- 
sisting in her penitence presents her with the 
nails with which Christ was crucified; the other 
points to heaven to indicate the true hope for 
her salvation, comforting her. The theme of the 
Magdalene was particularly popular at this time, 
and even had inspired an ode by Cardinal Maffeo 
Barberini, published in Paris in 1618. 

In comparison with other works of this date, 
the Mary Magdalene is closest in style to the artist's 
pre-Roman paintings. Nonetheless, to para- 
phrase Mahon (1968, p. 112), the lighting and 
atmosphere do not dominate the forms as much 
as would previously have been the case; the 
figures do not give the impression of fluidity 
and change, and the pointing gesture of the angel 
has a curiously statue-like stability. Mahon de- 
scribes the effect as somewhat closer to that of a 
bas-relief against a background, rather than that 
of figures fused with their environment. The 
picture, which Passeri (1772; 1934 ed., p. 352) 
thought incomparable, is one of the milestones 
of Guercino's Roman period. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Titi, Descrizione della pitture, sculture e 
architettureespostealpubblico in Roma (1675), Rome, 1763, 
pp. 348-49; G. Passed, Vite de' pittori, scultori, earchitetti, che 
hanno lavorato in Roma, e che sono morti dal 1641 al 1673, 
1772, Hess ed., Leipzig and Vienna, 1934, p. 352; G. and 
A. D'Este, Elenco degli oggetti esistenti ml Museo Vaticano, 
Rome, 1821, p. 38; A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 196; 
N. Barbanti Grimaldi, // Guercino, Bologna, 1968, p. 92; 
D. Mahon, // Guercino. Catalogo critko dei dipinti (exhib. 
cat.), Bologna, 1968, pp. 111-12. 





[Como] 1612-Rome 1666) 

c. 1660 

Oil on canvas 

Height, 53 Vs " (135 cm); width, 39 " (99 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 403 

This picture, which is in perfect condition, was 
restored in 1978. Its provenance is unknown; 
before 1932, when it entered the Pinacoteca, it 
was in the pontifical villa at Castel Gandolfo 
(A. Porcella, 1933, p. 206). Mola depicts Saint 
Jerome listening to the trumpet of the Last 
Judgment, a subject that was first represented 
in the sixteenth century. The saint is seen in half- 
length, three-quarter view, wrapped in — but at 
the same time emerging from — the bulky red 
cloak that is the dominant chromatic element in 
the painting. He grasps a quill in his right hand, 
which rests on the book in which he has been 
writing. Adjacent are three characteristic attri- 
butes: a skull, a cross, and a rosary. The picture is 
broadly painted — note, for example, the cloak — 
and may be a study rather than a finished work. 

Porcella (1933, p. 206) attributed this work 
to Mola, dating it to the period when the artist 
was most influenced by Ribera. He also noted 
that it is close in style to the Saint Jerome in the 
Galleria Barberini. Despite its undoubted quality, 
this painting has attracted little notice. E. Water- 
house (1976, p. 97) considers the attribution 
probable but not certain. There are a number of 
late works by Mola representing Saint Jerome, 
as A. Czobor (cf. "On Some Late Works of Pier 
Francesco Mola," in The Burlington Magazine, 
CX, 1968, figs. 41, 43) has demonstrated; among 
these are two drawings of Saint Jerome listen- 
ing to the trumpet of the Last Judgment — one 
in the Kupferstichkabinett in the Staatliche 
Museen in East Berlin; the other in the Teylers 
Museum in Haarlem. Czobor, like Porcella, 
emphasizes the importance of Ribera's influence 
on Mola — many of whose works were erro- 
neously attributed to the Spanish painter in the 
past. The painting by Ribera that most closely 
resembles, and may in fact have inspired, the 
Vatican picture is the Saint Jerome in the Galleria 
Doria-Pamphili in Rome. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 206; 
E. Waterhouse, Roman Baroque Painting, Oxford, 1976, 
p. 97. 


CARLO MARATTA (Rome 1625-1713) 

Oil on canvas 

Height, 57 Vs " (145 cm); width, 45 "As " (116 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 460 

Formerly in the Rospigliosi Collection, this paint- 
ing was acquired by Louis Mendelssohn of 
Detroit, who donated it to Pius XI on March 8, 
193 1. It is in excellent condition, and was exhib- 
ited in Florence in 1911 (cf. II ritratto italiano, 
entry by C. Gamba, Bergamo, 1927, pp. 25-26) 
and at the Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kultur- 
besitz in Berlin in 1980 (E. Schleier, 1980, pp. 
223-24). Clement IX, who was born Giulio 
Rospigliosi, in 1600, is here portrayed in the last 
year of his life; he died on December 9, 1669. The 
pope is seated on a throne very similar to that 
of Innocent X (1644-55), which is still in the 
pontifical villa at Castel Gandolfo. The pope 
wears the violet camauro, mozzetta, and rochet, 
and holds a book in his right hand; on the table 
to his left is a sheet of paper inscribed with 
Maratta's dedication, which Bellori (c. 1700, in 
M. Piacentini, 1942, pp. 87-88) described as a 
shrewd way of better reconciling himself with 
the pope. The text, which differs slightly from 
what Bellori reported, reads 'Alia Santita di Papa 
Clemente IX da Carlo Maratti." This work was 
not an official portrait, nor was it made for a 
specific location; rather, it was painted in order 
to comply with the pope's wish, as he felt death 
approaching, to sit for his favorite artist. 

According to Bellori, Clement IX asked to see 
Maratta's portrait of the pope's nephew Cardi- 
nal Giacomo Rospigliosi. Maratta, who had just 
finished the picture, brought it to the pontiff, and, 
after Clement had praised it, he asked the painter, 
"When shall we have ours done? " To this pro- 
posal Maratta responded, "Whenever it pleases 
your Holiness." During the Carnival of 1669, 
Maratta began the portrait at the monastery of 
Santa Sabina on the Aventine, to which Clement 
IX had, according to his custom, retired. Work 
on the picture continued until Ash Wednesday, 
but did not proceed smoothly due to the pope's 
precarious health. On one occasion, as Maratta 
was working, Clement grew faint and was in 
danger of falling from his chair; the painter, who 
was alone, had no choice but to rush forward 
and offer him support. Given the pope's failing 
health, only a few sittings were possible, and the 
artist, having finished the face, completed the 
rest of the picture at home. Maratta was for the 
most part occupied with large altarpieces, and 
portrait painting was a relatively minor aspect 
of his oeuvre; nevertheless, he attained very high 
levels of quality, as indicated by the patronage 
accorded him. 

The Portrait of Clement IX is among the finest 
seventeenth-century Roman portraits. The only 
precedents of equivalent quality are Van Dyck's 
Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio and Velazquez's 
Innocent X, which, according to H. Voss (1924, 
p. 599), may have been Maratta's immediate 
source. Schleier (1980, p. 223) finds Velazquez's 

painting more expressive, and superior in its psy- 
chological depth, while Maratta's is distinguished 
by its monumentality and dignity; each captures 
the essence of its subject. In Maratta's portrait the 
chair is less strongly foreshortened, so that the 
diagonal orientation of the figure and his ges- 
ture are emphasized. The artist's conception, and 
the palette that he has chosen, suggest the pope's 
state of physical exhaustion; the characteriza- 
tion is a masterpiece of psychological penetration. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Voss, Die Malerei des Barock in Rom, 
Berlin, 1924, p. 599; A. Porcella, MuseieGalleriePontificie, 
Guida delta Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 233; 
M. Piacentini, he vite inedite del Bellori (c. 1700), I, Rome, 
1942, pp. 87-90; R Bautier, "A propos d'un portrait du 
Pape Clement IX au Musee de Bruxelles," in Pro Arte, V, 
1946, pp. 3-7; A. Mezzetti, "Contributi a Carlo Maratti," 
in Rivista dell'lstituto Nazionaled'Archeologia e Storia dell' Arte, 
n.s., IV, 1955, pp. 296-97, 345, no. 151; Bilder 
vom Menschen (exhib. cat.), entry by E. Schleier, Berlin, 
1980, pp. 223-24, no. 13. 



DONATO CRETI (Cremona 1671-Bologna 



The origin of Creti's astronomical scenes is asso- 
ciated with an unusual but shrewd idea on the 
part of Creti's patron, Count Luigi Ferdinando 
Marsili (1658-1730): with these paintings he 
hoped to convince the Albani pope, Clement 
XI (1700-1721), to support the construction of 
an observatory in Bologna. In 1703, Marsili — a 
soldier, passionate naturalist, and dilettante 
astronomer — had an observatory constructed in 
his own palazzo; he entrusted the operation of 

the observatory, furnished with the most mod- 
ern equipment, to the mathematician Eustachio 
Manfredi (1674-1739). In 1709, Marsili's family, 
opposing his plan to donate the entire complex 
to the city of Bologna, refused to renounce their 
claims to the property. 

Marsili then dismantled the observatory, but 
again he offered the equipment to the Bolognese 
Senate on the condition that the Senate provide 
for the construction of a new observatory and 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 l A " (51. 5 cm); width, 13 } A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 432 

This work was restored in 1973. It represents 
the observation of the sun, which is seen at its 
most brilliant, through a telescope resting on an 
adjustable shelf that is mounted on a stand. One 
of the three astronomers holds a piece of paper 
on which the image of the sun is projected. 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 'A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 % " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 433 

This canvas represents the observation of the 
full moon, seen low on the horizon, with craters 
and seas clearly visible. One of the two astrono- 
mers looks at it through a telescope supported 
on a pedestal. 


furnish a home for the Istituto delle Scienze that 
he had founded. The money needed for the proj- 
ect was lacking in the civic coffers, and, since 
Bologna was under pontifical authority, the Sen- 
ate decided to seek from the pope not only his 
approval but also the necessary means to imple- 
ment the work. Marsili decided to send the pope 
the plans and documentation, as well as a visual 
demonstration of the discoveries of such an as- 
tronomical observatory. Creti, then at the height 

of his fame, thus was commissioned to paint 
eight landscapes to which, following Manfredi's 
instructions, the miniaturist Raimondo Manzini 
would add the five planets then known, the sun, 
the moon, and a comet; these would be shown 
as if seen through a telescope — which explains 
their abnormal dimensions with respect to the 
landscape. In addition, Creti would depict as- 
tronomers working with the equipment to be 
housed in the new observatory. 

Manfredi advised the count, in a letter of 
August 30, 1711, that Creti had begun work. 
Toward the end of the year he finished the 
paintings, for, shortly afterward, Marsili brought 
them to Rome. He obtained the support he was 
hoping for (although the pope did not approve 
another project that he had sponsored — a plan 
for geographic reform). On January 11, 1712, 
the count donated to the city his natural history 
specimens and scientific instruments; in 1714, 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 3 A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 437 

This picture was restored in 1973. It represents 
the nighttime observation of Jupiter by two 
astronomers; next to them is a long telescope 
raised on a standard. On the surface of the planet 
are the six major bands and, above the center, 
the great red spot as it appears in a refracting 
telescope; three of Jupiter's moons, aligned on 
the same plane, are also visible. 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 'A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 3 A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 438 

This painting represents the observation of 
Saturn. Although the setting is a daylight land- 
scape, in reality, Saturn is only visible at night. 
In the middle ground are the astronomers, next 
to a tall standard at the top of which is a hori- 
zontal bar used to hold an aerial telescope with- 
out tubes. The kneeling man looks through a 
tubular instrument, probably part of the aerial 
telescope. Saturn is represented imprecisely and 
with only one ring. 


the Istituto was established in the Palazzo Poggi 
(with Manfredi as director), and, in 1725, con- 
struction was completed on the adjoining ob- 
servatory, which was designed by G. A. Torri. 

The eight Astronomical Observations document 
the results of Creti's study of Venetian painting, 
and of the work of Marco Ricci. As R. Roli notes 
(1979, p. 59), Creti gives more than a pre- 
Enlightenment report on astronomical instru- 

ments: he also records a fascinating situation. 
In the transition from preparatory drawing to 
finished painting, Manfredi's instruments are di- 
minished in prominence as they are absorbed 
into the landscape; this certainly did not meet 
with the astronomer's approval, but, rather, with 
the patron's and the pope's. After their presenta- 
tion to Clement XI, the Astronomical Observations 
remained in the Vatican, where they may have 

decorated the pontifical apartments. At the be- 
ginning of the twentieth century, they were at 
Castel Gandolfo and, in 1932, when the Pinaco- 
teca finally opened its doors to eighteenth- 
century paintings, the pictures became part of the 
gallery of Pius XI. All were exhibited in Bologna 
in 1979; Jupiter and The Moon were also exhib- 
ited in Bordeaux in 1959. 





Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 ! A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 3 A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 435 

This work was restored and transferred to canvas 
in 1969. It represents the observation of Venus 
at dawn, with two astronomers occupying the 
middle ground. Next to them, partially hidden 
by a tree, is a quadrant supported on a pedestal. 



Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 'A " (51. 5 cm); width, 13 } A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 436 

The painting was restored in 1973. Despite the 
very clear sky, it represents the nocturnal obser- 
vation of Mars. Slightly more than half of the 
planet is visible. The apparatus used in the ob- 
servation appears at the edge of the painting, 
next to the three astronomers. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, pp. 
223-24; La dkouverte de la lumiere des Primitifs aux 
Impressionistes (exhib. cat.), entries by G. Martin-Mery, 
Bordeaux, 1959, p. 78, nos. 147-48; R. Roli, Donato Creti, 
Milan, 1967, pp. 31-32, 96, nos. 83-90; L Arte del Settecento 
Emiliano. La pittura (exhib. cat.), entry by R. Roli, Bologna, 
1979, p. 59, nos. 92-99; S. A. Bedini, "The Vatican's As- 
tronomical Paintings," in Proceedings of the Eleventh Lunar 
and Planetary Science Conference, I, 1980, pp. xiii-xxiii. 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 'A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 3 A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 434 

The painting represents the observation of 
Mercury, of which slightly more than half can 
be seen. In the foreground, two astronomers are 
engaged in discussion; next to them is a quad- 
rant raised on a pedestal. 




Oil on canvas 

Height, 20 >A " (51.5 cm); width, 13 >A " (35 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 439 

This work was transferred to canvas and restored 
in 1969. It depicts the passage of a comet, a 
phenomenon unnoticed by the woman seated 
in the foreground. The representation of the heav- 
enly body is not based on direct observation by 
the miniaturist; the comet was probably drawn 
from sketches that Manfredi made during the 
passage of two comets in 1702. 






c. 1735-40 
Oil on canvas 

Height, 23 'A" (59 cm); width, 11 Vie " (44 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 388 

This canvas was restored in 1982; in a previous 
cleaning the surface had been abraded and the 
fingers of the Madonna's right hand severely 
damaged. The painting was first exhibited in 
the seventeenth-century room in the Pinacoteca 
in 1924-25 (B. Biagetti, 1924-25, p. 483); it 
came from the collection of the Cherubini - 
Menchetti family, who may have given it to Pius 
XI in 1923, at the time that the pope granted 
them a noble title. 

X-radiographs taken during the most recent 
restoration show that Crespi originally conceived 
the composition in a slightly different manner; 
in the finished picture Joseph holds a cane, while 
in the preliminary version he raised the Madon- 
na's veil, probably to better illuminate her weep - 
ing face. The Madonna with the Sleeping Child 
in the Tinozzi Collection in Bologna is similar 
in composition, although it is limited to only 
two figures (M. Pajes Merriman, 1980, fig. 31). 
The theme of the Holy Family was often treated 
by Crespi between 1720 and 1740. The Vatican 
picture, small in dimensions and with only three 

figures, seems to be one of the later versions, 
datable between 1735 and 1740 (M. Pajes 
Merriman, 1980, pp. 256-57). Crespi focuses 
on the sorrowful meditation of the Virgin as she 
contemplates the future of her Son. He holds a 
cross, the symbol of his sacrifice, and raises his 
right hand to caress his mother affectionately; 
behind them, Joseph, an indistinct presence, 
emerges from the shadows. 

The melancholy mood is underscored by the 
Virgin's gesture and by the dramatic use of light. 
Here, the illumination comes from two sources, 
much as in the contemporary Lamentation 
beneath the Cross(d. M. Pajes Merriman, 1980, 
fig. 63). The cross held by the infant Jesus is a 
post-Tridentine motif that was often employed 
in Emilian painting of the late sixteenth century. 
Crespi uses it in his small oval Holy Family in 
Ascoli Piceno, as well, but there it appears as a 
shining object without the tragic overtones of 
the Vatican canvas. Another oval picture that 
faithfully repeats many details of the Vatican 
painting was published by F. Arcangeli ("Due 
inediti di G. M. Crespi," in Paragone, III, no. 25, 
1952, pp. 46-47, pi. 30) as a work by Crespi; it 
is thought by M. Pajes Merriman (1980, p. 257) 
to be by his workshop. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Biagetti, "Relazione IV," in Rmdkonti 
della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, III, 
1924-25, p. 483; A. Porcella, Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Guida della Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City, 1933, p. 194; 
La dkouverte de la lumiere des Primitifs awe Impressionistes 
(exhib. cat.), entry by G. Martin-Miry, Bordeaux, 1959, 
p. 32, no. 59; M. Pajes Merriman, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, 
Milan, 1980, pp. 256-57, no. 76. 



Oil on canvas 

Height, 102 % " (260 cm); width, 70 % " (180 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 458 

This canvas, which was lined and restored in 
1981, had suffered three tears, two in the lower 
part and one above the right shoulder of the 
pope; these were repaired long ago by patching 
the reverse side. Before cleaning, the painting 
was in excellent condition, although the surface 
was clouded by oxidation. With cleaning it has 
regained its original freshness. 

Crespi depicts Benedict XIV (Lambertini; bom 
1675, died 1758), founder of the Museo Sacro 
(1756) in the Vatican Library and of the Galleria 
Lapidaria, an enlightened pontiff whom the 
painter knew well. Benedict wears a white 
rochet, a deep-red mozzetta, and a papal stole 
and camauro. He has just gotten up from his 
worktable, on which are a book, papers, ink- 
wells, a triple-crown tiara — another papal 
emblem — and a sketch of an altar with an altar- 
piece of the Madonna and Child, a kneeling 
saint, and angels. A figure in a cassock lifts a 
curtain, revealing bookshelves containing the 
volumes of Lambertini's work on canonization, 
and, on one shelf, several open books and the 
plan for a public building. The sketch and the 
plan probably refer to projects completed in Bo- 
logna while Lambertini was cardinal: the resto- 
ration of the Seminario Maggiore; and Donato 
Creti's altarpiece for Saint Peter's, which he him- 
self may have commissioned, as Elisabeth Kieven 
has suggested. 

The portrait was discovered in 1932 by A. 
Porcella in the Sala dei Foconi of the Vatican 
palace and exhibited in the Pinacoteca that year; 
it is among the best-documented paintings in 
the collection, for Crespi's son Luigi recounts its 
history in his Vite de' pittori bolognesi . . . (1771, 
pp. 219-20), the details of which are confirmed 
by the correspondence among Crespi, the pope, 
and his secretary of state, Cardinal Valenti Gon- 
zaga (T. Valenti, 1938, pp. 15-31). The portrait 
had been commissioned by Lambertini, perhaps 
in 1739, for the Seminario Maggiore. A splen- 
did sketch, which is generally dated 1739, in 
the Collezioni Comunali d'Arte in Bologna (M. 
Pajes Merriman, 1980, p. 288), shows him in 
skullcap, white mozzetta, rochet, red surplice, 
and cappa magna, with the square red cardinal's 
biretta on the table. When, on August 17, 1740, 
Lambertini became pope, the vice-legate of Bo- 
logna asked if the portrait should remain in the 
seminary or follow Lambertini to Rome. On Sep- 
tember 10, Crespi wrote for instructions, letting 
it be known that he preferred the second solution, 
if only because he hoped to gain favor for him- 
self and his family. Initially, Benedict was against 
this, and his opinion was conveyed to Crespi by 
Cardinal Gonzaga on September 24; at the begin- 
ning of October, however, once Benedict heard 
that the painting was still in the studio of the 
artist, who was dressing it like a pope (T. Valenti, 


1938, p. 24), the pontiff decided to have the 
portrait brought to Rome. On October 26, it was 
finished and dispatched and, on November 2, 
Benedict asked Valenti to inform Crespi of the 
pope' s satisfaction with it, and of his nomina- 
tion as painter to the pope. Benedict also prom- 
ised to find a position for Crespi's son Luigi. 

The documentation concerning the portrait 
has been confirmed by the X-radiographs made 
during its restoration, which revealed that two 
preliminary versions preceded the definitive one. 
At first, the portrait was almost identical to the 
sketch. In the intermediate stage, Crespi enlarged 
the chair, adorning it with moldings and a tiara 
with the papal keys, and replaced the biretta 
with the triregnum. It is not clear whether the 

substitution of the skullcap with the camauro 
was the only change in the pope's clothing. 
Finally, Crespi effected a much more radical 
transformation by enlarging the dimensions of 
the figure and further modifying the furnishings 
and the clothing. In consequence, he heightened 
the monumentality of the portrait and isolated 
the pontiff at the center, endowing his sitter with 
authority equal to his new position. Crespi em- 
ploys a carefully modulated series of soft brown 
and red tones, which give the whole an appro- 
priate solemnity. The focal point is the intensely 
expressive, thoughtful face of the pope, which 
has as its counterpart the sharply characterized 
profile — presumably a portrait — of his attendant. 
The objects that surround Benedict XIV convey 

his cultivated and refined nature, and the whole 
is rendered with an ease of expression in broad, 
sure brushstrokes — a testimony to the artist's 
vitality, even in the last years of his life. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Crespi, Vite de' pittori bolognesi non 
descrittenella "Felsinapittrice," Bologna, 1771, pp. 219-20; 
A. Porcella, "Un portrait de Benoit XIV a la Pinacotheque 
Vaticane," in Illustrazione Vaticana, III, 1932, pp. 655-57; 
T. Valenti, "Benedetto XIV e Giuseppe Maria Crespi detto 
'lo Spagnolo,' pittore bolognese," in L'Archiginnasio, 
XXXIII, 1938, pp. 15-31; R. Roli, Pittura bolognese 1650- 
1800: Dal Cignani ai Gandolfi, Bologna, 1977, p. 171; M. 
Pajes Merriman, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, Milan, 1980, pp. 
288-89, no. 190. 



POMPEO BATONI (Lucca 1708-Rome 1787) 



Oil on canvas 

Height, 54 Vs " (138 cm); width, 37 'Vie" (96 cm) 
Pinacoteca, Inv. no. 455 

This picture, restored in 1975, is in excellent con- 
dition. It comes from the storerooms of the 
Floreria Apostolica and was first exhibited in the 
Pinacoteca in 1932; it may always have been part 
of the pontifical collections. The portrait repre- 
sents the Braschi pope, Pius VI (1717-1799), who 
was responsible for the completion of the Museo 
Clementino and the creation of the first Vatican 
Pinacoteca. The pope is seated on a throne dec- 
orated with his coat of arms; he wears a rochet, 
mozzetta, and stole, and a white cap — Pius VI 
was the first pope portrayed in this dress — with- 
out the camauro, which is on the adjacent table, 
next to a large clock of polychromed porcelain. 
The painting is a sketch, although the clock 

was executed carefully with attention to detail. 
An identical but more highly finished version 
(in the Museo di Roma) is inscribed by the artist: 
Alia Santita di N.ro Sig.re Papa Pio VI Per P 
Batoni Pinxit 1775. The attribution of the Vati- 
can picture to Batoni is therefore also assured 
(formerly the work had been given to Anton 
Raphael Mengs), as is the date, 1775 — the year 
of Pius VI's election as pope. A replica is in the 
Galleria Sabauda in Turin and another version 
is in the Muzeum Narodowe in Warsaw. The 
fresh, sketch-like quality and the high level of 
execution of the Vatican picture suggest — as 
noted by G. Incisa della Rocchetta (1957, p. 
4) — that this was the portrait that Batoni paint- 
ed from life, and that it became the model for 
various replicas, which are attributable either to 
the artist himself, or to his workshop. With such 
portraits Batoni achieved popular success in his 
own time; the technique — precise and elegant, 
yet rather cold — is typical of his style. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Incisa della Rocchetta, "II ritratto di 
Pio VI del Batoni al Museo di Roma," in Bollettino dei 
Musei Comunali di Roma, IV, 1957, pp. 1-4; Mostra di Pompeo 
Batoni (exhib. cat.), entry by I. Belli Barsali, Lucca, 1967, 
p. 160. 



The history of the collections of the Museo 
Gregoriano Egizio is intricately linked with two 
waves of Egyptomania that occurred about two 
thousand years apart. The first of these waves 
reached the shores of Italy during the time of 
the Roman Republic and continued well into 
the period of the Roman Empire. Among those fascinated by 
Egypt's charms were the poet Catullus, the rogue Clodius, 
and the general Pompey. 

Repeatedly, during the first century B.C., the Oriental 
cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis was officially banned in 
Rome, only to become public again. The conflict between 
Republican mores and imported Orientalism came to a head 
at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., when the Roman forces of 
Octavian, the future Emperor Augustus (27 b.c.-a.d. 14), 
collided with the might of Egypt, led by Cleopatra VII and her 
paramour, Mark Antony. Despite Cleopatra's defeat, many 
Roman citizens remained enthralled with Egypt. The poet 
Propertius, writing during the principate of Augustus, created 
an intensely personal poem about his feelings toward the 
cult of Isis. Augustus himself, who banned Egyptian culture 
in an attempt to eradicate the memory of Mark Antony, 
nevertheless was responsible for removing obelisks and 
other monuments from Egypt, transporting them across the 
Mediterranean Sea, and reerecting them in the Eternal City. 

Augustus's lead was followed by other Roman emperors, 
notably the Flavian Domitian (a.d. 81-96), whose villa at 
Paola Lagoon and temple at Beneventum were adorned with 
objects imported from Egypt and with Roman works made 
in an Egyptianizing fashion. Domitian's passion was surpassed 
only by that of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (a.d. 117-38), 
who constructed the Canopus, an architectural complex that 
was a personal evocation of the Egypt that he loved, as part 
of his villa near Tivoli. 

The Fall of Rome in the fourth century, the concomitant 
rise of Christianity, and the gradual abandonment of ancient 
sites in Italy contributed to a break with the traditions of 

Egypt in the West. Egyptian monuments in Italy remained 
under the earth until they were discovered in modern times, 
giving birth to the science of Egyptology. 

That birth was spectacularly assisted by the Frenchman 
Jean Francois Champollion, who in 1818 announced that 
he had deciphered the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, based 
on the texts found on the Rosetta Stone. It was Champollion's 
subsequent relationship with the Holy See that inaugurated 
the second wave of Roman Egyptomania and paved the way 
for the founding of the Museo Gregoriano Egizio. 

This relationship began with Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) 
and Pope Leo XII (1823-29). Under their pontificates, the 
Vatican acquired a collection of Egyptian papyri from the 
Franciscan missionary Angelo da Pofi and from Giovanni 
Battista Belzoni, a circus strongman turned adventurer who 
was the first European, in 1817, to enter the burial chamber 
of the pyramid of Chephren at Giza and who, that same 
year, discovered the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings. 
The care of the papyrus collection was entrusted to Angelo 
Mai (1782-1854), Prefect of the Vatican Library. Aware of 
Champollion's theories, Mai invited him to Rome to work 
on the papyri at a time when antagonism toward the 
Frenchman was strongest. Abbot Michelangelo Lanci 
(1779-1867) condemned Champollion's findings as false 
since, in the abbot's opinion, they contradicted the Bible. 
Notwithstanding the protestations of Lanci, Champollion 
studied the Vatican papyri, and, in the spring of 1825, he 
was summoned to an audience with Pope Leo XII. 

The farsighted Mai used his newly formed friendship 
with Champollion to advantage, and the Frenchman was 
soon introduced to both the enthusiastic young Orientalist 
Ippolito Rosellini (1800-1843) and the Barnabite Father 
Luigi Maria Ungarelli (1779-1845), an accomplished 
philologist. In 1828, Champollion and Rosellini embarked 
on a joint Franco-Italian archaeological survey in Egypt, 
eventually publishing their results in the opus / monumenti 
dell'Egitto e della Nubia (5 vols., Pisa, 1832-44). 



At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Ca- 
maldolese monk Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari (1765-1846) 
was in residence at the Curia Romana, the central admin- 
istrative body of the Catholic Church, and, in 1826, he was 
appointed by Pope Leo XII to the post of Cardinal and 
Prefect of Propaganda Fide. Mauro, as Cappellari was named, 
was renowned for his intelligence and for his open-mindedness 
on many of the issues of the day, both secular and clerical. 
Having attentively followed the early disputes between 
Champollion and his detractors, Mauro developed a passion 
for Egyptology. On February 12, 1831, he was elected pope 
and took the name Gregory XVI. His fascination with 
Egyptology, along with his interest in the humanities in 
general — spawned by the controversial theological implica- 
tions of the latest Egyptological scholarship — imbued him 
with a keen desire to build several archaeological collections 
that would enhance the public's understanding of the Bible. 

On February 2, 1837, Gregory XVI founded the Museo 
Etrusco in the Vatican. He also conceived of a similar museum 
for Egyptian antiquities, and he asked Rosellini to assist him 
in its establishment. Rosellini, preoccupied with the work 
of the Franco-Italian expedition, declined the offer, but he 
highly recommended Ungarelli. As a result, Ungarelli was 
appointed curator of the soon-to-be-opened Museo Egizio, 
along with Giuseppe Fabris, who was at that time director 
general of the Vatican Museums. Ungarelli and Fabris, in 
consultation with Gregory XVI, planned and designed the 
exhibition space. The objects to be housed and shown in the 
new museum were to come from various collections in and 
around Rome that were familiar to the pope. 

The core of the Egyptian museum's collections came 
from the Vatican's own holdings, established by Pope Clem- 
ent XIV (1769-74) and enriched by Pius VI (1775-99). In- 
cluded were Egyptian objects that had been discovered at the 
ancient Roman sites of Paola Lagoon and Hadrian's Villa 
near Tivoli. These were augmented by purchases from Carlo 
De Assule of Izmir and by objects from the basement of the 

Biblioteca Casanatense, as well as from the Villa Borghese 
and the Villa Farnesina. A small but significant number of 
pieces came from the Museo Kircheriano, which had been 
founded by the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher ( 1601 -1680) . 
Kircher contributed to the progress of Egyptology with his 
brilliant suggestion that the Coptic language used by the Early 
Christians in ancient Egypt was a very late stage of the hiero- 
glyphic language. Further purchases were made for the Egyp- 
tian museum on the Italian art market. Both Pope Pius VII 
and Pope Leo XII, for example, bought objects from the anti- 
quarians Filippo and Pietro Cavazzi, Giuseppe Basseggio, and 
Silvestro Guidi. 

With a substantial collection already in the possession 
of the Vatican, Gregory XVI arranged for the transfer of addi- 
tional Egyptian objects from the Capitoline museums, the 
Horti Sallustiani on the Pincio, and the Temple of Isis in the 
Campus Martius. The continued explorations at Hadrian's 
Villa yielded even more finds, and further purchases, among 
them those made in Egypt by Guidi, rounded out the 
museum's holdings (fig. 37). 

The systematic acquisition of available works of art, and 
a competent staff headed by Ungarelli and Fabris, made it 
possible for the Vatican's Museo Egizio, with its newly de- 
signed space, to be opened by Pope Gregory XVI in February 
1839. Known today as the Museo Gregoriano Egizio, in honor 
of its guiding spirit, the museum was the first in Europe to be 
established solely for the purposes of displaying and promot- 
ing an understanding of Egyptian art. It is a fitting tribute to 
Gregory XVI that some of the objects that he personally se- 
lected for the Vatican's collections were included in the Ameri- 
can exhibition. . . „ 

Christian Sturtewagen, S.J., 

and Robert S. Bianchi 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 0. Marucchi, // Museo Egizio Vaticano, Rome, 1899; Miscellanea 
Gregoriana, Vatican City, 1941; G. Botti and R Romanelli, Lesculture del Museo Gregoriano 
Egizio, Vatican City, 1951; M. Malaise, Inventaire preliminaire des documents egyptiens 
dkouverts en Italie, Leiden, 1972; A. Roullet, The Egyptian and Egyptianizing Monu- 
ments of Imperial Rome, Leiden, 1972. 




Dynasty XXX (380-342 b. c); reign of Nectanebo I 

(380-362 B.C.) 
Nepi (?), township of Latium 
Black granite 
Height, 31 W (80 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Inv. no. 22671 

Nectanebo I was the founder of Egypt's last na- 
tive dynasty, the Thirtieth. He secured his nation's 
frontiers and ensured peace and prosperity by 
defeating the combined forces of Persia, com- 
manded by Phamabazus, and Greek mercenaries, 
led by Iphikrates. The reign of Nectanebo I in- 
augurated a flowering of the arts, especially 
sculpture in the round, as exemplified by this 

The torso is damaged on the right side, and 
the limbs and the head are lost. The modeling is 
strong, carefully executed, and lively. Tradition- 
ally, Egyptian craftsmen rendered the male torso 
in bipartition, focusing on the pectoral and lower 
abdominal regions while glossing over the rib- 
cage area in between. Here, however, the torso 
is modeled in tripartition, with each of the three 
component elements — pectoral region, rib- 
cage, and lower abdomen — clearly defined by 
merging planes that are particularly evident 
along the body's symmetrical axis and in the 
treatment of the teardrop- shaped navel. Such 
tripartition is infrequently encountered in early 
Egyptian sculpture but becomes more firmly 
established in the art of Dynasty XXVI (664- 
525 b.c). In an attempt to rediscover their heri- 
tage, the artists of Dynasty XXX used sculptures 
from Dynasty XXVI as their models. This archa- 
istic tendency kept artistic traditions alive and 
provided Nectanebo I with a sculptural vocabu- 
lary, based on Egyptian classical norms, that vi- 
sually linked his creations — and, by extension, 
his political policies — to the glorious achieve- 
ments of Dynasty XXVI. 

The torso is not merely a shallow evocation 
of the past. The pleating of the kilt is innovatively 
treated as a series of sharply ribbed scallops — a 
stylistic feature peculiar to Dynasty XXX. The 
belt represents a beaded web with a buckle 
shaped like a cartouche, or royal ring, and con- 
tains the hieroglyphs for the king's name. The 
treatment of the buttocks and of the thighs 
emerging from beneath the kilt attests to the 
artist's skill in revealing flesh beneath fabric. The 
inscriptions on the back pillar, which displays 
the names and partially preserved titles of 
Nectanebo I, translate as: "The Horus, The One 
Strong of Arm, The One Who Belongs to the 
Two Ladies, The One Who Makes Flourish the 
Two Lands, The Horus of Gold, The One Be- 
loved of the Eye of the Gods, The King of Upper 
and of Lower Egypt, Kheper-ka-ra, The Son of 
Ra, Nectanebo I." 

The provenance of this torso is not known. It 
was donated by the township of Latium to Pope 
Gregory XVI in 1838, one year before the Vati- 
can's Egyptian museum was opened. 

C.S., R.S.B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Botti and F Romanelli, Le sculture 
del Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Vatican City, 1951, pp. 10-12; 
J. J. Gere, "A propos de l'ordre de succession des rois de 
la XXX 1 ' dynastie," in Revue d'Egyptologie, 8, 195 1, pp. 25-29; 
C. Pietrangeli, "La provenienza dei monumenti del Museo 
Egizio Vaticano," in G. Botti and P. Romanelli, op. cit., p. 
136, n. 21; W. C. Hayes, The Scepter of Egypt, I, New York, 
1953, p. 180, fig. 110; B. V. Bothmer, H, De Meulenaere, 
and H.W. Miiller, Egyptian Sculpture of the Late Period, 
Brooklyn, 1960, pp. xxxv, 10, 20, 54, 60, 68, 94, 95-96, 
102, 103, 105, 112, 114-16, 127, 177; H. De Meulenaere, 
"Une Statue de pretre heliopolitan," in Bulletin de llnstitut 
Francais d'Arche'ologie Orientale, 61, 1962, p. 39; E. 

Bresciani, "Egypt and the Persian Empire," in The Greeks 
and Persians, trans. P. Johnson, ed. H. Bengston, New York, 
1968, pp. 348-49; B. V. Bothmer, "Apotheosis in Late Egyp- 
tian Sculpture," in Kemi, 20, 1970, pp. 46-47; C. Vander- 
sleyen, Das alte Aegypten, Berlin, 1975, pp. 261-63; R. S. 
Bianchi, "Ex-Votos of Dynasty XXVI," in Mitteilungen des 
Deutschen Archdologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 35, 

1979, p. 15; C. Aldred, "Statuaire," in L'Egypte du crepuscule, 
ed. J. Leclant, Paris, 1980, pp. 156-60; H. De Meulenaere, 
"Nektanebo I," in Lexikon der Aegyptologie, 4, Wiesbaden, 

1980, pp. 450-51; W. Stevenson Smith, The Art and Ar- 
chitecture of Ancient Egypt.ed. W. Kelly Simpson, 2nd rev. ed., 
New York, 1981, pp. 418-22. 




Dynasty XXX (380-342 b. c); reign of Nectanebo I 

(380-362 B.C.) 
Originally from Tell Baqliya, Egypt; discovered at 

the Pantheon in Rome 
Gray granite with red veining 
Height, each, 28 VS (73 cm); width (A), 72 %" 

(185 cm), (B), 77 Vi" (197 cm); depth, each, 

9 Vie" (24 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Inv. nos. 22676, 22677 

From very early times the lion symbolized might 
and power to the ancient Egyptians, character- 
istics that made it an eminently suitable motif 
to adorn the entrances to temples, where it func- 
tioned as a formidable guardian, warding off 
evil from the sacred precincts. Recent investiga- 
tions suggest that the Vatican lions originally 
were erected before the gateway to a temple at 
the site of Tell Baqliya, in honor of Nectanebo 
I, for whom they are inscribed. It is assumed 
that both lions were subsequently transported 
to Rome, possibly by order of the Emperor 
Augustus. The lions were later installed in front 
of the Pantheon, where they were discovered in 
the twelfth century. In 1586, they were trans- 
ferred to the fountain of the Acqua Felice, remain- 
ing there until Pope Gregory XVI removed them 
to the Vatican's Museo Egizio. During the nine- 
teenth century, the lions frequently were copied 
in the West, where they had been long known 
and greatly admired. As early as the thirteenth 
century, they had been used in Rome as models 
for the various lions carved by the Cosmati; in 
1865, replicas of the Vatican lions decorated the 
Fontaine des Innocents in Paris. 

A matched set, the lions are mirror images of 
each other. They represent the high level of artis- 
tic achievement that occurred under Nectanebo 
I, whose craftsmen, in accord with the archaistic 
tendencies of the time, selected a prototype that 
is best exemplified by the earlier Prudhoe lions, 
now in the British Museum. As with the torso 
of Nectanebo I (see cat. no. 94), these lions are 
not shallow reflections of the prototype. They 
combine naturalistic detail with an abstract 
compositional framework that resembles that of 
the Prudhoe lions. Each lion's pose is an ac- 
centuated C-shaped curve, the head and rear 
haunches pulled forward toward the front of the 
plinth. This arrangement is best appreciated by 
viewing the lions from above. Their heads are 
rendered in frontal view and the forepaws are 
crossed, as are those of the Prudhoe lions. 
Whereas on the Prudhoe lions the rear paws lie 
flat, here they are drawn up next to the animals' 
bodies and their undersides can be seen. The 
tails, which rest in front of the plinths, act as 
compositional devices directing the spectator's 
gaze along the gateway's main axis. Originally, 
the lions would have been erected flanking that 
axis, with their heads juxtaposed. 

Within this abstract arrangement, the sculp- 
tors have drawn certain details from nature. The 
inverted pear shape of the lion's head, which is 
framed by incisions delineating the mane and 
the tuft of fur at the top; the modeling of the 

musculature of ihe paws; the representation of 
the rib-cage area; and the treatment and place- 
ment of the genitals are handled far more natu- 
ralistically than in their counterparts on the 
Prudhoe lions. Both the tail and the shen-sign 
project into the spectator's space. The shen-sign, 
which represents the cartouche, or royal ring, 
in its original circular form, is depicted in relief 
on the top and the side of the plinth, and ap- 
pears to be kept from falling by the lion's upper 
paw. Such an interest in the third dimension is 
parallel to, but quite independent of, the treat- 
ment of space in the works of the classical sculp- 
tors of the fourth century b.c. 

The inscriptions around the plinth of lion (A) 
read: "The Living Honus, The One Strong of Ann, 

The One Who Belongs to the Two Ladies, The 
One Who Causes the Two Lands to Flourish, 
The Horus of Gold, The One Who Does That 
Which the Gods Love, The King of Upper and 
of Lower Egypt, The Lord of the Two Lands, 
Kheper-ka-ra, The Son of Ra, The Lord of the 
Diadems, Nectanebo, May He Live Eternally, 
The One Who Is Beloved of the God Ptah in the 
City of Rehwey" — a shortened version of which 
is found around the plinth of the other lion, 

C. S>, R.S.B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Sculpture 
in the British Museum, London, 1914, pi. XXV; G. Rocder, 
"Freie RundbiSder von Lowen aus Aegypten," in Miscellanea 
Gregoriana, Vatican City, 1941, pp. 179-92; U Schweitzer, 
Lowe und Sphinx im alten Aegypten. Gliickstadt, 1948; G. 
Botti and R Romandli, Le sculiure del Museo Gregoriano 
Bgizto. Vatican City, 1951, pp. 14-18; C. Pietrangeli, "La 
provenienza dei monumenti del Museo Egizio Vaticano," 
in G. Botti and P. Romanelli, op. dt, p. 136, notes 26, 27; 
H. W. Miiller, "Lowcnskulpiuren In der Aegyptisehen 
Sammlung des Bayerischen Staues," it) Miinchner Jahr- 
buch der bildenden Kunst. 16, 1965. pp. 7-46; P. Humbert, 
"Les Monuments egyptiens et egyptisants de Paris," in 
Bulletin de la Societe Francaise d'Egyptologie, 62, 1971, pp. 
9-29; A. Roullet, The Egyptian and Egyptianizing Monu- 
ments of Imperial Rome, Leiden, 1972, pp. I 3 1-32; A. 
Eggebrecht, "Baklija," in Lex ikon der Aegypwlogie, !, 
Wiesbaden, 1975, p. 606; R.S. Bianchi, "Two Ex-Votos 
from the Scbennytic Group," in The Society for the Study 
of Egyptian Antiquities Journal, II, 1981, pp. 31-36; C. De 
Wit, Le Role et le sens du lion dans I'Egypte ana'enne. 2nd 
ed., Luxor, n.d.; A.-E Zivie, Hermopolis et le name de I'ibis, 
Cairo, n.d., pp. 122—26. 



Late Dynastic period (656-332 b. c.)- Early Ptolemaic 

period (332-250 b. c.) 
From the Collection of Francesco Piranesi 
Dark granite with red veining 
Height, 29 n A 6 " (76cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Inv. no. 22808 

As early as the Badarian culture (4000-3600 
b.c.) of predynastic Egypt, the ancient Egyptians 
interred bovines in their cemeteries, very often 
alongside human corpses. Although the char- 
acter of Egyptian bull cults changed over time, 
by the Late Dynastic period the cult of Apis had 
eclipsed all others. Shortly thereafter, adherents 
of the cult could be found throughout the cities 
of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. 

The Egyptians' great attraction to Apis was 
rooted in the bull's fecundity and generative 

powers, which, when transferred to the deceased, 
would help to ensure his or her rebirth in the here- 
after. From the Ramesside period (1320-1085 
b.c.) on, the Apis bull was associated with the 
god Ptah of Memphis and came to be regarded 
as his earthly manifestation. As time passed, the 
idea that Apis had a regenerative nature was 
reinforced by other Egyptian myths, which linked 
Apis with Osiris, the preeminent god of the dead. 
In those tales, the goddess Isis was assisted by 
Apis when she collected the dismembered re- 
mains of her husband, Osiris, whose body had 
been mutilated by the Typhonic deity Seth. The 
association between Osiris and Apis was fur- 
ther reinforced when the cults of Ptah-Sokar- 
Osiris and Osiris-Apis were introduced by the 
Egyptians themselves and, somewhat later, by 
the Ptolemies. 

Beginning in the Ramesside period, when an 
Apis bull died it was accorded honors similar 
to those bestowed upon a deceased pharaoh. 
The bulls were buried at Memphis in the Serape- 
um, a vast system of catacombs cut into the 
limestone beneath the desert sands that still can 
be visited. Immediately after the death of an Apis, 
a committee of priests was appointed to search 
Egypt for its successor, which was required to 
exhibit twenty-nine characteristics. Among these 
were a rich black coat intermingled with white 
patches, and a triangular blaze on the forehead. 
Once selected, the new Apis was enthroned in 
his own palace, or Sikos, located to the south of 
the temple of Ptah at Memphis. 

This statue is a composite figure, a deity with 
a bull's head joined to a human male torso. Be- 
tween the homs is a sun disk, the top of which 
is chipped. The deity wears a broad collar and a 
kilt and holds a straight staff, or was-scepter, 
surmounted by the head of an animal and sym- 
bolizing the concepts of dominion and lordship. 
Although it is not inscribed, the statue probably 
represents an Apis bull. 

The dating of stone sculptures of deities, dif- 
ficult because there are so few for comparison, 
is especially problematic in this case because 
almost all depictions of Apis show him as a 
striding bull rather than as an erect anthropo- 
morphic figure. The stylistic peculiarities evident 
in the kilt and in the treatment of the belt as a 
pleated sash — with the pleats drawn close to- 
gether at the buckle — are inconclusive as dating 
criteria because these features also appear in 
representations of a falcon-headed deity as- 
signed to Dynasty XIX (1320-1200 b.c.) and of 
a jackal -headed deity attributed to the Late Dy- 
nastic period. On the other hand, the polished 
surface, proportions of the head to the body, and 
modeling of the torso conform to what is known 
of the art of the Late Dynastic period and reflect 
the canons of Dynasty XXX. These observations 
are consistent with the fact that Apis has been 
represented in a relief of the Late Dynastic or 
Early Ptolemaic period as a bovine-headed, strid- 
ing male figure holding a uw-scepter. The avail- 
able evidence substantiates a date between 650 
and 250 b.c. for this sculpture. 

The statue was acquired in 1779 by Francesco 
Piranesi, who, like his more famous father, 
Giovanni Battista, strove to provide alternatives 
to the predominantly classical tastes of his age. 
He later sold the statue to the Vatican's Egyp- 
tian museum. 

C.S., R. S.B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Daressy, Statues dedivinites, I, II, Cairo, 
1906, p. 138, no. 38517, pi. XXX; C. Boreux, Aniiquiies 
egyptiennes: Catalogue-guide, I, Paris, 1932, p. 172; G. Botti 
and P. Romanclli, Le sculture del Museo Gregoriano Egizio, 
Vatican City, 1951, pp. 104-5; C. Pietrangeli, "La prove- 
nienza dei monumenti del Museo Egizio Vaticano," in G. 
Botti and R Romanelli, op. cit., p. 140, n. 156; A. Herman, 
"Der letzte Apisstier," in Jahrbuch fur Antike und 
Christentum, 3, 1960, pp. 34-50; W. Kaiser, Aegyptisches 
Museum, Berlin, Berlin, 1967, p. 90; E R. S. Moorey, Ancient 
Egypt, Oxford, 1970, pp. 11, 14; A. Roullet, The Egyptian 
and Egyptianizing Monuments of Imperial Rome, Leiden, 1972, 
pp. 88, 90; J. E. Stambaugh, Serapis Under the Early 
Ptolemies, Leiden, 1972, pp. 1-13; W. Hornbostel, Serapis, 
Leiden, 1973, pp. 45, 50, 341, 369; G. J. F. Kater-Sibbes 
and M. J. Vermaseren, Apis, I, Leiden, 1975, pi. XIX, passim, 
II, Leiden, 1975, III, Leiden, 1977; D. Wildung, Imhotep 
und Amenhotep, Munich, 1977, p. 41; E. Winter, Der 
Apiskult im alten Aegypten, Mainz, 1978; M. Raven, 
"Papyrus-Sheaths and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris Statues," in 
Oudheidkundige mededelingen, 59-60, 1978-79, pp. 



Hadrianic period (a. d. 117-38) 

From Hadrian's Villa, near Tivoli 

Black marble with white veining, and white 

marble (horns) 
Height, 19 1 Vie" (50cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Inv. no. 22807 

The double herm, or bust, was a Greek inven- 
tion that made use of surrounding space by forc- 
ing the spectator to walk around the sculpture 
in order to see the paired, complementary heads. 
The viewer was thereby simultaneously made 
to experience the double herm visually, as a cre- 
ation in the round, and to intellectualize the the- 
matic link between the heads. 

This double herm has no inscription; it repre- 
sents a female figure and a bovine. Stylistically, 
the herm can be attributed to the Roman imperi- 
al period. At that time it was customary to imbue 
figures with a decidedly Egyptian flavor by add- 
ing what were often incongruously rendered 
Egyptianizing elements. It is clear from the treat- 
ment of the female bust on this herm that its 
Roman sculptors had access to Egyptian models, 
through which they became acquainted with 
typically Egyptian elements. The cold expres- 
sion imparted by the upper eyelid passing over 
the lower one, the undefined earlobes, and the 
drilling of the comers of the mouth clearly ex- 
hibit an Egyptianizing style, as do the broad 
planes of the face and the smooth transitions 
between these planes. The headdress also be- 
trays a non-Egyptian hand, particularly in the 
treatment of the overly narrow lappets, which 
descend as broad ribbons to the tops of the 
breasts. The bull's white marble horns (the rest 
of the herm is made of black marble with white 
veining) are visible when viewing the female 
bust and are placed intentionally to create the 
illusion that the horns spring from the female's 
head. The lotus is a modern addition. 

The head of the bull on the other side of the 
herm is rendered in a more naturalistic fashion 


than are representations of bulls in purely Egyp- 
tian style. The close stylistic parallels between 
this head and that of a bull in Alexandria, in- 
scribed for Hadrian, assure a date in the second 
century a.d. for this bust. 

By the time of Nectanebo II (362-342 b.c), 
the Egyptians had built a shrine at Saqqara to 
the goddess Isis, mother of Apis. Before the re- 
cent excavation of this shrine, its existence had 
been suspected from the numerous ostraca and 
graffiti excavated in the area, each alluding to 
this manifestation of Isis. During the Roman pe- 
riod, the cult of Isis eclipsed those of all other 
Egyptian goddesses, and, in Italy, flourished de- 
spite successive bans on its rites. The popularity 
of Isis and of Apis in Roman spheres is well 
documented, particularly in terracotta figurines 
that depict Isis nursing her offspring, the Apis 
bull. Therefore, it is not surprising to find a sculp- 
tor in the employ of the Roman Emperor Hadri- 
an creating a double herm of Isis and Apis. 

The double bust was discovered during explo- 
rations at Hadrian's Villa conducted by the Jesuits 
during the reign of Benedict XIV (1740-58). 
Subsequently exhibited in the Capitoline muse- 
ums, the bust was transferred to the Vatican by 

Gregory XVI in 1838 for the Egyptian museum. 

C. S. r R. S. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Botti, "L'Apis de l'empereur Adrien 
trouve dans le Serapeum d'Alexandrie," in Bulletin de la 
Societe Archeologique d'Alexandrie, 2, 1899, pp. 27-36; 
G. Botti and P Romanelli, Le sculture del Museo Gregoriano 
Egizio, Vatican City, 1951, pp. 103-4; C. Pietrangeli, "La 
provenienza dei monumenti del Museo Egizio Vaticano," 
in G. Botti and R Romanelli, op. cit., p. 140, n. 155; L. 
Castiglione, "Kunst und Gesellschaft im romischen Aegyp- 
ten," in Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 
15, 1967, p. 128; W. B. Emery, "Preliminary Report on the 
Excavations at North Saqqara, 1 966 - 7, " in Journal of Egyp- 
tian Archaeology, 53, 1967, pp. 192-93, pi. XXII, figs. 1, 
2; A. Roullet, The Egyptian and Egyptianizing Monuments 
of Imperial Rome, Leiden, 1972, p. 90; R. E. Witt, Isis in 
the Graeco-Roman World, London, 1972; F. Dunand, Le 
Culte d'Isis dans le bassin oriental de la Mediterranee, I, II, 
Leiden, 1973; G. T. Martin, "Excavations in the Sacred 
Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara, 1971 -2 : Preliminary 
Report," in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 59, 1973, pp. 
13-14; S. K. Heyob, The Cult of Isis Among Women in the 
Graeco-Roman World, Leiden, 1975; G. J. F. Kater-Sibbes 
and M. J. Vermaseren, Apis, I, Leiden, 1975, pi. LXV, pas- 
sim; I. Becher, "Augustus und Dionysos — Ein Feindver- 
haltnis?," in Zeitschrift fur aegyptische Sprache und Alter- 
tumskunde, 103, 1976, pp. 88-101; H. Smith, "Preliminary 
Report on Excavations in the Sacred Animal Necropolis, 
Season 1974-1975," in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 
62, 1976, pp. 16-17. 



Hadrianic period (a.d. 117-38) 

From Hadrian's Villa, near Tivoli 

Parian marble 

Height, 94 %" (241 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Inv. no. 22795 

The Roman Emperor Hadrian, perhaps best 
known for his famous wall in Great Britain, was 
enamored of Egypt and journeyed throughout 
that country in a.d. 130. He was accompanied 
by the handsome youth Antinous, who was a 
native of the Roman province of Bithynia (now 
northern Turkey) , on the Black Sea. During their 
travels, an oracle predicted that Hadrian would 
suffer a heavy loss. To avert harm from befalling 
the emperor, Antinous took it upon himself to 
fulfill the prophecy by drowning himself in 
the Nile. The suicide is said to have occurred 
near Sheikh Abada, about 170 miles south of 


Cairo, where the Emperor Hadrian subsequently 
founded the city of Antinoe to commemorate 
the unfortunate event and to inaugurate the cult 
of Antinous. Regarded in the context of ancient 
Egypt's religious precepts, the deification of 
Antinous becomes part of a long tradition where- 
by divine rites were accorded those who per- 
ished in the Nile. The Temple of Dendur, for 
example, which was built during the reign of 
the Roman Emperor Augustus, is dedicated in 
part to Pihor and Pedesi, brothers who drowned 
in the Nile and were later deified. 

In an attempt to integrate the religious over- 
tones of the deification of Antinous with the 
classical beauty for which he was renowned, 
the creators of this statue posed the youth in the 
attitude of Polyclitan athletes, an attitude first 
established in Greece during the fifth century 
b.c. The weight of the figure is borne by the 
firmly planted right leg. The stride adjusts the 
musculature so that an S curve, or contrapposto, 
results. This classical posture is slightly altered 
by the atypical forward thrust of the chest, which 
emphasizes the muscular physique of the youth. 
The arms are held away from the sides of the 
body, and the fists, like those depicted on statues 
from pharaonic Egypt, clasp cylindrical objects 
that are thought to represent rolled pieces of 
linen. Marble struts connect the arms to the torso 
at the level of the belt, and a tree trunk behind 
the right leg supports the statue. 

In a Greek or a Roman sculpture, such a clas- 
sical stance, celebrating the beauty of a youth, 
would normally have been reserved for a nude 
figure. Here, however, the subject is clad in a 
traditional Egyptian kilt and wears a headdress, 
or nemes — an accessory usually associated with 
pharaohs — in order to establish a connection 
with Egypt. Absent from the headdress is the 
royal cobra, or uraeus, an omission that is ap- 
propriate to a person of nonroyal status. The 
idealized face differs markedly from strictly clas- 
sical depictions of Antinous, but the treatment 
of the body is similar. The lack of the uraeus, 
the Egyptian trappings, and the fact that the stat- 
ue was found at Hadrian's Villa further support 
the belief that the figure is a representation of 

In 1742, Michilli donated the statue to Bene- 
dict XIV (1740-58), who placed it in the Capi- 
toline museums. It remained there until 1838, 
when Pope Gregory XVI transferred it to the 
Vatican for the Egyptian museum. 

C.S., R. S.B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Rowe, 'Antinous, the Favorite of 
Hadrian," in Annates du Service des Antiquites de I'Egypte, 
40, 1940, pp. 25-26; G. Botti and E Romanelli, Lesculture 
MMuseo Gregoriano Egizio, Vatican City, 1951, pp. 95-97; 
C. Pietrangeli, "La provenienza dei monumenti del Museo 
Egizio Vaticano," in G. Botti and P. Romanelli, op. cit., 
pp. 138-39, n. 143; C. W Clairmont, Die Bildnisse des Anti- 
nous, Rome, 1966; A. Roullet, The Egyptian and Egyptian- 
izing Monuments of Imperial Borne, Leiden, 1972, p. 87; 
K. Parlasca, "Osiris und Osirisglaube in der Kaiserzeit," in 
Les SyncrHismes dans les religions grecque et romaine, Ven- 
dome, 1973, pp. 96-97; H. G. Fischer, "An Elusive Shape 
Within the Fisted Hands of Egyptian Statues," mMetropoli- 
tan Museum Journal, 10, 1975, pp. 9-21; G. Poethke, 
"Antinoos," in Lexikon derAegyptobgie, I, Wiesbaden, 1975, 
pp. 323-25; J. Quaegebeur, "Les 'Saints' egyptiens pre- 
chretiens," in Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica, 8, 1977, 
pp. 129-43; R. S. Bianchi, "Augustus in Egypt," in Ar- 
chaeology, 31, 1978, pp. 4-11. 


The opening of the Museo Gre- 
goriano Etrusco in 1837 culminated 
two centuries of acquisition by the 
papacy of antiquities found in Etru- 
ria. At the outset, it should be noted 
that, well into the nineteenth cen- 
tury, the word "Etruscan" still was applied to 
material made by the Etruscans as well as to the 
imports — particularly vases produced in Athens 
— that came to light in Etruscan burials. Thus, 
the museum is "Etruscan" only with respect to 
the sites of its finds but not to their original 

During the eighteenth century, there was 
considerable excavation in the Tuscan area of 
Etruria — Cortona, Volterra, Siena, Chiusi — but the main 
beneficiaries were private collections. Some of these collec- 
tions entered the Vatican; that of Cardinal Gualterio of Orvieto, 
for example, was acquired by the Vatican Library through 
the efforts of Pope Clement XII (1730-40). With the two 
measures introduced by Pope Pius VII, in 1802 and 1820, to 
regulate the movement and sale of works of art and to pro- 
vide purchase funds, the papal collections, for the first time, 
were able to secure material, often from their own territories. 
In 1815, Pius acquired more "Etruscan" pottery for the Vati- 
can Library (fig. 38). In 1829, some vases from the Candelori 
Collection, found mainly in Vulci, were added. In 1834, the 
Vatican participated in the excavations conducted by Vincenzo 
Campanari in Vulci. In 1835, it acquired the bronze Mars just 
discovered at Todi and, a year later, the contents of the incom- 
parably rich Regolini-Galassi tomb from Cerveteri. 

The question of where to house the growing "Etruscan" 
collection already had been considered, in 1816, when Pius 
VII proposed a suite of rooms (the so-called Appartamenti 
Zelada), within the Palazzetto del Belvedere, formerly occu- 
pied by the librarian and secretary of state to Pius VI. The 

fig. 38. 


decision to use these apartments was taken in 
November 1836, three months before the open- 
ing of the collection. Though unfinished for the 
occasion, the roughly chronological sequence 
of rooms displayed vases, bronzes, and urns, and 
ended with a small-scale reconstruction of an 
Etruscan tomb; the idea, realized in late 1837- 
early 1838, was evidently derived from the high- 
ly successful Etruscan exhibition organized by 
Secondiano and Vincenzo Campanari in Pall 
Mall in London. 

A papal decree, in 1840, put an end to the 
collecting of Etruscan antiquities. The Italian state 
was established in 1870, and, in 1889, the Museo 
Nazionale di Villa Giulia was founded as the 
repository of finds from Etruria. Despite these developments, 
the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco did not lie dormant. In 1900, 
Bartolomeo Nogara became the first director trained as an 
Etruscologist. Under him and his successors, study of the 
collections went hand in hand with their organization; G. 
Pinza and, later, Luigi Pareti worked on the Regolini-Galassi 
tomb, Carlo Albizzati catalogued pottery, A. D. Trendall pub- 
lished the Etruscan and South Italian vases, specifically. Nor 
did acquisition cease completely. In 1934, Pius XI accepted 
the vases of Marchese Benedetto Guglielmi (published by 
J. D. Beazley and F. Magi), and, in 1967-68, the collection 
of Mario Astarita was presented to Paul VI. The reinstallation 
of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco currently in progress segre- 
gates and puts in meaningful sequence the indigenous 
Etruscan objects, the Greek ceramic imports, and the Roman 
legacy; however, its ambience preserves part of the antiquari- 
an flavor of the original nineteenth-century installation. 

Francesco Roncalli 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Roncalli, "II reparto di antichita etrusco-italiche," in Bollettino dei 
Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, I, 3, 1979, pp. 53-114. 




Corinthian, c. 630-615 b.c. 

Attributed to the Painter of Vatican 73: his 

Height, 12 >A" (32.3 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16334 

The figured decoration, consisting of animals 
and monsters, is in four zones that circle the 
vase. Dot rosettes are used as filling ornaments. 
Rosettes also appear on the neck. 

The Painter of Vatican 73 is one of the chief 
exponents of the Corinthian Transitional style. 
A highly disciplined artist, this painter insisted 
on rigid symmetry in his heraldic groupings. 

D. v. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Albizzati, Vasi antichi dipinti del 
Vaticano, fasc. I- VII, Rome, 1925-39, pp. 27-28, pi. 5; H. 
Payne, Necrocorinthia, Oxford, 1931, p. 277, no. 146, pi. 
11, 5, pi. 16, 3, 5; D. A. Amyx, Corinthian Vase-painting of 
the Archaic Period, forthcoming, p. 69. 



Corinthian, c. 560 b. c. 

On the shoulder is the mission of Menelaos and 
Odysseus to Troy; in the zone below, goats and 
panthers; on each handle-plate, a gorgoneion 

Height, 18 W (47.3 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (Gift of Mario Astarita, 
A 565) 

The Astarita krater (as this vase is called) is 
one of the most monumental Corinthian vases 
known to us. The names of practically all of the 
figures are inscribed, thus allowing us to interpret 
each detail of the scene. Seated on the stepped 
altar in the sanctuary of Athena at Troy are 
Menelaos, Odysseus, and the herald Talthybios. 
They are approached by Theano, her two maids 
Dia and Malo, and her nurse. Behind them fol- 

100 (detail) 

low fifteen mounted horsemen and two youths 
on foot. The names that are given are Harmatides, 
Glaukos, Eurymachos, Ilioneus, Politas, and 
Polyphas. (Eurymachos and Glaukos were the 
sons of Antenor and Theano.) 

The Greeks had come to Troy to ask for the 
peaceful surrender of Helen. They are seen 
inside the city, having just arrived, and Theano 
has gone out to meet them. Antenor, the most 
important Trojan next to King Priam, must have 
enjoyed especially close ties of hospitality with 
either Menelaos or Odysseus; Theano, as the 
priestess of Athena, must have suggested to the 
Greeks to take refuge in the temple of Athena 
for their safety. The embassy to Troy was not 
successful, however, and the Trojan War broke 
out, but during the Sack of Troy the Greeks 
spared the house of Antenor. 

D. v. B. 

in Proceedings of the British Academy, 43, 1957, pp. 233-44, 
pis. 11-16; M. I. Davies, Lexicon iconographicum mytholo- 
giae classicae, 1, Zurich, 1981, p. 815. 




Laconian, c. 555 b. c. 

Interior, Atlas and Prometheus 

Attributed to theArkesilas Painter 

Height, 5 W (14 cm); width, 10 7 A 6 " (26.5 cm); 

diameter, 7 'Vie" (20.2 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16592 

Atlas is at the left, holding up the sky, while 
an eagle picks at the chest of Prometheus, who 
is tied to a column, at the right. A small bird is 
perched on the column. In the exergue, below 
the main picture, are a Doric column and two 
flowers. The sphere of heaven extends along the 
upper edge of the tondo from the starry portion 
of the sky to the head of Prometheus. The 
groundline, supported by the column in the 
exergue, must represent the disk of the earth, 
seen in cross section. 

D. v. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Albizzati, Vasi antichi dipinti del 
Vaticano, fasc. I- VII, Rome, 1925-39, pp. 66-67; C. M. 
Stibbe, Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. 
Chr., Amsterdam, 1972, pp. 32, 118, 280, no. 196, pis. 
63-64; H. Jucker, Festschrift fur Frank Brommer, Mainz, 
1977, pp. 195-96, pi. 55, 1. 



Attic, c. 530 b. c. 

Obverse, Eos mourning her dead son Memnon (?); 

reverse, the recovery of Helen 
Attributed to the Painter of the Vatican Mourner: 

his name-piece 
Height, 17 Vie" (44 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16571 

The Painter of the Vatican Mourner, named 
after this vase, has chosen for his principal pic- 
ture a deeply moving subject worthy of Exekias, 
to whom he is related. The scene, set in a forest, 
shows a dead, naked warrior laid out on a bed 
of pine branches. His armor, helmet, greaves and 
shield, and his short chiton are leaning against, 
or are suspended from, the two trees on the left. 
A raven perches on one of the pine trees. The 
woman in the center, probably Eos, the mother 
of Memnon, bends over the body of the dead 
hero and tears at her hair in the time-honored 
gesture of mourning. On the reverse, Menelaos, 
accompanied by a youth and another warrior, 
menaces Helen with a sword. This encounter 
took place after the Sack of Troy, when Mene- 
laos, enraged at his faithless wife, threatened to 
kill her. Aphrodite intervened and counseled 
Helen to reveal her beauty, which led to a 

D. v. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Albizzati, Vasi antichi dipinti del 
Vaticano, fasc. I— VII, Rome, 1925-39, pp. 137-38, fig. 
71, pi. 44; J. D. Beazley, Attic Black-figure Vase-painters, 
Oxford, 1956, p. 140, no. 1; idem, Paralipomena, Oxford, 
1971, p. 58, no. 1. 



Attic, c. 510 b. c. 

On the shoulder are three komasts 
Attributed to Euthymides 
Height, 1 5 % 6 " (39.5 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (Gift of Marchese 
Benedetto Guglielmi, G 71) 

In ihe center, a bearded man pours wine from 
an amphora into a large skyphos as a youth ap- 
proaches eagerly, from the right. On the left, an- 
other youth, his face and chest in frontal view, 
is playing the flutes. The inscriptions in the field 
are meaningless. 

The pouring of wine from a pointed ampho- 
ra was a motif employed by Euthymides also 

on a neck-amphora with twisted handles (now 
in the Muzeum Narodowe in Warsaw); the flute 
player may be compared with the boy on the 
neck of a volute-krater (now in the Museo 
Nazionale in Syracuse) that is attributed lo the 
same painter. D v B 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. D. Beazley (and F. Magi), La Raccolta 
Benedetto Gugiielmi nel Museo Gregoriano Etrusco I, Ceramka 
(Monument) Vaiicani di Archeologia e d'Anc, V), Vatican 
City, 1939. p. 3. fig. 1, p. 62, no. 25, pi. 25; J. D. Beazley. 
Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Oxford, 1963. p. 28, no. 14. 

103 (detail) 



Attic, c. 490 B, c. 
Apollo Hyperpontios 
Attributed to the Berlin Painter 
Height, 20V 2 "(52cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv, no. 16568 

The god is seated on a winged tripod, riding 
over the sea {hyperpontios), which is denoted 
by fish and an octopus. Two dolphins leaping 
over the waves accompany him. Apollo plays 
the lyre. The rare subject of Apollo traveling on 
a tripod is also known from a black- figured neck- 
amphora (in the Louvre) a it rib u ted to the Ready 
Painter. D v B 

BIBLIOGRAPHY; J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-fyure Vase- 
painters, Oxford. 1963. p. 209, no. 166, p. 1634; idem. 
Paralipomena, Oxford, 1971, p. 343. 





Attic, c. 470 b.c. 

Interior, Oedipus and the Sphinx; exterior, 

satyrs cavorting 
Attributed to the Oedipus Painter: his 

Diameter, lOVs" (26.3 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16541 

Oedipus (his name is inscribed), in the garb 
of a traveler, sits before the legendary Sphinx 
of Thebes that devoured those who did not an- 
swer its riddle (part of which is written be- 
tween the mouth of the Sphinx and the face of 
Oedipus). The Sphinx sits on a column, much 
in the way that sphinxes were shown on Attic 
grave reliefs of the Archaic period. The exteri- 
or scene is of considerable interest, as it was 
copied on a cup (now in the Musee Rodin in 
Paris) by an Etruscan vase painter. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-figure Vase- 
painters, Oxford, 1963, p. 451, no. 1, p. 1654; idem, 
Paralipomena, Oxford, 1971, p. 376. 


Attic, c. 450 b.c. 

Obverse, Achilles; reverse, woman (Briseis?) 
Attributed to the Achilles Painter: his name-piece 
Height, 24 Vie" (62 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16571 

The young Greek hero is shown in frontal 
view, his head turned to his left; he wears a 
short chiton and a cuirass and has a cloak over 
his left arm, with which he shoulders an enor- 
mous spear. The woman on the other side, 
perhaps Briseis, holds an oinochoe and a phiale, 
traditional vases for the sacrificial libation that 
preceded a departure for battle. The painter has 
identified the warrior by writing the name 
Achilles next to him. 

The Achilles Painter was the first great classic 
vase painter, much of whose finest work is on 
white lekythoi. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-figure Vase- 
painters, Oxford, 1963, p. 987, no. 1, p. 1677; idem, 
Paralipomena, Oxford, 1971, p. 437. 

D. v. B. 

D. v. B. 



Attic, c. 440-430 b.c. 

Obverse, Hermes bringing the infant Dionysos 
to Papposilenos and the nymphs; reverse, a 
seated Muse playing the lyre, between two 
standing Muses 

Attributed to the Phiale Painter 

Height, 12 l Vie" (32.8 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 16586 

This splendid krater, painted in polychromy 
on a white engobe (or slip), is the work of the 
Phiale Painter — the pupil of the Achilles Painter. 
Like his teacher, he did much work on lekythoi, 
continuing the classic tradition of his master. 

Dionysos was raised by the nymphs of Nysa. 
His schooling must have begun very early, as 
we learn from a neck- amphora by the Eucharides 
Painter (on loan to The Metropolitan Museum 

of Art) on which Zeus himself carries his in- 
fant son to a nymph, who is shown with lyre, 
flute case, and writing tablet. 

D. v. B. ■ 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-figure Vase- 
painters, Oxford, 1963, p. 1017, no. 54; idem, Paralipomena, 
Oxford, 1971, p. 440. 




Paestan, c. 350-325 B.C. 

Obverse, scene from a phlyax farce: assisted by 
Hermes, Zeus carries a ladder in an attempt 
to visit one of his loves, who appears at a 
window; reverse, two youths 

Attributed to Asteas 

Height. 14 9 /i„" (37cm); diameter. 14 '//*" (36 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 17106 

Phlyax plays are peculiar to the Greek settle- 
ments in Southern Italy. The actors, dressed in 
humorous costume, burlesque the adventures 
of gods and heroes. The scene on this vase prob- 
ably represents the visit of Zeus to Alkmene, 
wife of Amphitryon, as Hermes holds up a lamp, 
at the right. Another vase by the same painter 
(in the British Museum) shows the sequel: Zeus 
is actually climbing the ladder. 

D. v. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. D. Ttendall, Vtei antiM dipinti del Vati- 
cano. Vast Ualioti ed Etruschi a Figure Ross*, fasc. I, Vatican 
City, 1953, pp. 27-29, pis. 7 b, 9 b. 



Cerveteri (necropolis of Sorbo, Regolini-Galassi 

Middle of the 7th century b. c. 

Length, 10 'A" (26 cm); width, 2 Vs-2 "Ae" (6. 7 
-6. 9 cm); diameter, 3 Vs-3 "/«" (9.3-10 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. nos. 20562, 

This jewelry came from the last chamber of 
the famous Regolini-Galassi tomb, a large aris- 
tocratic burial that was excavated at Cerveteri 
in 1836 and 1837. The tomb, partly dug out 
in the tufa and partly built of squared blocks of 
the same material, was reached by a long 
corridor, flanked by two small chambers of cir- 
cular plan; the main chamber was, itself, divided 
into two parts. In the area at the end, a woman, 
to whom these arm bands and other extremely 
rich jewelry belonged, was buried, while, in the 
opposite part, a man — in all probability her hus - 
band — was interred, along with an equally im- 
pressive collection of bronze pieces. 

Each arm bracelet is made up of a rectangular 
band of gold, bent in the shape of an open 
cylinder and decorated on the ends with two 
pieces of gold foil — one on the inside and the 
other on the outside. The catch consists of a 
small bar, secured with a small chain. 

The central part of each bracelet is decorated 
with repeated scenes of three standing female 
figures — frontal, except for their feet, which are 
in profile — who hold a palm in each hand. The 
representations — framed by maeanders and 

chevrons — were stamped and then outlined by 

The bands at each end are decorated with a 
more complex scene: two palms surround a 
woman who stands between two confronted 
lions, each stretching out a front paw and lean- 
ing the other on her shoulder. The two male 
figures behind the two lions attack them with 
daggers. The decorative motifs vary here: guil- 
loches alternate with lotus flowers. 

A comparison of the exuberant decoration 
of these and of other gold pieces from the 
Regolini-Galassi tomb — and from other Etrus- 
can tombs of the same period — shows that this 
very fine work was executed locally. The typical 
granulation heightens the effect of the ornament 
and scenes, achieved by expert use of separate 
punches, allowing the goldsmith of Cerveteri 
to create variations on the theme of noTNiA 
0HPCJN (the Mistress of the Animals). 

The urban development of such coastal cen- 
ters as Cerveteri, between the eighth and the 
seventh century b.c, permitted these cities and 
the dominant class within them to exercise a 
stricter control over the already densely popu- 
lated hinterlands. Their agricultural and mineral 
resources furnished the metropolises with the 
power to attract Oriental trade — above all, that 
of the Phoenicians — enabling them not only to 
export finished products but also to import such 
raw materials as gold, silver, and ivory, which 
were worked by local artisans and passed along 
the internal commercial routes to Vetulonia, 
Chiusi, Palestrina, and elsewhere. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Pareti, La Tomba Regolini-Galassi di 
Cerveteri, Vatican City, 1947, pp. 182-84, nos. 3-4; 
T. Dohrn, in W Helbig, Ftihrer dutch die offentlichen 
Sammlungen klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, p. 483, no. 624. 



Cerveteri (necropolis of Sorbo, Regolini-Galassi 

Middle of the 7th century b. c. 
Gilded silver 

Diameter, 7W (19.4cm); depth, 'Vie" (2.5 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 20368 

This bowl came from the niche on the left- 
hand side of the Regolini-Galassi tomb, along 
with other furnishings that probably belonged 
to the man buried in the central corridor. The 
cup must have been fastened to the wall of the 
room because the trace of an iron nail shows in 
the center. 

Among the objects of Oriental origin whose 
presence in Etruria — although not only in Etru- 
ria — best characterizes its richness, commercial 
relations, culture, and taste between the end of 
the eighth and the close of the seventh century 
b.c, there is the series of silver bowls, of which 
this example is one of the best preserved. 

The bowl, decorated in repousse with engrav- 
ing, is divided into four principal areas: the 
central disk, two concentric bands, and a smooth 
rim that lacks the gilding that covers the entire 
remaining internal surface. The outside of the 
bowl originally was covered with silver foil. 

In the center, two lions attack a bull in a typi- 
cally Egyptian setting. In the inner band, in a 
landscape characterized by a small mountain and 
by papyrus and palms, is a series of episodes 
from a hunt: an archer and a lancer aid a man 
fallen beneath a lion; another man stabs a lion, 
upright on its back paws, with a dagger; and a 
horseman chases a fawn on a mountain. 

The outer band depicts a file of soldiers, on 
foot and on horseback, in which the most emi- 
nent is clearly the man who, armed and accom- 
panied by a squire, occupies the chariot. The 
two bands narrate two symbolic elements of the 
life of a great dynasty. 

The bowl belongs to a class whose Oriental 
origin is certain, and whose diffusion through- 
out the Mediterranean basin — in particular, on 
the Tyrrhenian coasts of Italy — is traditionally 
attributed to Phoenician trade. Some scholars 
have spoken of Phoenician, Cypriot, or Syrian 
centers as the sources of these objects. Certainly, 
their production must have depended on "beach- 
heads" in Italy, most probably in southern 
Etruria: such a center as Cerveteri, for example, 
which perhaps not only absorbed and distrib- 
uted these objects, but which also may have had 
artisans capable of refinishing them and making 
them more elaborate to suit local tastes. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Pareti, La Tomba Regolini-Galassi di 
Cerveteri, Vatican City, 1947, pp. 312-15, n. 323, pi. XLIV; 
T. Dohrn, in W Helbig, Ftihrer durch die offentlichen 
Sammlungen klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, pp. 491-92, no. 641; on the entire class: I. Strom, 
Problems Concerning the Origin and Early Development of 
the Etruscan Orientalizing Style, Odense, 1971; F. Canciani 
and Fr. W von Hase, La Tomba Bernardini di Palestrina, 
Rome, 1979, pp. 5-6. 




Cerveteri (necropolis of Sorbo, Calabresi tomb) 

Late 7th century b, c. 


Height (with foot that does not belong), 1 1 'Vie " 
(30 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no, 20235 

In the composition of this exceptional vase, made 
of the finest bucchero from Cerveteri and with 
incised decoration, a variety of different elements 
come together. The ancient tradition, taken up 
in Italo- Geometric pottery, of forming handles 
or the knobs of lids in the shape of animals here 
is allied with the Geometric tradition of the askos, 
an animal skin made into a water container and 
modeled as a quadruped or a bird. The Vatican 
example is a fresh interpretation of a type of tall 
jug with a transverse, cask- like body, famous 

from an example from Bisenzio in the Museo di 
Villa Giulia in Rome. A long vertical neck end- 
ing in a trefoil spout rises from the body, which 
is placed on a support of purely ceramic deriva- 
tion. The elaborate plumes on the perforated 
spouts in the shape of animal heads are cer- 
tainly Oriental in tradition, and serve as stop- 
pers for the two halves into which the vase is 
separated, inside and out. The human figure on 
the body of the vase — who holds in his extended 
hands the horses' harness — as well as the circu- 
lar ornament on the side of the vase suggest 
that the idea that the potter wished to cap- 
ture was that of a fantastic chariot whose body 
is fused with that of the two horses. The foot, 
although probably true to this type of vase, does 
not belong. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Pareti, La Tomba Regolini-Galassi di 
Cerveteri, Vatican City, 1947, pp. 367-68, n. 400, pi. LIV; 
T. Dohrn, in W. Helbig, Ftihrer durch die offentlichen 
Samtnlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Papstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th cd., Tubingen, 
1963, p. 497, no. 651. 




Tarquinia (necropolis of Monte Quaglieri) 

Late 6th century b.c. 


Diameter: overall, 14 l A" (36.2 cm), head, 4 'Vie" 

(12.5 cm); maximum depth, 2 Vie" (6.5 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 12623 

Concerning the origin of the disk, the circum- 
stances of its discovery, and its function, the read- 
er is referred to entry no. 1 13. The central cavity 
of the shaped disk, distinguished, in this case, 
by a smooth part made to hold the mask, and 
by two concentric, circular zones of tongues, also 
includes a central lion's head — as in the ma- 
jority of examples known (about thirty) of this 
class of object. 

The head, raised from a single sheet of bronze, 
was attached with two pairs of rivets placed op- 
posite each other, piercing the thin area of metal 
around the lion's head. The eyes are filled with 
glass paste: white for the cornea, black for the 
iris. The state of preservation of the mask is good; 
the disk underneath has many holes. The lion 
is represented, as is usual, with its jaws wide 
open and its tongue hanging down. Its mane is 
parted on top into two rows of locks: the first, 
from behind which its ears stick out, is in more 
marked relief; the second is delineated by an 
incised contour. Worth noting in the depiction 
of the muzzle (which varies within this series of 
disks) is the treatment of the fur under the jaws, 
the indication of the skin on either side of the 
tongue in two lobes marked by crosshatched 
incisions, and the flattened hairs above the eyes, 
rendered as two spiraling curls. 

Stylistically, the head fits into the Etruscan 
canon typical of the second half of the sixth 
century b.c. One should compare, in particular, 

the examples from Vulci executed in stone, and 
the painted ones that decorate the tympana of 
the funeral chambers at Tarquinia. 

The prevalence of this motif (along with that 
of the ram's head, which occurs almost as 
frequently) — within this class of object as op- 
posed to other motifs whose function was more 
clearly apotropaic (such as the masks of satyrs 
and of maenads) — is an indirect confirmation 
of the original function of these disks, and of 
the typological development that brought about 
the transition from the smaller functional disk 
to this enlarged ornamental one. The circular 
shape and the prominence of the head — often 
used to decorate such wooden objects as the 
hubs of wheels and the poles of carts — made 
the form particularly adaptable to the ornamen- 
tation on the heads of the dowels placed in the 
center of such a disk. In this connection one 
should compare two disks found in the necrop- 
olis of Peschiera near Todi that have bronze pins 
in their centers: the head of each pin ends in a 
lion's head. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Dohrn, in W. Helbig, Fuhrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: 
Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 
4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, p. 522, no. 692; on this subject: 
W.L. Brown, The Etruscan Lion, Oxford, 1960, pp. 101-4; 
on the examples from Todi: G. Bendinelli, in Monumenti 
Antichi, XXIII, 2, 1916, p. 684. 



Tarquinia (necropolis of Monte Quaglieri) 

Early 5th century b. c. 


Diameter, 15 'Vie" (40. 5cm); maximum depth, 2 9 A 6 

(6.5 cm); height of mask, 10 'Vie" (2 7.5 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 12461 

This bronze disk was found in the winter of 
1829, together with no. 112 and nine other 
pieces, in a funeral chamber in a necropolis situ- 
ated about two miles north of the ancient city 
of Tarquinia in the locality of Monte Quaglieri. 
(All were acquired in 1830 for the papal collec- 
tions.) The disk was hammered into its present 
shape, concave in the center and framed by a 
wide convex ring. Around the smooth central 
disk are two concentric bands with a tongue 
pattern designed to frame the head, which, like- 
wise, was hammered separately from a single 
piece of bronze, and then attached to the disk 
by a pair of rivets. The conical horns and the 
ears also were executed separately and attached 
with rivets having special tongues for support. 
The eyes were rendered by filling cavities in the 
bronze with glass paste: white for the cornea, 
black for the iris. From several examples in which 
this filling has fallen out, we have learned that 
at the bottom of the eye cavity two small holes 
were drilled to allow for a better hold between 
the paste and the metal. The state of preserva- 
tion of this disk is excellent. 

The head, representing a bearded male figure 
with a bull's horns and ears, is identified as the 
Greek river god Acheloos, son of Thetis and 
Okeanos, described, in mythology, as being best- 
ed by Herakles in the contest for the hand of 
Deianeira. The composite nature of this figure 
— depicted sometimes as a centaur, sometimes 
as a bull with a man's head, sometimes as a sea 
monster, and sometimes as a man with a bull's 
head (overlapping, in the last case, with the ico- 
nography of the Minotaur) — was a common 
theme in Greek and Italiote art of the sixth and 
fifth centuries b.c. Thus, it recurred in Etruria, 
in representations of an apotropaic character. The 
theme was, for the most part, limited — as in 
this case — to the head: it is found, thus, in the 
heads decorating antefixes and the pendants of 
necklaces. (For a probable representation of the 
entire figure of this creature, see the smaller frieze 
in the first room of the Tomb of the Bulls in 


The head of Acheloos recurs in more than 
ten examples of this class of object (which con- 
sists of about eighty pieces). Much more com- 
mon are the heads of lions (as in cat. no. 1 12) 
and of rams. 

Stylistically, although the emphasis on such 
details as the eyes, moustache, and beard, and 
the triangular structure of the face with its 
flattened forehead obviously recall a decidedly 
archaic tradition (of the middle of the sixth cen- 
tury b.c), the more fluid modeling and the 
stylization of the curls on the forehead — above 
all, compared with those of an earlier version of 
this theme, in the same class — force us to con- 
sider the possibility that the disk may date from 
the beginning of the fifth century b.c. 

The original function of these disks has been 
discussed at length: they have been interpreted 
as decorative ornaments for furniture, funeral 
biers, coffered ceilings, and for the walls of tombs 
(in the last case, either as pure decoration or 
as votive offerings to the deceased) . In the tomb 
from which the Vatican objects came, they were 
stacked up one on top of the other, in an ar- 
rangement that tells us nothing about their origi- 
nal function, quite aside from the tampering that 
the contents of the necropolis had undergone 
before the excavations of the nineteenth century. 
The presence of large metal pins that pass 
through the centers of these disks (the head was 
added only after the disk was attached) assures 
us that the disks were placed on flat surfaces 
and had ornamental functions together with 
magical-protective ones. Their peculiar structure, 
moreover, represents the decorative enlargement 
of a type of disk, with an average diameter of a 
few centimeters, that was used in various 
Etruscan necropolises as a brazier ornament (as 
were those found at Vulci) or to decorate other, 
wooden objects, including (as in the case of sev- 
eral burial tombs in the necropolis of Peschiera 
near Todi) the caskets that contained the dead. 
One may compare the disks with the concen- 
tric circles that, rendered in painting, decorate 
the columen of certain tombs of the early fifth 
century b.c. in Tarquinia (the Tomb of the Chari- 
ots and the Tomb of the Funeral Bed). More 
problematic because of the chronological gap is 
the comparison with the disks sculpted on the 
urns in the Tomb of the Volumni in Perugia (first 
century b.c.) although, perhaps, the comparison 
is justified, historically, by the presence — in an 
archaic, unpublished tomb in the necropolis of 
the "Palazzone" — of a disk with a lion's head 
belonging to this same class. Tarquinia surely 
was the center of production of all of those disks 
whose origins are known. It, therefore, can be 
determined that these disks were actually ap- 
plied to the sides of biers or to other wooden 
structures within the tomb. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mostra dell' arte e delta civilta etrusca, 
Milan, 1955, p. 63, n. 249, pi. XXXIX; T. Dohm, in W. 
Helbig, Fuhrer durch die offentlichen Sammlungen klas- 
sischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im 
Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, p. 522, 
no. 692; on the entire class: M. Pallottino, "Tarquinia," 
in MonumentiAntichi, XXXVI, 1937, p. 352; R. Mengarelli, 
Notizie degli Scavi, 1941, p. 365; W. Hombostel et al., Kunst 
der Antike, Schdtze aus norddeutschem Privatbesitz, Mainz, 
1977, pp. 85-86; on the subject: J. Jannot, "Acheloos, 
Le taureau androcephale et les masques cornus dans 
l'Etrurie archaique," in Latomus, XXXIII, 4, 1974, p. 765. 




Early 5th century b. c. 
Polychromed terracotta 

Height, 18 l /s " (46 cm); depth, 15 'Vie" (40. 5 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 14130 

This horse's forepart crowned the lower- left cor- 
ner of a temple in Cerveteri from about the first 
quarter of the fifth century b.c The piece still 
has traces of its original polychromy: red, black, 
and yellow. Perhaps the horse's mouth once 
held a bit. The front hooves (which projected), 
the top of the mane, and part of the flat tile to 
which the plastic element was attached have 
broken off. 

Winged beings (such as the Aurora with 
young Cephalus, on the famous piece from 
Cerveteri now in the Staatliche Museen Preus- 
sischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin) often populated 
the skyline of Etrusco-Italic temple buildings. 

This Pegasus — although perhaps the allusion 
is to a sea horse — is one of the finest products 
of the art of Etruscan temple decoration that, a 
few decades before the probable date of this 
revetment, had exerted its prestigious influence 
on Rome, itself — where Vulca, the terracotta 
craftsman from Veii, worked on the Temple of 
the Capitoline Jupiter. The influence of Greek 
art of the early fifth century b.c. is evi- 
dent in the spare and vigorous rendering of the 
Vatican winged horse. p ^ 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Andren, Architectural Terracottas from 
Etrusco-Italic Temples, Lund/Leipzig, 1940, I, p. 46, III: I, 
and II, pi. 14, no. 47; T. Dohm, in W. Helbig, Fuhrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: 
Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 
4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, pp. 580-81, no. 784. 





Etruscan, 2nd century b. c. 

Height: overall, 4' I Vie" (125 cm); head, 8 Vs" (22cm) 
MuseoGre30ria.no Etrusco, Inv. no. 17874 

The pertinence of the head — which already had 
been identified and studied separately — to the 
body was recognized by G. Hafner in 1964. The 
head derives from a well-known prototype de- 
picting a young man with a rather flat, triangular- 
shaped face, the ears sticking out and the cap- 
like hair in thin locks, parted over the forehead 
(as in cat. nos. 1 17, 1 18, but in less plastic relief). 

This basic type is faithfully followed in another 
votive head, of the same origin, also preserved in 
the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (Inv. no. 13871). 
In the present example, however, the artisan has 
strayed from the pattern with his expertise in 
modeling. He has removed most of the hair, leav- 
ing only a ring along the temples and the back 
of the neck; traced some wrinkles on the fore- 
head; and attempted to mark the skin at the 
edge of the mouth more deeply. However, the 
age of the prototype is clearly younger than that 
of the derivative statue, and that, together with 
the attempt to convey a sense of aging, creates 
an appealing effect. 

The man is dressed in a tunic over which is a 
cloak that Hafner identifies as a toga, worn in 
the manner of the Greek himation, which usu- 
ally reached a little below the calves. 

The statue — the lower part is missing and the 
left part of the nose is chipped — originally was 

provided with hands, which were executed sepa- 
rately. They were inserted in openings in the 
cloak, whose drapery is very flat and simplified. 
The figure, strictly frontal in conception even 
though its pose is not rigidly frontal, narrows to 
a width of 5 l A to 5 V2 inches at its lowest re- 
maining part. In format, the statue is the same as 
those small Etruscan bronzes in which the sim- 
plification of the bodies results in elongated, flat, 
or wiry figures. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Hafner, "Eine Portratstatue aus 
Terrakotta im Museo Gregoriano Etrusco," in Rendiconti 
delta Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, XXXVIII, 
1965/1966, pp. 105-11; M.E Kilmer, The Shoulder Bust 
in Sicily and South and Central Italy: A Catalogue and Mate- 
rials for Dating ( Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, LI) , 
Goteborg, 1977, pp. 225-26, n. 108, fig. 178 (only the 



Etruscan, late 4th century b.c; found in Vulci, 

at the entrance to a tomb 

Height, c. 22 Vie" (c. 56 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. nos. 14953, 14954 

Each of the two heads is bridled, with a deco- 
rative collar around the neck. Nenfro is a volcan- 
ic stone, native to Etruria, and some of the fin- 
est Etruscan sculptures are of this material. In 
antiquity, horses often had a sepulchral meaning, 
but it is not clear whether this pair was part of a 
chariot group or should be considered architec- 
tural adjuncts. 

D. v. B. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Q. Giglioli, L'Arte Etrusca, Milan, 1935, 
pi. 262, 1; T. Dohm, in W. Helbig, Ftihrer durch die 
qffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertiimer in Rom: 
Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 
4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, p. 473, no. 610. 





Etruscan, 4th century b. c. 

Height: overall, 10 A " (26 cm); head, 7 At" (19 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 13854 

A comparison, made for the first time by Guido 
von Kaschnitz-Weinberg, between this head and 
the following one (Inv. no. 13852) is highly 
instructive. The two faces, in fact, came from 
identical molds. The young man's head in cat. 
no. 1 18 was modeled and brought "to life" by a 
few finishing touches, including the colors paint- 

ed on top of a whitish slip applied over the 
purified, pinkish clay. The present example, made 
of a rougher, dark- red clay that might not have 
been slipped, shows a different effort at charac- 
terization — although it still belongs to an ideal- 
ized type — and greater technical simplicity. 

The craftsman who made this head wished 
to portray a mature man, so that he reworked 
extensively, if not in depth, what came out of 
the mold. With a modeling tool he cut wrinkles 
across the forehead, incised bristling eyebrows, 
and perforated the cheeks and chin to suggest a 
thick beard. The few abrasions in the hair indi- 
cate that, although the artist adhered to that of 
the given model, he wanted it to appear more 
disheveled. While the neck does not show any 
traces of having been made for insertion into a 
statue (as does cat. no. 1 18), it definitely reveals 
the artist's intention to render its connection with 
the shoulders realistically. 

All of these variations, meant to convey ad- 
vanced age, are signs with which the face is suf- 
fused but which remain superficial. The artisan 
did not feel the need to give the head a convinc- 
ing volume, "closing" the portion that includes 
the face, and flattening it rather than integrat- 
ing it, as is the case with the head in cat. no. 
118, where the occipital part has been given 
adequate depth (sometimes achieved with a 
complementary mold). 

This proof of a flourishing Etruscan crafts- 
manship of average quality illustrates quite well 
the singular contradiction that characterizes 
much of Etruscan art, especially at the begin- 
ning of the fourth century b.c. There is an insis- 
tent and historically determined recourse to the 
clearly admired themes and schemes elaborated 
upon in classic Greek art, which did not ex- 
clude, even in the greatest works, constant de- 
viations by a taste that believed more in the 
evidence of detail and in the evocative power 
of the particular than in the logic and rigor of 
an organic whole. 

This head is datable in the fourth century b.c. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. von Kaschnitz-Weinberg, "Ritratti 
fittili etruschi e romani dal secolo III al I, Av. Cr.," in Rendi- 
conti della Pontifitia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, III, 
1924/1925, pp. 337-38, pi. XXI, 2; T. Dohm, in W Helbig, 
Fiihrer durch die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer 
Alterttimer in Rom: Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan 
und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, p. 587, no. 796; 
S. Steingraber, "ZumPhanomen der etruskisch-italischen 
Votivkopfe," in Romische Mitteilungen, 87, 1980, p. 223, 
pi. 70, 2; M. F. Kilmer, The Shoulder Bust in Sicily and South 
and Central Italy: A Catalogue and Materials for Dating { Studies 
in Mediterranean Archaeology, LI), Goteborg, 1977, p. 227, 
no. 110, fig. 180. 




Etruscan, second half of the 4th century b. c. 

Height: overall, 10 'A " (26 cm); head, 7 7 A 6 " (19 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 13852 

This head probably came from Cerveteri, as did 
the head in cat. no. 117. The base of the neck, 
intact and thickened into a kind of flat "fillet," 
assures us that this example is the most common 
form of ex-voto — the neck-bust type — that di- 
rectly reproduced the image of the devotee. 

The youthful head is rather rigidly placed on 
an overly long and wide neck. The face is tri- 
angular, and the hair thick. The flame- like locks 
that radiate from the top of the head, separate 
over the forehead, and fall in front of the ears, 
which are placed too low; the dilated eyes; 
and the down- turned mouth are characteristics 
that found particular favor beginning in the 
fourth century b.c. This model is based upon a 
type of the Polyclitan youth, numerous versions 
of which were made between the fourth and 
the third century b.c, both in bronze and in 

The dating of such terracotta ex-votos, execut- 
ed with molds that perpetuated particularly fa- 
vored types for decades, is problematical. With- 
out a precise archaeological context that allows 
the dating of an individual piece, one is reduced 
to dating the type — in this case, within the sec- 
ond half of the fourth century b.c. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Dohm, in W. Helbig, Fiihrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: 
Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 
4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, p. 587, no. 796; M. F. Kilmer, 
The Shoulder Bust in Sicily and South and Central Italy: A 
Catalogue and Materials for Dating ( Studies in Mediterranean 
Archaeology, LI), Goteborg, 1977, pp. 226-27, n. 109, 
fig. 179; S. Steingraber, "Zum Phanomen der etruskisch- 
italischen Votivkopfe," in Romische Mitteilungen, 87, 1980, 
pp. 223, 224, 228, pi. 70, 1. 





First half of the 3rd century b. c. 

Height (excluding the piece attaching the 
statue to the pedestal), 12 W (32. 7 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 12108 

Excavated in 1770 "from the Tarquinian ruins 
near Cometo" (J. B. Passed, 1771, p. 12), this 
small statue came from one of the cult areas of 
the ancient city; among those known to us, the 
"Ara della Regina" seems the most likely place. 

The statue was presented by Monsignor 
Francesco Carrara to Pope Clement XTV in 1771, 
and was placed in the Museo Profano of the 
Vatican Library, which, in turn, gave it to the 
new Museo Etrusco in January 1837. 

The bronze, which is hollow, was cast by the 
lost- wax process in separate parts (torso, head, 
limbs, genitals). The alloy is 49 percent copper, 
12.5 percent tin, 38 percent lead, and one per- 
cent zinc, with traces of iron; it is characterized 

by its high degree of lead. The metal wall is of 
considerable and consistent thickness (0.6 mm); 
the inside shows those points where the respec- 
tive parts were joined, as well as a few pieces of 
the original core that still adhere. The feet of the 
statue have been left open, and another qua- 
drangular opening occurs at the point of support 
on the pedestal. A projection of bronze is at- 
tached to the figure's left buttock; still preserved 
is part of a lead wedge meant to anchor the stat- 
ue at its base. The overall state of preservation is 
good, although the little and middle fingers of 
the right hand are missing, and the left arm has 
been broken off above the elbow. 

The child is portrayed seated on the ground, 
his left leg bent horizontally, his right leg verti- 
cal and out to the side. His right hand, with 
flattened palm, leans on the ground; his body 
faces left, the head turned upward. Around his 
neck the figure wears a bulla suspended from 
a ring (perhaps meant to represent leather) that 
has no clasp. His hair, without volume, is 
rendered in thick, parallel stripes that emanate 
from the top of the head. The boy's lips are barely 
parted. The irises and pupils of his eyes are 
incised. The modeling is extremely simplified 
and generalized (notice the thick ankles), articu- 
lated by a few engraved lines, added after casting, 

to the wrist, ankles, and abdomen. 

The following inscription — in four lines, of 
which only the last two remain — was incised 
deeply, from right to left, on the outside of the 
left arm after casting (the text, in fact, overlaps 
the seam where the arm joins the shoulder) : 

( ) nas : velusa 

( ) xis selvansl: 

( ) as : ever: 0ve01i 

( ) : clan 

The text says that a certain son of Vel (first name 
of the boy's father) and of a certain 0ve01i (the 
family name of his mother) was the subject of 
this votive offering (ever) to the god Selvans. 
Thus, the statue belongs to the category of ex- 
votos that feature children crouching, nude or 
half nude, in the act of making an offering (of a 
small animal, or fruit) to a divinity. In this group 
from Etruria are several large examples in bronze, 
such as this one and another — also in the Museo 
Gregoriano Etrusco — discovered at Pila near the 
Lago Trasimeno, and some terracottas, such as 
those from Cerveteri (now in the Museo Grego- 
riano Etrusco) and from Vulci (in the Museo 
di Villa Giulia in Rome). A Late Hellenistic 
date (second century b.c.) usually is proposed 
for these objects, but, in reality, the subject 
already was known in Greece in small-scale 
versions beginning in the fifth century b.c, and 
was particularly popular in Etruria in the fourth 
century, where it recurs in decorated mirrors, 
in both the principal and subsidiary scenes. The 
subject figures in depictions of gods and semi- 
divine children (Maris, Hercle) or other beings— 
sometimes winged — and probably of chthonic 
creatures. While scholars await the results of 
current studies of the votive material found at 
the "Ara della Regina," it is best to assign a 
date not later than the first half of the third cen- 
tury b.c. to this piece (which also is supported 
by the inscription). 

The forced tension of the bust and of the head; 
the unmistakable singularity of the closely 
cropped hair; and the animated face of the child, 
who, looking up, "speaks from below" — so dif- 
ferent from those laughing faces of "rococo" 
Hellenistic putti — immediately suggested to 
Passeri the idea (since resurrected by R. Herbig 
and E. Simon, 1965) that the bronze figure rep- 
resents the mythic Tages. Tages was the infant 
seer, the newborn with the face of an old man, 
who suddenly sprang from the earth before the 
eyes of a Tarquinian farmer (according to some 
sources Tarquin, the founder of Tarquinia) and 
revealed to him and to the other Etruscan lead- 
ers gathered together for the purpose the secrets 
of Etruscan religious discipline and, in particular, 
the art of divination (Cicero, De div., II, 23, 50). 

Some scholars object to this hypothesis, stress- 
ing the fact that the name of the boy is given in 
the inscription, and that his "lay" character is 
indicated by the bulla, which marked children 
of free birth. Such a confrontation of opposing 
views is inconclusive. Whomever the small stat- 
ue portrays (and it should be noted that the bulla 
is worn regularly by the divine and semidivine 
in the mirror decorations previously mentioned), 
it is clear that a mythic figure as important as 
Tages very likely heavily influenced the means 
of portraying the infant and of making it a part 
of the official religious iconography in Etruria — 
and, above all, in Tarquinia. One must remem- 


ber that, located in Tarquinia, perhaps only a 
short distance from the place where this remark- 
able votive offering came to light, was the 
"memorial" to the miraculous birth of Tages. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Borgia, Alphabetum veterum etrus- 
corum et nonnulla eorumdem monumenta, Rome, 1771, pp. 
29-31, 37, n. Ill; J.B. Passeri, De pveri etrvsci aheneo 
simvlacro . . . , Rome, 1771; T, Dohrn, in W Helbig, Fiihrer 
dutch die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer 
in Rom: Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und 
Lateran, I, 4th ed, Tubingen, 1963, p. 536-37, no. 717; 
for the inscription: M.Pallottino, Testimonia Linguae Etruscae, 
Florence, 1954, p. 148; for Selvans: D. von Bothmer and 
J. Heurgon, "An Etruscan Bronze in New York" (Fondation 
Eugene Piot, Monuments etMemoires, 61 ), 1977, pp. 44-59; 
for the subject: R. Herbig and E. Simon, Gotter und Ddmonen 
der Etrusker, Mainz, 1965, pp. 30, 48, pi. 47; on the Tages 
monument: M. Torelli, Elogia Tarquiniensia, Florence, 1975, 
pp. 120, 129, 140, n. 5. 



Provenance unknown (Vulci?) 
Mid-2nd century b. c. 

Maximum height, 13 " (33 cm); height of 

head, 9 "Ae" (25 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 14945 

The head, of life size, has suffered abrasions 
where the modeling is in highest relief (as in 
the nose and hair). A large fracture extends from 
the neck along the left side of the head to the 
nape. This area clearly contrasts with the more 
elaborately modeled right side, which assures 
us that the piece comes from a high relief, and 
must, originally, have been seen from below and 
from the right. The head is twisted sharply 
toward the left, suggesting that the thrust of the 
complete figure was toward the right. The promi- 
nent forehead, the deep-set eyes accentuated by 
the strongly demarcated upper lids, and the part- 
ed lips give the face an emotional intensity that 
is unmistakably Hellenistic, as is the wavy hair, 
two locks of which are drawn up from the 
hairline. The headgear, two bands overlapped 
and crisscrossed like a tutulus, has been interpret- 
ed erroneously as a Phrygian cap or a pilos. 

It is difficult to reconstruct the original place- 
ment of this fragment (in which G. von Kasch- 
nitz-Weinberg recognizes Paris or one of the 
Dioskouroi); perhaps it belonged to the pedi- 
ment on the front of a tomb, or projected from 
the side of a capital, similar to the famous exam- 
ple on the so-called Campanari tomb at Vulci. 
The attitude, however, is identical to that of 
the female, winged demons in numerous relief 
friezes on urns from Volterra of the second cen- 
tury B.C. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. von Kaschnitz- Weinberg, Lescuiture 
del magazzino del Museo Vaticano, Vatican City, 1937, pp. 
251-52, n. 582, pi. XCIII; T. Dohrn, in W Helbig, Fiihrer 
durch die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer 
in Rom: Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und 
Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, pp. 471-72, no. 607. 




First half of the 3rd century b. c. 

Height: overall, 13 Vs " (34. 7cm); head, 6 n /i 6 " (1 7cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Inv. no. 14107 

This bust, together with the votive heads and 
the statue previously discussed (cat. nos. 115, 
117, 118), was excavated in the early nineteenth 
century at the site of the ancient Etruscan city 
of Caere (in Etruscan, ceizra) in the Vignali area. 
(All four objects came to the Vatican in 1826.) 
Before being set aside in one of the favisae, or 
votive deposits, the bust, originally, must have 
been placed in one of the numerous temples 
whose existence R. Mengarelli ascertained in the 
course of excavations and studies conducted dur- 
ing the first half of the twentieth century. 

The work, which was executed by hand- and 
finished with a modeling tool, represents a 
woman of about thirty. Her pose is strictly frontal, 
and her head inclines slightly to the left. Her 
upward gaze is common to such portraits. She 
wears a light, pleated undergarment, with a 
V-form neckline; a cape, falling in vertical folds 
over the left shoulder; and earrings (which one 
must imagine as gold) made of a tubular hoop 
ending in a lion's head. The exceedingly simple 
hairdo accords with the directness of the portrait. 
Her hair, parted in the middle, rises up at the 
top of her forehead in two locks — the right one 
is restored — and then falls close to the skull, 
behind her ears, where some is gathered in a 
small chignon at the nape and some reaches 
her shoulders. Two locks of hair curl in front at 
her temples. 

The woman's physiognomy is characterized 
by a high forehead, a large chin and nose, strong 
cheekbones, and hollowed cheeks (the right one 
has a small scar). Irises and pupils are marked 
by light incisions. Reconstructed from fragments, 
the bust lacks the right shoulder and the left 
earring, and it has a few abrasions and gaps 
in the hair. 

What is striking, in this apparent effort to 
present the truth, is the vague, unfocused expres- 
sion that links this bust to those mass-produced 
with molds (see cat. nos. 115, 117, 118), which 

less well-to-do worshipers left behind after their 
visits to the sacred places of the Etruscan and Ital- 
ic cults. This faithful portrait — unquestionably 
individualized — is exceptional, cut, as it is, at the 
shoulders. Such a form is, in fact, common in 
Latium and in Magna Graecia for both votive 
and funeral portraits, but it is rare in Etruria. 
Instead, in Etruria it is much more usual to find 
—besides ex-votos reproducing various parts of 
the human body — the features of the votary re- 
duced to just the head or, sometimes, even to 
only one side of the head, shown in profile. 

This portrait has been dated between the end 
of the second and the beginning of the first cen- 
tury b.c. Nonetheless, the date of the earring, 
clearly recognizable as a type of Greek-Italiote 
object found in Tarentine tombs of the fourth 
century b.c, makes one reconsider. This detail 
coincides with the already indicated Latin — and, 
perhaps indirectly, southern Italian — correspon- 
dences for the bust. Moreover, the preference to 
represent a more ethically attractive reality rath- 
er than an aesthetically pleasing one seems to 
place the sculpture in that "central Italic" por- 
trait tradition better known through its male 
examples, such as the Capitoline Brutus and 
other portraits in bronze and terracotta, with 
which, by now, the Vatican bust is commonly 

We should consider this sculpture an excep- 
tional work, an expression of the taste of the 
aristocracy that might have existed at Caere — 
a cultivated and precociously philo-Roman 
city — in the middle of the Republican era. I 
propose a date for the bust within the first half 
of the third century b.c. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Dohrn, in W Helbig, Fiihrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: 
Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 
4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, pp. 589-90, no. 799; M. F. Kilmer, 
The Shoulder Bust in Sicily and South and Central Italy: A 
Catalogue and Materials for Dating ( Studies in Mediterranean 
Archaeology, LI), Goteborg, 1977, pp. 228-29, n. 112, figs. 
183-185; for the earrings: G. Becatti, Oreflcerie antiche dalle 
minoiche alle barbariche, Rome, 1955, p. 194, n. 376, 
pi. XCVIII; for the Capitoline Brutus: F. Zevi, in Roma Medio 
Repubblicana, Rome, 1973, pp. 31-32, n. 1. 






The names of two popes are connected with the 
founding of new museums for classical antiqui- 
ties in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: 
The family name of Pius VII (1800-1823) 
distinguishes the Museo Chiaramonti, and Greg- 
ory XVI ( 1 83 1 - 46) gave the Museo Gregoriano 
Profano in the Palazzo Lateranense both its name and its 
purpose. The first- named museum comprises the easterly corri- 
dor connecting the Papal Palace with the Palazzetto del Bel- 
vedere and the new structure called the Braccio Nuovo. The 
other was set up in the Palazzo Lateranense as a "national 
museum" of the papal states; it remained there for nearly 
one hundred and twenty years, until, in 1963, its collections 
were transferred to the Vatican. 

When Pius VII entered Rome on July 3, 1800, after hav- 
ing been elected pope in Venice on March 14, he found that 
the Vatican Museum contained only the empty pedestals on 
which antique statues and busts had stood. One, therefore, 
can understand how the pope, in 1801, would wish to forbid 
the statue of Perseus, just completed in Rome by Antonio 
Canova, to be taken out of the papal states. Instead, he bought 
it himself for 3,000 zecchini, and had it placed on the pedes- 
tal of the Apollo Belvedere in the Cortile Ottagono, "Cura Pii 
VII" ("thanks to the providence of Pius VII"), as an inscription 
on its base proclaims. Perseus holds up the head of the Medu- 
sa triumphantly in his left hand, while, in his lowered right 
hand, he carries his sickle-shaped sword — the pose unmis- 
takably borrowed from the Apollo Belvedere. In 1802, Canova 
was entrusted with the supervision of monuments through- 
out the entire state. He created the Museo Chiaramonti, and 
he commissioned young painters from the Accademia di San 
Luca to represent the glorious deeds of the Chiaramonti pope 
in the lunettes of the museum's gallery. 

The inscription under the painting depicting the gallery 
of the new museum founded by Pius VII reads: mvsevm • 

claramontanvm/pioclementino • adebctvm. It was painted by 
Filippo Agricola (fig. 39). The winged genius of the arts ap- 
pears seated in the center. He has placed his left arm gently 
and encouragingly across the shoulders of a putto, whose 
attributes mark him as being representative of Sculpture. With 
his extended right hand the genius points to the entrance of 
the Museo Chiaramonti. One clearly can recognize the two 
columns at the entrance to the Galleria Lapidaria, behind 
which various antique statues on grave altars are visible. Op- 
posite the genius are two additional putti, their attributes 
associating them with Architecture and Painting. The latter 
holds an unrolled scroll in front of his picture frame inscribed 
pivs • vn / p • m • / a[nno] • vii, with the date of the depict- 
ed event, the opening of the new museum in the years 1806-7. 

In the following year, 1808, the first part of an ambi- 
tious catalogue appeared: // Museo Chiaramonti aggiunto al 
Pio-Clementino , by Filippo Aurelio Visconti and Giuseppe An- 
tonio Guattani. The introduction speaks of "this collection 
of ancient inscriptions, of which Europe sees no other that 
is similar. ..." Gaetano Marini (1740-1815) arranged the 
more than 3,300 stone inscriptions according to thematic 
context and title. He placed the profane inscriptions on the 
east side of the corridor facing the city, and the Christian 
ones on the opposite wall facing the courtyard. With respect 
to the exhibition of the sculptures, one reads in the same 
introduction: "We have differed in the disposition of the monu- 
ments from the system of the Museo Pio-Clementino, for, in 
ours, the statues, busts, [and] reliefs are combined, in order 
to deal comprehensively with each subject. " It was attempted, 
therefore, to group the sculptures according to theme. The 
walls are divided by a simple arrangement of pilasters. There 
are nearly one thousand sculptures and fragments, their origi- 
nal installation by and large preserved even today: statues of 
gods and portrait sculptures, busts and herms, altars and ar- 
chitectural ornaments, urns and sarcophagi. The disposition 



of the sculptures within the individual compartments is gov- 
erned by the laws of symmetry; compartments with only 
three large statues alternate with others displaying a quantity 
of busts, heads, and fragments. Opposite walls correspond to 
each other in the organization of the compartments; however, 
portraits and heads with portrait-like features predominate 
on the east wall (the city side), while on the west wall (the 
courtyard side) one finds primarily idealized sculptures. The 
Greek tomb relief depicting a mounted rider (see cat. no. 
122) was also exhibited in the Museo Chiaramonti in 1823; 
it had been acquired by the cardinal-camerlengo one year 
after Canova's death and remained there until 1960, when, 
in the course of gathering together the few Greek originals in 
the Vatican for didactic purposes, the horseman was trans- 
ferred to the Salette degli Originali Greci. 

With the fall of Napoleon, in 1815, the return of the 
works of art from Paris became a possibility. At the urging of 
Cardinal- Secretary of State Consalvi, who represented Rome's 
interests at the Congress of Vienna, Pius VII dispatched Cano- 
va to Paris. The understandable resistance on the part of the 
French commissioners was only overcome with the energetic 
support of the representatives of the Protestant countries — 
above all, William Richard Hamilton, Wilhelm von Humboldt, 
and the Duke of Wellington. Their efforts ensured the trans- 
port of these treasures back to Rome. 

The return of the ancient sculptures to Rome permitted 
Pius VII to realize his plans for the expansion of the museum 
that had been developing since 1806. The architect of the 
Apostolic See, Raffaele Stern, brought them to an adequate 
solution in 1817. Stern's presentation of his designs to the 
pope is depicted as an event from the year 1818 in a wall 
fresco by Domenico De Angelis in the Sala Clementina of 
the Vatican Library (fig. 40). Below the fresco is the inscrip- 
tion (in Latin): "By order of Pius VII, the Museum and Li- 
brary were connected by a lofty portal and a chamber built 

from the foundations, where the collected works were placed, 
in the year 1818. " The setting of the scene is at the entrance 
leading from the Galleria Lapidaria into the Museo Chiara- 
monti. Behind the pope one can already see the door open- 
ing into the Braccio Nuovo, and the coat of arms of Pius VII 
above it, with the dedicatory inscription (in Latin) : "Pius VII 
Pontifex Maximus built a new space, intended for the dis- 
play of the works recovered and collected by him, in the 
eighteenth year of his pontificate." 

The Braccio Nuovo connects the two long, corridor-like 
wings of Bramante's courtyard plan. Its interior is repro- 
duced most impressively in the engraving by Antonio 
Acquaroni (fig. 41). The middle point is developed as a 
central space, with a dome and apses, while the two arms, 
covered by coffered barrel vaulting, stress the essence of the 
whole as an extended corridor. The walls and ceiling are 
arranged and decorated in the antique manner, the exhibited 
sculptures forming an integral part of the system of 
ornamentation. The statues are set quite regularly in the niches, 
alternating with busts of nearly identical height, on fragments 
of columns also of approximately the same height. Above, 
between the arches of the niches, there is a regular repetition 
of busts placed on consoles, and, at the top, a plaster frieze 
that is not antique, although its composition and motifs are 
modeled carefully after antique examples. These reliefs were 
created by Maximilien Laboureur. The interior receives its 
sole illumination from overhead, through the apex of the 
vaulting. Early- nineteenth-century taste deemed it best to dis- 
play antique sculptures in this way, providing them with a 
classical context. When the Braccio Nuovo first opened, the 
Portrait Statue in the Form of Omphale (see cat. no. 133) was 
displayed there, as was the Augustus of Prima Porta (see cat. 
no. 128) , in the very year that it was discovered. The Augustus 
replaced a statue of Asklepios that had been exhibited in the 
Braccio Nuovo from 1833 to 1863. 


In the opinion of Pope Gregory XVI, it was not enough 
that the Vatican Museums enriched the "Magnificenza" of 
the Eternal City and maintained its primacy in the three arts of 
architecture, sculpture, and painting; this was praiseworthy, 
but it could not be everything. "These images of false gods, 
these likenesses of consuls, of emperors, of men in togas 
[togati], who either did not know, or who persecuted the 
Christian religion, at a glance, they likewise can be seen as 
the spoils of defeated enemies, as trophies of the victory won 
by the Cross over idolatry and idolators." 

One such "trophy" is the statue of Sophokles (see cat. 
no. 131). It was a gift to Gregory XVI in 1839 from the 
Antonelli family of Terracina. Since this portrait statue could 
be given no appropriate place in the existing museums in the 
Vatican and on the Campidoglio — although the sculpture 
was one of the noblest to have survived from antiquity — the 
pope used the necessity for providing a worthy setting for 
the Sophokles as the justification for establishing the Museo 
Gregoriano Profano in the Palazzo Lateranense, which just 
then was being restored. The antique finds from the papal 
states, primarily from Rome, Cerveteri (Caere) , Veii, and Ostia, 
which had been collecting in the storerooms of the Vatican 
because of the Pacca Edict of April 7, 1820, were now moved 
to the Palazzo Lateranense and set up in the ground-floor 
rooms. On May 16, 1844, the Feast of the Ascension, the 
Museo Gregoriano Profano Lateranense ceremoniously was 
opened. When the papal states were dissolved in 1870, this 
museum no longer had the same function, and it now stood 
outside the territorial possessions of the pope. With the for- 
mation of the Italian state, the Museo Nazionale Romano 
delle Terme became the repository of new finds. To be sure, a 
few small territories remained under the sovereignty of the 
Vatican, as a result of the Lateran Treaty of 1929, among 
them the Palazzo della Cancelleria on the Corso Vittorio 
Emanuele. When foundation work became necessary on this 
structure in 1937 — and, for this purpose, excavations were 
made beneath it — the remains of the tomb monument of 
Aulus Hirtius and some large Roman friezes were discovered 
at a depth of more than sixteen feet. One of the latter reliefs 
is the Frieze of the "Altar of the Vicomagistri" (see cat. no. 
130). The relief slabs were placed in the Vatican, and, since 
1970, have been exhibited in the newly built Museo 
Gregoriano Profano. 

On the eve of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John 
XXIII (1958-63) contemplated giving more importance to 
his bishop's seat in San Giovanni in Laterano. He expressed 
such a wish on June 24, 1962, the Feast of Saint John the 
Baptist, in an address in the basilica: "The Pope, Bishop of 
Rome, consolidating the offices of the Administration of the 
Diocese near the basilican cathedral, the gleaming Lateran 
[Lateranum fulgens], and disposing of the palaces that sur- 
round it, would be able to collect there, with more breathing 
space, all or almost all of the organization of the Diocese of 
Rome." On February 1, 1963, the museums in the Palazzo 
Lateranense were closed and the collections immediately 
moved to the Vatican. To house them, a new wing was erect- 
ed to the north of the Pinacoteca, connected to the existing 
museum complex that had evolved through the centuries. 


The task was accomplished by the Passarelli firm of architects. 
An attempt was made to use this opportunity to sort, separate, 
and reorganize the artistic heritage and to present it in a new 
way. Thus, this newly established museum differs in kind 
and in arrangement from the older sculpture galleries in the 
Vatican, standing in sharpest contrast to them. The Museo 
Pio-Clementino and the Museo Chiaramonti with the Brac- 
cio Nuovo, which have remained virtually unchanged in 
structure, not only display their antique sculpture but pre- 
sent it in the manner in which it was understood in the sec- 
ond half of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the 
nineteenth. On June 1 5 , 1 9 70 , the Museo Gregoriano Profano 
once again became accessible in the Vatican. The dedicatory 
inscription (in Latin) at its entrance proclaims: "These most 
remarkable monuments . . . John XXIII Pontifex Maximus 
wished to have fittingly and suitably transferred to this place 
built as a great undertaking and Roman enterprise near the 
glorious memorial to Saint Peter." 

Georg Daltrop 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: On the Museo Chiaramonti: II Museo Ciaramonti aggiunto al Pio- 
Clementino da N. S. Pio VII p.m., I, con I'esplicazione de'sigg. F. A. Visconti e G. A. Guattani, 
Rome, 1808, 77, con la dichiarazione di A. Nibby, Rome, 1837, 777, con la dichiarazione 
di A. Nibby e i monumenti descritti da L. Biondi, Rome, 1843; R A. Visconti and G.A. 
Guattani, II museo Chiaramonti, Milan, 1820 (Vol. I above, in smaller format, with 
foreword by G. Labus); E. Massi, Museo Chiaramonti al Vaticano, Rome, 1858; 
B. Nogara, "II Card. Ercole Consalvi e le antichita e le belle arti," in Nel I centenario della 
morte del Card. Ercole Consalvi 24 gennaio 1924, Rome, 1925, pp. 84-101; C Pietrangeli, 
"I musei Vaticani dopo Tolentino," in Strenna dei Romanisti, 1975, pp. 354-59; 
U. Hiesinger, "Canova and the Frescoes of the Galleria Chiaramonti," in The Burlington 
Magazine, 120, 1978, pp. 655-65; C. Pietrangeli, "U primo regolamento dei musei 
Vaticani," in Strenna dei Romanisti, 1981, pp. 362-73; on the Museo Gregoriano Profano 
Lateranense: R. Garrucci, Monumenti del Museo Lateranense descritti e illustrati, Rome, 
1861; O. Benndorf and R. Schone, Die antiken Bildwerke des lateranensischen Museums, 
Leipzig, 1867; 0. Marucchi, Guida del Museo Lateranense profano e cristiano, Rome, 
1922; E. Josi, "II Museo Gregoriano Lateranense," in Gregorio XVI, Miscellanea 
commemorativa a cura dei padri Camaldolesi di S. Gregorio al Celio, I, Rome, 1948, pp. 
201-21; E Mancinelli and E Roncalli, "Trasferimento delle raccolte lateranensi al 
vaticano," in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, I, 1 (1959-74), 
1977, pp. 15-29, and also in Rendiconti della PontificiaAccademia di Archeologia, 48, 1975/76, 
pp. 401-15. 







Boeotia, c. 430 b.c. 

Height, 27 9 A 6 " (70cm); width, 22 «///' (58cm); 

depth, 6V,6-3 9 / i6 " (16-9 cm) 
Museo Gregoriatio Etrusco, Saletta degli Originali 

Greci, Inv. no. 1684 

The horse and rider belonged to a large grave 
relief. Only the neck and the upper portion of 
the head of the horse are preserved; missing from 
the rider are his right calf and foot and the part 
of his garment that would billow back. The nose 
and wrist of the rider and the ear of the horse 
have been restored. In the upper-right-hand cor- 
ner of the block, a piece has been added with 
the inscription "1823.cc.30," the date of its ac- 
quisition by the cardinal-camerlengo. (The 
cardinal-camerlengo supervises the property and 
temporal rights of the Holy See.) 

This fragment of a stele was brought back from 
Greece as war booty by the Venetians, under 
Francesco Morosini, in 1687. It was owned by 
Doge Marcantonio Giustiniani, and later became 
part of the collection in the Palazzo Giustiniani 
in Rome. At the suggestion of the commission 
on monuments, in 1823 it was obtained by the 

cardinal-camerlengo for the Vatican Museums, 
through the efforts of Vicenzo Camuccini, and, 
until 1960, it was displayed in the Museo 
Chiaramonti (XXXI, 17). 

A bearded, mature man is riding a spirited 
horse bareback. The rider appears to be calm 
and self-assured. He sits upright, looking direct- 
ly ahead. He wears a short chiton and the 
chlarnys, or mantle, buttoned at the right shoul- 
der. His extended fist held the rein, which, 
presumably, was of bronze, and has been lost. 
The close-reined horse holds its head high. Its 
cropped mane is splendidly portrayed. Below 
the horse's head are the folds of a cloak that 
must belong to another rider. 

In style, the relief shows the direct influence 
of the Parthenon frieze and of the art of Pheidias. 
The play offerees between the impetuous horse, 
with its large eye, and the relaxed rider constitutes 
the charm of the work. 

Funerary monuments were among the most 
important forms of Greek sculpture. As memori- 
als to specific individuals, they provided sculptors 
with the opportunity to confer permanence on 
the deceased while expressing universal, rather 
than specific, human characteristics. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vati- 
canischen Museums, I, Berlin, 1903, pp. 533-34, no. 372 A, 
pi. 58; W. Helbig, Ftihrer dutch die offentlichen Samm- 
lungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed.Jiibingen, 
1963, no. 871. 


Presumably from 'tyndaris (Sicily), early 4th 

century b. c. 
Marble (Pentelic ?) 

Height, 21 'A" (54 cm); width, 24 Vz" (62. 7cm); 

depth, 1 Vie" (4 cm) 
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Sala Clementina, 

Inv. no. 4092 

Except for the upper- right corner, the relief is 
completely preserved. The missing reins possibly 
were represented by strips of bronze, to which 
the hole for attachment on the horse's neck 
would attest, or they might have been painted 
on, as was also the case with the strap of the 
petasos (or broad-brimmed hat). 

Ceremoniously excavated in Pompeii in the 
presence of Pius IX, in 1849, and presented to 
the pope as a gift by Ferdinand II, King of the 
Two Sicilies, the relief appears to have been 
buried there only a short time before, planted — 
as it were — for the pope to find. It is assumed 
to have come from the storerooms of the Naples 
museum, where antique sculptures from Tyndaris 
are believed to have been transferred just before. 

A young rider is represented, without a saddle, 
reining in his horse. He swings a whip in his 
right hand, while, in his left, he must have held 
the reins. He wears a chiton and a chlamys fas- 
tened on his right shoulder, a petasos, and 
sandals. The horse rears up on its hind legs, its 
forelegs extended well forward and its neck 
arched back. 

The dynamic of the composition, based upon 
and suffused by the contrasting strengths of horse 
and rider, is developed in even the slightest 
details. The competing wills of man and animal 
are ultimately tested in the moment of reining 
in, the violent motion of which is imparted by 
the diagonals, although the whole forms a bal- 
anced unity. This harmony of freedom and con- 
straint is characteristic of Greek classicism of 
about 400 b.c. 

In format, this small relief, with its projecting 
edge and cyma at the top, belongs to the class of 
votive sculptures that were set up in a sanctuary 
as testimony to a solemn pledge. If it does, in fact, 
come from Tyndaris — named after the sons of 
Tyndareus, the Tyndaridae or Dioskouroi — it is 
likely that the work was consecrated to the Dios- 
kouroi, or even to Kastor, the horse tamer, alone. 

The respect enjoyed by horsemanship in Ath- 
ens during the Classic period of the fifth and 
fourth centuries b.c. is evidenced by the numer- 
ous representations of horsemen, such as the 
previous grave relief (see cat. no. 122) and, most 
notably, the Parthenon frieze, but the writings 
of Simon and Xenophon tell us even more, espe- 
cially the latter, who, for the benefit of young 
people, recorded his experiences and his thoughts 
on horsemanship, after a lifetime of dealing with 
horses. According to Xenophon, a parade horse 
must possess a "noble soul" and a "powerful 
body" (xfiv i|/oxf|v ueyaXotppova Kai to u&\ia 

This vivid image of a rider on a rearing horse 
represents the new and bold manner in which 


the theme was expressed in the fifth to the fourth 
century b.c. It provided an important source of 
inspiration for the artists of the Renaissance — 
above all, for Leonardo da Vinci — and was trans- 
fused with Baroque pathos in the art of Bernini 
and of Etienne Maurice Falconet. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P Arndt and G. Lippold, in Brunn- 
Bruckmann, Die Denkmdler griechischer und romischer 
Sculptur, Munich, pi. 729 (rt.); W Helbig, Fiihrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Alterttimer in Rom: 
Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th 
ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 471; F. Magi, "La stele greca della 
Biblioteca Vaticana," in Melanges Eugbie Tisserant, III, Vati- 
can City, 1964, pp. 1-9, pi. 1; G. Daltrop, in L. von Matt, 
Die Kunstsammlungen der Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 
Cologne, 1969, pp. 11-12, 165, pi. 2. 



Roman copy (2nd century a. d.), after a Greek 

original of c. 429 b.c. 
Pentelic marble 
Height, 72 'A 6 " (183 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala delleMuse, 

Inv. no. 269 

The portrait herm is recomposed out of four 
pieces: the face; the back of the head, with the 
helmet; and the upper and lower portions of 
the shaft. In 1780, it was restored and recon- 
structed by Giuseppe Pierantoni, who added the 
tip of the nose, the right cheek portion and the 
lower point of the left cheek of the helmet, and 

the left shoulder with part of the armpit. 

The herm was excavated in April 1779 on the 
site of the so-called Villa of Cassius, south of 
Tivoli, where, four years before, the statues of 
the Muses and the Apollo Musagetes (see cat. nos. 
54-56) had come to light. At the pope' s behest, 
Giovanni Corradi, Inspector of Excavations in 
the papal states, carried out the excavations for 
the Vatican Museums. That May, in the same 
excavation, a replica of the Herm of Perikles was 
found that was sold through Gavin Hamilton to 
the Townley Collection as a duplicate, later to 
be acquired by the British Museum. 

The Greek inscription on the shaft, "Perikles, 
son of Xanthippos, the Athenian," identifies the 
portrait as the statesman who was born about 
500 b.c. and died of the plague in Athens in 
429 b.c. The Corinthian helmet shows the man 
as a strategos, or commander-in-chief, the official 
position to which Perikles was elected fifteen 
times, and whereby he established the base of 
his power to influence the Athenian state. Crit- 
ics of Perikles called him "onionhead" because 
of the anomalous shape of his skull, a fault that, 
according to Plutarch (Perikles 3), artists sought 
to conceal by means of the helmet. In fact, in the 
Vatican copy locks of Perikles' hair are visible 
through the eyeholes of the Corinthian helmet, 
which has been pushed back from his face. 

Four other Roman copies of this portrait head 
are known. Among them, the present example 
is distinguished by clean, clear, and precise 
workmanship, particularly in the representation 
of the hair and beard, and it seems to have cap- 
tured most faithfully the severity of the orig- 
inal — which, in all probability, was a bronze 
statue; one may visualize the original in terms 

of the bronze statues recently discovered in the 
sea off Riace. The herm-and-bust portrait is a 
Roman invention, an abbreviation of portrait 
statues. According to Pausanias (I, 25, 1; I, 28, 
2), such a portrait statue stood on the Akropolis 
in Athens, and Pliny (Nat. Hist. , 34, 74) relates 
that it was created by Kresilas, who, along with 
Pheidias and Polykleitos, was one of the famous 
bronze sculptors of the fifth century b.c (The 
original base of the statue may be preserved on 
the Athenian Akropolis.) Pliny finds the art of 
Kresilas remarkable, particularly the portrait of 
the Olympian Perikles, because it makes noble 
men even more superior: "nobiles viros no- 
biliores fecit." 

The Greeks invented and developed the clas- 
sic art of depicting an individual in a portrait. 
The artists of the fifth century b.c explored the 
manifold aspects of man's outward appearance 
in images that became portraits. In the statue of 
Perikles on the Akropolis, Kresilas created one 
of the first portraits, through the characteriza- 
tion of individual peculiarities, such as the shape 
of the skull. The contemporary historian Thu- 
cydides has Perikles say of himself: "As concerns 
the public estimation of the individual, it is not 
the fact that one belongs to a higher class that 
places one at an advantage in the community, 
but solely one's personal ability" (Thucydides 
11,37). G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatican- 
ischen Museums, III, 1, Berlin, 1936, pp. 86-89, no. 
525, pi. 15; W Helbig, Fiihrer durch die offentlichen Samm- 
lungen klassischer Alterttimer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen 
Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 
1963, no. 71; G. M. A. Richter, The Portraits of the Greeks, I, 
London, 1965, pp. 102-4, no. 1, ills. 432, 433, 435. 

124 (detail) 




Roman copies (2nd century a. d.), after a Greek 
bronze group by Myron, c. 440 b.c. 

125. ATHENA 

Pentelic marble 

Height, 58 'Vie" (149 cm); width, 20 Vie" (51 cm); 

depth, 11 'Vie" (30 cm) 
Collection of the Lancellotti Family 

The statue is completely preserved except for 
the head — which, originally, was worked sep- 
arately — and the right arm and shoulder. The 
left arm, in all probability the original, also was 
worked separately and has been fitted on; at 
the elbow and in the forearm it has been cleanly 
cut through. The only other repairs have been 
to the ends of the drapery folds, which, in part, 
have fallen off. 

The Athena belongs to the family of Massimo 
Lancellotti, who owned the Villa Peretti on the 
Esquiline where this sculpture once stood. 


Pentelic marble 

Height: overall, including base, 61 7 Vie" (171 cm); 

statue, 61 Vie" (156 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. no. 9974 

The statue is almost completely preserved, ex- 
cept for the two arms (incorrectly restored dur- 
ing the second quarter of the nineteenth century 
and removed in 1925). Both ears, the left calf, 
and the front portion of the right foot, together 
with the part of the plinth just below it, are 
restored. The neck, the left thigh and foot, and 
the right calf below the knee and above the ankle 
are broken, as is the docked tail, which was sure- 
ly long, originally, for traces of it still can be 
seen on the left thigh. 

The Marsyas was excavated in April 1823 by 
Ignazio Vescovali on the Esquiline, in the Via 
dei Quattro Cantoni, No. 46-48, and was ac- 
quired by the cardinal -camerlengo in 1824, as 
the inscription on the base relates: "1824.cc. 
312. " A further inscription, mvnificentia • pii • 
ix • pont • max, alludes to the fact that the 
statue was placed in the Museo Gregoriano 
Profano in 1852 — specifically, in the Palazzo 
Lateranense, Sala VII, 379 — where it stood until 
1963. Since 1970 it has been in the Vatican 


Pentelic marble 

Height, 6V 4 " (17.2 cm); width, 4 Vie" (11.3 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. no. 9970 

Most of the face and the cheeks as far as the 
ears are preserved. The forehead, hair, helmet, 
and neck have been restored in plaster, follow- 
ing other copies of this head type in Frankfort 


and in Dresden. The nose, mouth, and chin are 

The head, who.se provenance is unknown, was 
discovered and identified by Walther Amelung 
in the sculpture storerooms of the Vatican in 
1922. It was exhibited in the Cortile Ottagono 
in 1935-36; in the Museo Gregoriano Profano, 
in the Palazzo Lateranense, from 1948 to 1963; 
and, since 1970, in the Vatican. 


The naked, bearded man obviously belongs to 
the order of satyrs and sileni by virtue of his 
shaggy appearance; his horse 's tail and his point- 
ed ears have been accurately restored. Athena 
is clearly recognizable from her helmet; the fact 
that the head and body belong together is ap- 
parent from the Frankfort copy. The pertinence 
of one statue to the other is established by their 
respective size and interaction. The attitude of 
the satyr reveals that he is advancing delicately 
and inquisitively, but, at the same time, his face 
and his raised right arm express a sudden hesita- 
tion and recoil. Athena represents the opposite 
pole from this woodland creature. She stands 
firmly and with dignity on her right foot, her 
peplos falling to her toes; only the ball of her 
left foot touches the ground, as if she is about to 
step away. Her face is turned sharply left, in- 
clined in the direction of her exposed foot. She 
holds her left arm down at her side, her fingers 
extended in a gesture of command. Neither figure 
makes sense alone, but each refers to the other. 

The ancient poets recount the goddess's en- 
counter with Marsyas: Athena invented the 


aulos (a reed instrument). Marsyas crept up to 
the goddess while she was playing it, and, when 
she flung down the instrument and cursed it, 
he leapt back in fright, but without letting the 
musical instrument at his feet out of sight. His 
determination to possess the instrument proved 
to be his undoing. Once he mastered it, he chal- 
lenged Apollo to a musical contest, lost, and, in 
accordance with Athena's curse, was flayed alive. 

In style and composition, the sculptures were 
designed specifically to capture this confronta- 
tion between Athena and Marsyas, the group 
and its details conceived in relation to each other. 
Though these figures are copies, the strong con- 
trapposto and the rhythmic interplay of the ele- 
ments of the original composition are clearly 
perceptible here. 

Myron of Eleutherai — along with Pheidias 
and Polykleitos one of the best-known Athe- 

nian sculptors of bronze in the fifth century b.c. 
— created an Athena-Marsyas group that was 
placed on the Akropolis in Athens; this we can 
determine by combining the testimony of two 
writers from antiquity, Pliny and Pausanias. The 
group is reflected in a contemporary Attic vase 
painting in which two auloi are shown in mid- 
air, falling between Athena and Marsyas; this 
moment was denied to the sculptor in his three- 
dimensional representation. 

These marble copies of Myron's Athena- 
Marsyas group are of extreme importance, inas- 
much as they permit us a glimpse of a lost mas- 
terpiece of Greek sculpture that was mentioned 
in the ancient literature and alluded to in con- 
temporary vase painting. In essence, Marsyas 
and Athena embody the confrontation between 
an orgiastic world of intoxication and one of 
melodic Olympian clarity and purity. The fig- 

ures are composed in such a way that they do 
not merely stand next to each other, as in ar- 
chaic representations; rather, they are linked, 
not by a common action (as, for example, in the 
"tyrannicides group by Kritios and Nesiotes), but 
through opposing forces. The meeting between 
Athena and Marsyas is depicted at the moment 
when impending fate — the seizing of the wind 
instrument — perhaps, still could be averted. 
The open space in the center of the composition 
is left free for the musical instrument — the rea- 
son for the confrontation, yet, at the same time, 
the key to Marsyas's "tragedy. " 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. A. Weis, "The 'Marsyas' of Myron: 
Old Problems and New Evidence," in American Journal of 
Archaeology, 83, 1979, pp. 214-19; G. Daltrop, // gruppo 
mironiano di Athena e Marsia nei Musei Vaticani, Vatican 
City, 1980. 



Borne, about the time of the birth of Christ 
Luni marble, with traces of ancient polychromy 
Height: overall, including base, 86 l A" (219 cm); 

statue, 81 W (207cm); head, 11 Vie" (29 cm) 
Braccio Nuovo, Inv. no. 2290 

Under the direction of the Roman sculptor Pietro 
Tenerani, this superbly preserved statue, slight- 
ly larger than life, was restored only minimally 
— most noticeably, in the fingers of the right hand 
and the forefinger of the left hand. The plinth 
has been set into a modern base. Significant are 
the traces of paint, which must have been more 
obvious when the statue was discovered; the 
use of a reddish circle to indicate the iris of the 
eye is especially noteworthy. The head was carved 
separately. The back of the statue is not finished, 
its reliefs incomplete (the tropaion, or victory 
monument, and Nike's wings) , suggesting that, 
originally, the Augustus was placed in a niche. 

On the Via Flaminia, above the village of 
Prima Porta, some nine miles north of Rome, 
this armored statue was discovered on April 20, 
1863, in the ruins of the Villa "ad Gallinas 
Albas," which belonged at one time to Livia, 
the second wife of Augustus. On September 1, 
1863, in the eighteenth year of the pontificate 
of Pius IX, the Augustus was installed in the Brac- 
cio Nuovo. The first custodian recorded a visit 
from the pope two days later: "After the Holy 
Father had studied it carefully, he praised the 
work of the armor, the head, and especially the 

From the portrait head, the figure can be iden- 
tified without doubt as Augustus. Characteristic 
is the way his hair is worn on his foi chead, with 
a part over his left eye and a double lock over 
his right. He is portrayed as a general, for, on 
top of the short undergarment, he wears parade 
armor embellished with reliefs, and around his 
hips he has draped his paludamentum, or 

officer's cloak. The fingers of the right hand have 
been restored in such a way that they suggest 
the gesture of ad locutio, or address, but it is also 
possible that the right hand once held a lance 
(hasta). A scepter has been placed in the left 
hand, but a sword is more likely to have been 
there originally; the battle standard recaptured 
from the Parthians is also a possibility. The re- 
turn of this standard, which had been lost in 53 
b.c. under Crassus, forms the central scene in 
the relief on the breastplate. The Parthian is sur- 
rendering it to the Roman in military dress. 
Above this scene is the sky-god Caelus and the 
quadriga with the sun-god Sol, preceded by Au- 
rora with a torch and the Morning Dew with a 
jug. Mother Earth reclines below, with a cornu- 
copia, a garland of wheat, and two frolicking 
children. A god approaches from either side: 
Apollo, with his lyre, riding a griffin; Diana, with 
a torch, seated on a stag. On either side of the 
central scene are long-haired seated figures, per- 
sonifications of Roman provinces: the conquered 
one with an empty sheath, the unconquered with 
a sword. The dolphin with the small Amor that 
functions as a support evokes the sea-born Venus, 
who, as Venus Genetrix, was the revered ances- 
tress of the imperial house. 

Every aspect of the sculpture is developed not 
for its own sake, but for its allegorical and sym- 
bolic value. The Doryphoros of Polykleitos — 
which the Romans thought of as "effigies 
Achillea" (Pliny, Nat. Hist., 34, 18)— was the 
model for the statue type. Though certain details, 
such as the raised arm, have been changed, the 
image of the Doryphoros is still present, as in 
the stylized treatment of the hair. 

This Augustus is not an original work, but, 
rather, a reworking of classical models — as was 
typical of Attic workshops about 20 b.c. 
(when the banner lost by Crassus was peace- 
ably returned to Augustus). It would appear to 
have been based on a bronze original that Livia 

had placed in her villa outside the gates of Rome. 
Originally, the statue must have honored Au- 
gustus for his diplomatic victory in achieving 
the return of the standard on peaceful terms. 
This success, worthy of a triumph, made more 
of an impression than an actual victory in battle 
would have, in Rome. "Your age, Augustus, per- 
mitted the fields to bear rich harvests once more, 
and returned to our skies the battle standards, 
wrenched from the proud barbarians" (Horace, 
Carmina, IV, 15, 4-7). 

Art has become the purveyor of an idea. The 
grandeur of the Roman imperium is personified 
by the emperor. Augustus announces the end 
of an earlier humiliation with a bloodless victory 
and the recognition of the preeminence of Rome. 
He demonstrates his successful politics of peace, 
the pax augusta, which Virgil (Aeneid, VI, 851 - 
853) formulated as Rome's destiny: 

Remember thou, O Roman, to rule the 

nations with thy sway — 
these shall be thine arts — to crown 

peace with law, 
to spare the humbled, and to tame in war 

the proud. 

And, in fact, with the advent of the Emperor 
Augustus, a new age began: "And it came to 
pass in those days, that there went out a decree 
from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should 
be taxed." (Luke 2:1) 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vati- 
canischen Museums, I, Berlin, 1903, pp. 19-28, no. 14, 
pi. 2; W Helbig, Fuhrer durch die cffentlkhen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die Pdpstlichen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 
41 1; H. Jucker, "Dokumentation zur Augustusstatue von 
Primaporta," in Hefte des Archaologischen Seminars der 
Universitdt Bern, 3 (1977), pp. 16-37 (extensive annotat- 
ed bibliography); K. Vierneisel and P. Zanker, DieBildnisse 
des Augustus (exhib. cat.), Munich, 1978, pp. 45-46, 





Rome, last quarter of the 1st century b. c. 
White marble, with traces of polychromy 
Height, 23 %" (68 cm); width, 35 Vie" (90 cm); 

depth, 11" (28 cm) 
Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala dei Busti, Inv. no. 592 

The back of the sculpture has been sawed off, 
and the tops and backs of the heads are roughly 
cut. The base, and the portions of drapery direct- 
ly on top of it, are modern restorations. Other- 
wise, there is only minimal damage — to the 
drapery folds and to the edges of the ears. The 
traces of pigment suggest that the work may 
once have been painted. 

On the basis of information in the Codex 
Barberinianus (Vat. Barb. lat. 2016), of about 
1580, the double portrait was in the Roman gar- 
den of the Florentine Archbishop Cardinal 
Alessandro de' Medici (in 1605, he became Pope 
Leo XI), in the vicinity of the Basilica of Con- 

stantine and the Temple of Venus and Roma. 
What is most important is that the only remain- 
ing mention of the inscription, with the names 
of the couple, "Gratidia M. L. Chrite, M. Gratid- 
ius Libanus," is given in the Codex. The actual 
inscription is lost; it was removed along with 
the back of the marble block and the frame 
around the busts. 

The group, which is so effectively three- 
dimensional, was originally a relief in a niche. 
(The condition suggests that the reworking is 
modern.) It served as a funerary relief, of the 
type usual at the end of the Republic and the 
beginning of the Empire. In 1770, Clement XIV 
acquired the sculpture from the Mattei Collec- 
tion for his museum in the Vatican. (The French 
inscription on the back dates from the time of 
the sculpture's deportation to Paris: 1798-1816.) 

Because of their stern and righteous appear- 
ance, the pair came to be known as Calo and 
Porcia. The busts are side by side, the wife on 
the husband's right. Their clasped hands join 
them in the gesture of dextrarum iunctio. The 
heads are turned toward one another, but they 
do not relate. The man's left hand grasps the 
border of his toga, while the wife's left hand 
rests on her husband's right shoulder. He wears 

a tunic and toga; she, an undergarment and 
mantle. Her hair is parted in the middle and 
pulled back in flat strands, presumably gath- 
ered at the nape, leaving her ears free. His hair, 
indicated by broad, flat, closely spaced grooves, 
appears to be cut short. Her face, in its stylized 
depiction, is smooth, and, therefore, rather tune- 
lessly youthful — a characteristic of Augustan 
classicism — while his is striking in its rigorously 
rendered detail: it is deeply furrowed, the eyes 
set beneath the shadow of the protruding brow. 
These sober, unsentimental characterizations, 
aiming at realism, are representative of the Late 
Republican style. 

The pair was incorporated into the facade of 
a tomb as a relief. They appeared to be looking 
out of their "domus aeterna," as if through a 
window. From the late first century b.c. on, this 
type of portrait was favored, above all, by 
freedmen. The clasped hands of the couple indi- 
cate their status; as slaves they would not have 
been permitted to marry. Gratidius bears a Greek 
cognomen, "Libanus"; he is doubtless the son 
of a freedman: libertino patre natus. The wife's 
name, Chrite, also indicates a non-Roman 
ancestry; she, too, is from the class of freedmen. 

Of the more than one hundred known Roman 



Rome, mid-lst century a. d. 
Italian marble 

Height, 40 'Vie" (104 cm); width, at base, 15 ' 5 W 

(472 cm); depth, at base, 8"/i 6 " (22 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. nos. 1156, 1157 

Two slabs of different lengths fit together to form 
this frieze, once part of a monument, presum- 
ably a large altar. The upper edge is prepared for 

further blocks. At each end of the frieze, the 
ornamentation continues back along the sides. 
Thus, it is clear that the original length of this 
side of the relief, with its sacrificial procession, 
is preserved. Because the larger slab was bro- 
ken into six fragments, the surface of its relief is 
less well preserved than that of the smaller one. 
Except for scattered damage — above all, to the 
heads, arms, and legs — the reliefs are in good 

The slabs were discovered in Rome — one in 
1937, the other in 1939 — during work on the 
foundation of the Palazzo della Cancelleria. They 
lay more than sixteen feet below the northwest 
corner of the palace. The smaller slab was 
leaning, relief side down, against the west wall 

of the tomb of the consul Aulus Hirtius, while 
the other was in a horizontal position, relief side 
up (hence, its poorer state of preservation). In 
ancient Rome, this site was part of the Campus 
Martius, and the Senate authorized a state burial 
there for Aulus Hirtius, who was killed at the 
Battle of Mutina in 43 b.c. 

The relief depicts a sacrificial procession of 
thirty-eight men and boys, moving right. A 
sacrificial bull, calf, and cow occupy the center 
of the scene. They have been decked out for the 
sacrifice with knotted woolen fillets on their 
heads and broad bands (dorsulae) around their 
flanks. A number of sacrificial attendants busy 
themselves around the animals. In front of them 
march three trumpeters; lyre and flute players 


tomb reliefs of this type, none compares even 
remotely with the portraits of the Gratidii in 
quality and representative imposingness. The 
noble Roman virtues of fides and concordia are 
exemplified by this double portrait. It belongs 
among the series of portraits of married couples 
that includes, for example, the wedding portrait 
of Giovanni Amolfini and Giovanna Cenami by 
Jan van Eyck (of 1434), and Rubens's Self -Portrait 
with Isabella Brant (of 1609-10), set in a hon- 
eysuckle arbor. Between 1838 and 1841, inspired 
by the monument of the Gratidii, Christian 
Rauch created the gravestone for the founder of 
modern historical science, Barthold Georg 
Niebuhr, and his wife; it is in the cemetery in 
Bonn, a gift of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W Amelung, Die Sculpt uren des Vati- 
canisthen Museums. II. Berlin, 1903. pp. 572-74, no, 388. 
pi. 65; C. Hiilsen. "Die Grabgruppe eines romischen 
Ehepaares im Vatikan," in Rheinisches Museum fur 
Philologie, 68, 191 3, pp. 16-21; W. Hclbig, Fiihrer durch 
die offentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: 
Die Papstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Later an. I, 4th 
ed., TUbingen, 1963, no. 199; P Zanker. "Grabreliefs 
romischer Freigelassener," in Jahrbuch des Deutschen 
Archaologischen Instituts. 90, 1975, pp. 285-87, ill. 17. 

follow. The procession is led by two togati in 
patrician shoes (calcei patricii) . The three lictors 
carrying fasces (bundles of rods, with projecting 
axes) in the background suggest that these two 
togati are, in fact, the two consuls. A group of 
boys {ministri) and a group of men follow the 
sacrificial ariimals and the musicians; in the plane 
behind stand togati with laurel wreaths on their 
heads. The four boys are barefoot, and each has 
a fringed tunic covering his head. In their left 
hands three of them carry a figurine on a base: 
two of these are Lares (dancing figures in short 
tunics, with raised drinking horns); the third is 
a statuette of a togatus, representing the genius 
of the ruling emperor, which — since the time of 
Augustus — was honored along with the Lares. 

The four togati bringing up the rear, wearing long- 
tongued boots, and laurel wreaths on their heads, 
are the vicomagistri. 

The peculiarities of the style, the repetitious 
arrangement of the frieze, the regular alignment 
of the figures, and the proportion of figures to 
the whole suggest that the relief dates to the 
time of Claudius — about a.d. 50. The togas, the 
detailing of the surviving heads (which are typi- 
cally Roman) in the foreground of the very high 
relief, and also the archaizing severity in the rep- 
resentation of ornaments on the profiles all cor- 
respond to the style of this period. 

The processional frieze belongs within the ar- 
chitectonic context of a large monument — in all 
probability, a monumental imperial altar such 


as the Ara Pacis. Among the sacrificial animals 
in the procession, the bull symbolizes the ge- 
nius of Augustus. The cult of the Lares, headed 
by four vicomagistri, was reestablished in Rome 
by Augustus, and associated with the worship 
of the protective spirit of the emperor. Soon after, 
the Lares and this genius had been fused into a 
single entity, known as the Lares Augusti, that, 
essentially, served the cult of the emperor. This 
cult did not worship his person, but, rather, the 
power of the Roman Empire that he embodied. 
Participation in the cult was an expressed recog- 
nition of a political reality, not a religious 

In size and character, the processional frieze 
of the vicomagistri has its place among the his- 
toric reliefs of antiquity: Its exalted forerunner 
is the Parthenon frieze, and a close relation is 
the Ara Pacis of Augustus. 

From 1946 to 1970, the two reliefs were 
displayed in the Gabinetto dell'Apoxyomenos; 
since 1970, they have been in the Museo Gre- 
goriano Profano. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Magi, in G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen 
des Vaticanischen Museums, III, 2, Berlin, 1956, pp. 505-12, 
pis. 229-233; H. Kahler, Rom undseine Welt, Munich, 1958, 
pi. 129; W Helbig, Fiihrer durch die offentlichen Sammlungen 
klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die PSpstlkhen Sammlungen 
im Vatikan und Lateran, 1, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1963, no. 258; 
R. Brilliant, Roman Art, London, 1974, p. 242, fig. IV 24. 





Roman copy (1st century a. d.), after a Greek bronze 

of the 4th century b. c. 

Height: overall, 80¥, 6 " (204 cm); head, 10" (25.5 

Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. no. 9973 

The statue was restored by the Roman sculp- 
tor Pietro Tenerani. The feet and base, including 
the scrinium (containing the scrolls) , and the right 
hand were reconstructed in marble; repairs to 
the face, however, are in plaster. 

The statue was found in Terracina "among 
the ruins of ancient Anxur ," probably a few years 
before 1839, when it was given to Pope Gregory 
XVI by the Antonelli family; an inscription on 
the modern base commemorates the gift. The 
pope used the need for an appropriate setting to 
display the Sophokles as an incentive to found 
a new museum for classical antiquities in the 
Palazzo Lateranense. 

The identification of this freestanding, self- 
assured figure, who gazes into the distance — his 
cloak drawn about his shoulders — is confirmed 
by the inscribed portrait herm in the Sala delle 
Muse of the Museo Pio-Clementino (Inv. no. 
322). Both copies from Roman imperial times 
are based on Greek originals in bronze. Two por- 
traits of Sophokles are mentioned in classical 
literature: one was erected by his son Iophon 
after Sophokles' death at ninety, in 406 B.C.; the 
other was placed, with those of Aischylos and 
Euripides, in the Theater of Dionysos in Athens, 
for the 1 10th Olympiad (between 340 and 336 
b.c), at the behest of the statesman and orator 

The fillet in his hair indicates Sophokles' priest- 
ly office. He welcomed the god of physicians, 
Asklepios, into his house when the Asklepios 
cult first became popular in Athens. After 
Sophokles' death, the Athenians honored him 
as "Heros Dexion," calling him "theophiles" 
("beloved of the gods") and "eudaimon" 
("blessed one"). 

The impressiveness of the statue derives from 
its broad, sure stance, open posture, and con- 
trapposto composition: The weight of the body 
rests on the right leg, while the left foot is 
advanced. The contrast between the free and 
engaged legs is clearly apparent through the 
drapery, articulated by its flowing folds. The 
oblique stance occasions a powerful torsion in 
the body; it finds its counterpart in the contrast- 
ing position of the arms, which the lines of the 
cloak oppose and balance. The gestures of the 
arms are crowned by the slightly raised head, 
which is turned in the direction of the left foot. 

The style of this statue of Sophokles is of the 
time of the renovation and embellishment of 
the Theater of Dionysos that was undertaken by 
Lykourgos, about 330 b.c There is no doubt 
that the sculpture is a faithful marble copy of 
the bronze that was publicly set up some seventy- 
five years after the poet's death. Sophokles is 
commemorated in the way that he appeared be- 
fore his people, the Athenians who saw his trag- 

edies countless times in the grand theater where 
they were first performed. In antiquity, some 123 
dramas by Sophokles were known, only seven 
of which survive. 

Perhaps the greatest significance of the Sopho- 
kles is that it is one of the few whole statues 
preserved from the wealth of Greek portraits that 
originated in the second half of the fifth century 
b.c. and flourished into the first century b.c, 
and one of the even smaller number whose sub- 
ject is certain. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Benndorf and R. Schone, Dieantiken 
Bildwerke des Lateranischen Museums, Leipzig, 1867, pp. 
153-59, no. 237, pi. 24; W Helbig, Ftihrer durch die 
offentlkhen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die 
Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., 
TUbingen, 1963, no. 1066; G. M. A. Richter, The Portraits 
of the Greeks, I, London, 1965, p. 129, no. 2, figs. 675-677, 
680; G. Daltrop, "II Reparto di Antichita Classiche," in 
Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, I, 3 
(1959-74), 1979, p. 27, figs. 33-35. 



Rome, c. a.d.176 

Height: overall, 29 W (75 cm); head, 12 Vie" 
(31 cm) 

Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. no. 10223 

The portrait head has been placed on a bust 
to which it does not belong. The right eye and 
the hair above the left brow have been dam- 
aged slightly. Parts of the nose and of the left ear 
are restored. The face has been cleaned, slightly 
affecting the surface. 

The head was found in the vicinity of San 
Giovanni in Laterano, during construction of the 
convent near the Scala Santa. The bust, in the 
form of a Greek philosopher wearing a hima- 
tion (which leaves the right shoulder bare), 
comes from the Vatican storerooms; the head 
was added to the bust before the sculpture was 
exhibited in the Museo Gregoriano Profano 
Lateranense in 1853 (or 1859). 

The subject of the head is definitely identifiable 
as Emperor Marcus Aurelius on the basis of por- 
traits of the emperor on coins and on historical 
reliefs (such as those, in Rome, on the trium- 
phal arch of a.d. 176 and on the column that 
bears his name) . The style of the head is embod- 
ied in the contrast between the mass of the hair, 
which surrounds the face with rich shadows, 
and the smooth modeling of the transparent, 
lustrous surface of the face. The hair is set high 
above the forehead in tight curls that extend 
down into the thick, full beard that conceals the 
mouth. Individual features have been general- 
ized to suggest the inner, spiritual being of this 
unusual man, who ruled the Roman Empire 
guided by wisdom and goodness. The eyeballs, 
which are given prominence under the raised 
brows, are partly covered by the broad upper 
lids. Drilled depressions have been used for de- 
liberate effect, as in the pupils — ovoid in form — 

which make the emperor appear to glance into 
the distance. 

Marcus Aurelius, a Spaniard, became emper- 
or at the age of forty, in a.d. 161, and reigned for 
nineteen years. He died in Vienna in a.d. 180, 
defending the Empire against the dangers repre- 
sented by the Marcomanni. The Senate and the 
Roman people already had commissioned a tri- 
umphal arch to commemorate his victory over 
the Germans and the Sarmatians; its relief deco- 
ration is preserved today in the Palazzo dei Con- 
servatori. In iconographic details and style, the 
emperor, on these historical reliefs, is so close to 
the Museo Gregoriano Profano portrait that, un- 
doubtedly, the same model was used for both — 
one, presumably, made on the occasion of the 
victory celebrations. 

When Marcus Aurelius waged war in the 
North to save the Roman Empire from the in- 
roads of the Germans, he recorded his thoughts 
in a diary, so that we have his own account of 
his opinions and of his spiritual constitution. 
He no longer expected external reward, and fame 
had lost its glamour: "The time is near when 
you will have forgotten everyone, when all will 
have forgotten you" (VII, 21). This attitude could 
well justify the nineteenth-century choice of a 
philosopher's bust on which to place this portrait 
head. Yet, the contrast between external and in- 
ternal, between body and soul, for the first time 
in the history of portraiture is made visible, here, 
in the Portrait of Marcus Aurelius. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Benndorf and R. Schone, Die antiken 
Bildwerke des Lateranischen Museums, Leipzig, 1867, p. 10, 
no. 15; M. Wegner, Die Herrscherbildnisse in antoninischer 
Zeit, Berlin, 1939, pp. 33-46, 193-94; A. Giuliano, Catalogo 
dei Ritratti Romani del Museo Profano Lateranense (Monu- 
menti Vaticani di Archeologia e dArte, X), Vatican City, 
1957, 57, no. 63, pi. 39; W. Helbig, Ftihrer durch die 
offentlkhen Sammlungen klassischer Altertumer in Rom: Die 
Pdpstlichen Sammlungen im Vatikan und Lateran, I, 4th ed., 
Tubingen, 1963, no. 1095; A. R. Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 
Boston, 1966. 




Rome, c. a.d. 200 

Height: overall, 71 "Ae" (182cm); base, 3 Vs" (8cm); 

face (chin to hairline), 6 u As" (17 cm) 
Museo Gregoriano Profano, Inv. no. 4385 

The statue appears to be completely preserved, 
although the nose, the left hand with the club, 
the index finger of the right hand, and the right 
leg have been restored; the lion skin is restored 
on the left side of the head; and the feet, with a 
portion of the plinth, have been set into a mod- 
em base. The portrait head and the idealized 
statue belong together and are unbroken. In this 
uncommon degree of preservation lies the charm 
of the sculpture. 

The provenance of the statue is unknown. The 
Gaetani are first mentioned as its owners, then 

the Ruspoli and the Vitali, all noble Roman 
families. The Omphale was acquired by the Vati- 
can at the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
and was given a place in the Braccio Nuovo. 
From 1833 to 1970, it was in storage; since 1970, 
it has been displayed in the Museo Gregoriano 

The female figure wears only a lion skin, 
which hangs down her back, its forepaws knot- 
ted across her breast, and the upper part of the 
lion's skull covering her head. She holds a club 
with her left hand (certainly accurately restored) . 
Both attributes, the lion skin and the club, be- 
long to Herakles. On Zeus' orders, Herakles was 
forced to serve the Lydian queen Omphale, who 
had him dress in women's clothing and spin 
wool while she assumed his lion skin and cudgel. 

This type of female figure is reminiscent of 
the Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles, from the 
4th century B.C., a work frequently mentioned 
and highly praised in ancient literature. The head, 
however, is recognizably a portrait, with its indi- 
vidual hairstyle and features. The coiffure, drilled 
eyes, and modeling of the cheeks suggest that 
the Omphale dates to sometime near the close of 
the second century a.d. — stylistically, not much 
later than the Bust of Commodus, in the Palazzo 
dei Conservatori, which also bears the attributes 
of Herakles. 

In all probability, this sculpture served as a 
funerary statue in a mausoleum. The deceased 
woman wished to be remembered as having 
been as beautiful as Venus and as strong as 
Herakles, and had herself portrayed thus in her 
apotheosis, in her life after death. At the same 
time, however, the allusion to the love of 
Herakles for Omphale in the portrait implies an 
exchange of roles between man and wife. By 
fusing portrait and symbol, the sculptor trans- 
formed the immediacy of the individual into a 
suprapersonal realm. Likeness and allegory 
intermesh, creating a fertile field for future West- 
em art. The statue reflects, as well, the conflict 
in Roman art between the adoption of Classic 
models and the desire for the heightened signifi- 
cance of realistic portraiture. The Roman sculp- 
tor utilized the form of the Greeks, but, at the 
same time, he gave the Omphale a more specific 
identity, an added dimension that he required. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. von Kaschnitz- Weinberg, Le Sculture 
del Magazzino del Museo Vaticano, Vatican City, 1936-37, 
pp. 295-96, no. 727, pi. 1 13; G. Becatti, Arte e gusto negli 
scrittori latini, Florence, 1951, p. 491, pis. 64, 125; 
J. Meischner, "Das Frauenportrat der Severerzeit," dis- 
sertation, Berlin, 1964, p. 134, no. 26; R. Schluter, DieBild- 
nisse der Kaiserin Mia Domna, dissertation, Miinster, 1971 
(printed 1977), p. 157; on this type of representation, in 
general: H. Wrede, Consecratio in formam deorum. Vergbtt- 
lichte Privatpersonen in der romischen Kaiserzeit, Mainz, 1981. 



The Palazzo Lateranense — the pope's residence 
as Bishop of Rome — was converted into mu- 
seums by Gregory XVI (1831-46): In 1844, he 
founded the Museo Gregoriano Profano, and di- 
rected that it be installed in the palazzo. His 
successor, Pius IX (1846-78), chose the same 
location for the installation of the Church's collection of Early 
Christian sculpture. Pius's contribution to this museum's es- 
tablishment has been recognized both in the museum's title 
and by the fact that his portrait formerly stood at the en- 
trance to the collection. Although the Museo Pio Cristiano 
in the Palazzo Lateranense was closed in 1963, after Pope 
John XXIII (1958-63) decided to locate the offices of the 
Holy See of Rome in the palazzo, the bust of Pius IX was 
installed in the foyer of the museum when it reopened in 
1970 in its new building by the Passarelli brothers at the 
Vatican. Pius IX' s portrait bust was made of cast iron, an 
indication of his great faith in the modern technology of the 
mid-nineteenth century. 

Pius IX' s foresight in recognizing the usefulness of new 
materials also extended to his fostering of the arts and of 
literature, and to an intense desire to further scientific archaeo- 
logical investigations of pagan and Christian antiquities in 
Rome. The latter particularly enjoyed the pontiffs interest and 
enthusiasm. In 1852, he established the Commissione di 
Archaeologia Sacra with sufficient funds to initiate new inves- 
tigations of many Christian sites. The opening of the Catacomb 
of Callixtus for intensive research was especially important. 
So pleased was the pope with the results that he celebrated 
Mass there on November 22, 1861. 

Pius IX's profound concern for the preservation of the 
remains of the Early Christian Church in Rome contrasted 
sharply with the attitude of one of his Renaissance 
predecessors. Paul III (1534-49), for example, had the gold 
objects from the tomb of Maria — wife of the Roman Emper- 
or of the West, Honorius (395-423) — in Old Saint Peter's 

melted down to help finance the construction of the new 
basilica. Not long afterward (in 1578), however, the discov- 
ery of the cemetery of Santa Priscilla in the Via Salaria Nuova 
aroused great curiosity. Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) recog- 
nized its importance, and, according to contemporary reports, 
the visitors to the site were deeply moved by thoughts of the 
persecutions suffered by early members of the Church who 
were buried there, and they were renewed in their faith. 

The rediscovery of this catacomb and its effect on Chris- 
tians of the sixteenth century are signs not only of a 
reawakened interest in the history and archaeology of the 
early Church, but also of a new religious outlook whose 
foremost advocate was Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595), "the 
apostle of Rome." This view was expressed in such images as 
Tommaso Laureti's The Triumph of Religion, on the ceiling 
of the Sala di Costantino in the Stanze of Raphael, in the 
Papal Palace (fig. 42). The painting depicts an antique statue 
of the god Mercury lying broken on the ground, at the base 
of the triumphant cross of Christ. Even the famous sculpture 
of the Laocoon, in the papal collections, was reinterpreted by 
the artist El Greco in Christian terms. 

Antique works of art that survived in Rome were also 
Christianized in the aftermath of the Council of Trent 
(1545-63). The famous columns of the Roman Emperors 
Trajan and Marcus Aurelius were consecrated to Saint Peter 
and Saint Paul, and statues of the saints were placed upon 
the columns during the pontificate of Sixtus V (1585-90). 
Newly discovered Christian art also was carefully preserved. 
It was during this period that the three reliefs of the "Traditio 
Legis" — illustrating events from the Gospels — which open 
this catalogue (see no. 1), were discovered and assembled as 
a single sarcophagus. In his discussion of four coins left to 
Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) in 1600, the writer Fulvius 
Orsini viewed them as testimony to important events in Church 
history rather than as significant examples of Late Roman 
numismatics. In the Vatican, Christian monuments thus were 


FRESCO. 1585. 

endowed with a documentary, apologetic value. 

The first efforts to establish a museum of Early Christian 
art at the Vatican began under Clement XI ( 1 700- 1 72 1 ) , but 
it was not until the Museo Sacro was founded by Benedict 
XIV (1740-58) in 1756, as part of the Biblioteca Apostolica 
Vaticana, that they came to fruition. The statue of "The Good 
Shepherd" (cat. no. 134) was deposited there the next year, 
as well as other sculptures; because of the new museum's re- 
stricted size, it became primarily a collection of smaller Christian 
antiquities. The larger sculptures remained in the Museo Sacro 
for nearly one hundred years before they were transferred 
to the new Museo Pio Cristiano at the Palazzo Lateranense, 
which was officially opened by Pius IX on November 8, 1854. 

The statue of "The Good Shepherd" joined numerous 
other sculptures of the third through the fifth century 

a.d. that make up one section of the collection: primarily 
sarcophagi. A very large group of inscription plaques makes 
up the other section. The sarcophagi came from Early Chris- 
tian churches and catacombs, the most impressive from the 
excavations below Saint Peter's and San Paolo fuori le Mura; 
in both places, noblemen and noblewomen of the fourth cen- 
tury sought to be buried next to the graves of the princes of 
the apostles. The sculpture was arranged according to sub- 
ject rather than chronology at the Palazzo Lateranense, and 
this system has been retained in the 1970 installation in the 
Passarelli building at the Vatican. The only nineteenth-century 
addition to the type of display occurred during the pontificate 
of Pius XI, when plaster casts of important sculpture from 
other collections were included, in order to present the visi- 
tor with a sort of resume of Early Christian imagery. 


The thousands of plaques with inscriptions dating from 
the fifth to the sixth century in the Museo Pio Cristiano were 
arranged by the noted scholar and curator Giovanni Battista 
De Rossi in two categories: "inscriptiones sacrae" and "epi- 
taphia selecta." The former includes inscriptions related to 
churches, foundations, and martyria, and a separate group 
of epigrams of Pope Damasus I (366-84) in honor of the 
martyrs, which represents the classical phase of Early Chris- 
tian art. The "epitaphia selecta" are made up of three types 
of gravestones: those that are dated in their inscriptions, those 
that are decorated with signs and symbols, and those for 
which only the provenance is known. 

These Early Christian antiquities are manifestations of 
true faith. The stones proclaim the Gospels. De Rossi's enthu- 
siasm for their role as witnesses to the Christian faith through 

the ages is evidenced by the inaugural speech that he gave at 
the opening of the Museo Pio Cristiano, in its Palazzo 
Lateranense installation, in 1854: at the conclusion he 
quoted Dante, "alle cose mortal! ando di sopra" (Divine 
Comedy, "Paradise," XXXI, 36). 

Georg Daltrop 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. B. De Rossi, "II Museo epigrafko cristiano Pio-Lateranense," in 
Triplice Omaggio alia Santita di Papa Pio IX nel suo giubileo episcopak offerto dalle tre 
Romane accademie, Rome, 1877, pp. 77-129, pis. I-XXIV; J. Ficker, Die altchristlichen 
Bildwerke im christlichen Museum des Laterans, Leipzig, 1890; 0. Marucchi, Guida 
del Museo Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Rome, 1898; idem, I monumenti del Museo Cristiano 
Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910; idem, Guida del Museo Lateranense Profano e Cristiano (Musei 
e Gallerie Pontificie, IV), Rome, 1922, pp. 109-207; E. Josi, "Museo Pio Cristiano gia 
Museo Lateranense Cristiano," in Enciclopedia dell'arte antica classica e orientate VII 
1966, p. 1101. 





Rome, late 3rd century a. d. 

Height: as restored, 39 W (100 cm), as preserved, 

21 %" (55 cm); head, 6 Vie" (15.5 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28590 (ex 103) 

This statuette appears to be complete, but large 
parts of it are restorations. These include the 
entire lower portion up to the middle of the 
thighs (together with the tree trunk that serves 
as a support), both arms and the right hand, as 
well as the back legs of the sheep. Repairs to the 
face include the nose, the right brow with a por- 
tion of the forehead, the upper and lower lips, 
and the chin. Restored portions of the sheep 
include the back of the head with the ears and 
neck, a small part of the tail, and the portion of 
the sheep along the neck of the shepherd, at the 
back of the statuette. With the exception of the 
restoration work on the reverse side, the an- 
tique portion of the statuette seems to have been 
so completely reworked that there is nothing to 
disprove the assumption that this sculptural frag- 
ment originally was part of a column, or even 
of a relief. The upper surface of the hair is very 
heavily damaged. 

The provenance of the statuette is unknown. 
J. Ficker (1890, p. 37) incorrectly maintains that 
it was acquired from Agostino Mariotti in Rome 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, for 
he refers to G. B. De Rossi (Bullettino di arche- 
ologia cristiana, 5 [1887], pp. 136-42, and 
Bullettino della commissione archeologica comunale 
diRoma, 1889, pp. 131-39), who provides such 
a provenance, although it is quite clearly only 
for the second statuette of The Good Shepherd 
(with staff added) in the same museum (J. Ficker, 
1890, no. 105) . Both sculptures were first men- 
tioned by E. Platner, C. Bunsen, E. Gerhard, and 
W. Rostell {Beschreibung der Stadt Rom, II, 2, 
Stuttgart, 1834, p. 330). They were placed at 
the entrance to the Museo Sacro, in the Biblioteca 
Apostolica Vaticana, beside the statue of Aelius 
Aristides. A list from 1757 of restorations executed 
by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi mentions The Good 
Shepherd as being in the library. In 1854, the 
statuette was moved to the Museo Pio Cristiano 
in the Palazzo Lateranense, and, since 1963, it 
has been in the Vatican Museums. 

The shepherd is recognizable as such by his 
dress. He wears the exomis, a short, belted gar- 
ment that leaves his right shoulder bare. On his 
left side hangs a sheepskin bag that is attached to 
a long band that extends over his right shoulder. 
He carries a sheep across his shoulders, holding 
its feet in both his hands. He has a boyish 
appearance, with no trace of a beard on his face. 
Thick locks of hair cover his head and fall over 
his ears, a few corkscrew curls cascading over 
his shoulders. 

The stylistic singularity of the sculpture lies 
in the strong contrast between the boy's smooth 
face and his deeply modeled hair, although one 
must bear in mind the statuette's poor state of 
preservation, in regard to both the considerable 
restorations to the face and the abrasions to the 
hair. There, the original, deep furrows still are 
visible, having been drilled out into channels; 
these serve to define the formal manner of the 
work. Shallower indentations were made with 
the drill, most obviously, in the representation 
of the pupils. This style — with its unmistakable 
tendency toward the ornamental — began and 
developed in the time of the Emperor Gallienus 
(253-68), shortly after the middle of the third 
century a.d. Because of the deeply belted garment 
that the figure wears, the impression of mass is 
prevented from coming into play. The statue is 
presented as if it were on a single plane. Despite 
the efforts of the modern restorer to make the 
sculpture appear freestanding by means of a com- 
position suggestive of contrapposto, its effect re- 
mains that of a portion of a relief. 

The significance of the shepherd cannot be 
deduced from the sculpture itself, inasmuch as 
nothing is known of its origins or of the sur- 
roundings in which it originally was displayed — 
its architectural and iconographic contexts. 
Nonetheless, repeated attempts have been made 
to relate it to the familiar parables of the "Good 
Shepherd" in the Scriptures (Matthew 18:12-14; 
Luke 15:3-7; John 10:11-16), to Paul's Epistle 
to the Hebrews (13:20), and to the First Epistle 
of Peter (2:25; 5:4). Clement of Alexandria com- 
mented on the symbolic aspect of the figure of 
the shepherd as early as a.d. 200 (Protrepticus 
11:116,1), claiming that God had always desired 
to save (<xu>£eiv) the human flock: "Therefore, 
the good Lord sent also the good shepherd." 
From the point of view of the Church Fathers, 

the shepherd can be construed in a sepulchral 
context as the bearer of redemption and of salva- 
tion (CTGOTtipta); one frequently sees his image 
on sarcophagi of the second half of the third 
century. Accordingly, the shepherd is not to be 
understood as a representation of Christ, but as 
the paradigm of the parable suggestive of deliv- 
erance. Eusebius (Vita Constantini, 3, 49) gives a 
concrete reference to an allegorical interpretation 
of the subject. When cataloguing the buildings 
erected by Constantine in the new capital, he 
includes a descripton of a fountain in the agora 
with a statue of the lovely shepherd that is famil- 
iar to anyone who is well versed in the Scrip- 
tures (t& tov Ka\ov iroi|Aevoq avjiBoXa). 

Representations of shepherds in the form of 
Kriophoroi are known from classical antiquity, 
from as early as the beginning of the great age of 
Greek sculpture in the seventh century b.c These 
were votive gifts, representations of the worshiper 
offering his sacrificial animal to the deity. Figures 
of shepherds formed part of the repertory of bu- 
colic themes in Classic-Hellenistic times. Rome 
was to provide a mythological background for 
the shepherd, for it was a shepherd, Faustulus, 
who discovered Romulus and Remus. Under 
Augustus, bucolic motifs came to symbolize the 
peace that he had attained, so that the figure of 
the shepherd assumed an allegorical significance. 
The portrayal of the Emperor Philip the Arab 
on the coin commemorating the millennial 
celebration in a.d. 248 of the founding of Rome 
has just such a metaphorical meaning. There, a 
shepherd with seven sheep is pictured as their 
savior. Toward the close of the third century a.d., 
when the Museo Pio Cristiano youth carrying a 
sheep was created, non- Christians interpreted 
the shepherd as a symbol of the vitafelix, while 
those familiar with the Scriptures would have 
recognized in the sculpture an allusion to the 
"Good Shepherd." The creation of images of 
shepherds was a tradition that ended — at the 
latest — in the sixth century a.d. q d 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Ficker, Die altchristlichen Bildwerke im 
christlichen Museum des Laterans, Leipzig, 1890, pp. 37-39, 
no. 103; J. Wilpert, / sarcofagi cristiani antichi, I, Rome, 
1929, pi. 52, 1; E. Josi and L. von Matt, Friichristlkhes 
Rom, Zurich, 1961, pi. 2; N. Himmelmann, Uber Hirten- 
Genrein derantiken Kunst, Opladen, 1980, pp. 158-59; G. 
Morelli, in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie 
II, 1981, p. 74 n. 70, p. 85, no. XXXV (restoration by 




Rome, c.a.d. 360 

Height, 26W (67cm); width, 81 W (207cm); 

depth, 30¥i 6 "(77cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28591 (ex 164) 

The sarcophagus, with reliefs only on the front 
side, lacks its lid. The reliefs are well preserved, 
with the exception of the heads of the doves on 
the cross. A smooth cut runs vertically through 
the right-hand niche (through the figure of Job's 
wife). The sarcophagus came from the hy- 
pogaeum of the Confessio of San Paolo fuori le 
Mura. It has been in the Museo Pio Cristiano 
since 1854. 

The relief frieze is divided into five sections 
by six olive trees. The branches of these trees, 
which intertwine along the top to form arches, 
are filled with birds and their nests. In the cen- 
ter is the monogram of Christ within a laurel 
wreath ornamented with gems and ribbons. 
Below it is a cross, on the arms of which are 
two doves with outspread wings that pick at 
the wreath (one of the dove' s heads has been 
correctly restored, the other one is missing) . Two 
soldiers are crouched below the cross: one of 

them leans against his shield, asleep; the other 
looks upward at the monogram. In the section 
immediately to the left is Peter, being led away 
by two soldiers; on the right side is Paul, whose 
hands have been tied behind his back. A bailiff 
is drawing his sword. Reedy plants in the back- 
ground suggest that the scene is located in the 
lowlands along the Tiber. On the far left, Abel 
and Cain present gifts to God the Father; on the 
far right is the seated, youthful Job, with his wife 
and a friend standing in front of him. Job's wife 
places her left hand on her chin in a gesture of 

The three-dimensional figures and the frame- 
work of trees surrounding them clearly are set 
apart from the background, which is at some 
depth behind them. This is especially apparent 
with regard to the cross and the monogram of 
Christ, which appear to be freestanding. Thus, 
these symbols not only occupy the center of the 
frieze, but they also are further stressed by the 
manner of their execution. On either side are 
groups of figures in aedicula-like niches — like 
actors on stage before the footlights — each niche 
depicting a biblical event. The three-dimension- 
ality of the figures is underscored particularly 
by the execution of details: The irises and pupils 
of the eyes are carefully rendered. A stylistic prox- 
imity to the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus — a 
work from about a.d. 359 — is unmistakable, 
even though the level of quality of that work is 
not attained here. 

The meaning of this sarcophagus relief de- 

rives from the symbol of the cross as crux invicta, 
which occupies the center of the composition, 
framed by Peter and Paul. The two apostles ex- 
perience their martyrdoms, but the cross with 
the laurel wreath, the symbol of victory over 
death, is before them. The three-part grouping 
of the monogram of Christ, Peter, and Paul is, in 
turn, framed by two Old Testament scenes, each 
of which is significant in terms of salvation. The 
youthful Abel, who offers a sacrificial lamb, will 
die at the hand of his brother — an allusion to 
the sacrificial death of Christ. Job, in his suffering, 
suggests unshakable faith in God's promise. 

The cross with a laurel wreath as a symbol of 
triumph was new in the representative art of 
this time. It is a sign of victory, a tropaion, origi- 
nally erected in classical antiquity on the spot 
where the enemy was forced to turn and flee; 
the captives at the foot of this tropaion are 
Roman soldiers. Thus, it is not the suffering Jesus 
who is evoked, but, rather, the savior who has 
triumphed over death. With just such images, 
the Christians of the fourth century a.d. created 
their own pictorial vocabulary. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Ficker, Die altchristlichen Bildwerke 
im christlichen Museum des Laterans, Leipzig, 1890, pp. 
109-10, no. 164; J. Wilpert, Isarcofagi cristiani antichi, I, 
Rome, 1929, pp. 125, 164, pis. 142-143; F. W. Deichmann, 
G. Bovini, and H. Brandenburg, Repertorium der christ- 
lichantiken Sarkophage, I, Rom und Ostia, Wiesbaden, 
1967, pp. 57-58, no. 61, pi. 19; H. Brandenburg, in 
Romische Mitteilungen, 86, 1979, p. 465, pis. 150-151. 






Rome, c. a.d. 330 

Height, 12 9 A 6 " (32 cm); width, 40'/ 8 " (102 cm); 

depth, 'Vie" (2.4 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28594 

This rectangular marble slab, the present shape 
of which is modern, comes from the Catacomb of 

Priscilla. It is broken between the first and second 
Wise Men. The slab has been cleaned, and the 
red pigment of the incisions has been restored. 

A portrait bust of Severa is depicted on the 
left. Next to it is the inscription severa/in deo 
vi/vas (Severa, may you live in God). The Ado- 
ration of the Magi is represented at the right. 
According to Matthew (2: 1-12), three Wise Men 
in the East became aware of the birth of a king 
in Judea and were directed to Bethlehem by 
Herod's scribes. There, with the help of the star, 
they came upon the Christ Child and his mother. 
Mary sits in a wicker chair with a high back, 
holding the Child on her lap. The three Wise 

Men, with their Phrygian caps, are striding for- 
ward to present their gifts to him. The prophet 
Balaam (Bileam) stands behind the Mother of 
God, pointing with his outstretched hand to the 
star: "Orietur Stella ex Jacob" ("There shall come 
a Star out of Jacob," Numbers 24:17). 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 57, pi. LVII, 1; 
J. Wilpert, Isarcofagi cristiani antichi, III, Rome, 1938, pp. 
48-49, ill. 271; E. Kirschbaum, "Der Prophet Balaam und 
die Anbetung der Weisen," in Romische Quartalschrift, 
49, 1954, p. 129; E. Dinkier, in Age of Spirituality, New 
York, 1979, p. 400, ill. 57. 




Rome, 3rd or 4th century a, D. 

Height, 35 Vis" (89 cm); width, 46 Vte" (118 cm); 

depth, 2 'Vie" (7.5 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28595 

A portion of the left side of this gravestone — 
which came from the Catacomb of Callixtus — 
as well as its lower-right comer have broken 
off from what was, originally, an elongated rec- 
tangular slab. The inscription relates that Mouses 
had this memorial erected for himself and his 
wife while he was still alive. On one side, an 
orant figure of a woman, who has pulled her 
cloak up over her head and raised her arms in 
the gesture of prayer, is depicted. The other side 
shows a tree and, next to it, a sheep and a shep- 
herd leaning on his staff. Representations of the 
shepherd and of orant figures were popular in 
this period, but now it is impossible to say just 
what they might have signified in combination. 
One thinks of the praying woman as represent- 
ing piety (pietas) and the shepherd humanity 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 0. Marucchi, / monument! del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 57, pi. LVII, 5; 
A. Ferrua, Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae, IV, Rome, 
1964, no. 10659. 



Rome, late 4th century a. d. 

Height, 7 l A" (18. 5 cm); width, 34 '/, 6 " (86. 5 cm); 

depth, 1 V 4 " (3.2 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28596 

This gravestone, which came from the Cata- 
comb of Saint Hippolytus, is an elongated rec- 
tangular slab, whose present shape is modern; 
it has a vertical crack between the heads of 

Saints Peter and Paul. It is inscribed asselv 


DiEs/xxiii (For the well- deserving Asellus, who 
lived six years, eight months, and twenty- three 
days). Next to the inscription are the heads of 
Saints Peter and Paul, labeled as such and de- 
picted full face. Undoubtedly, the apostles were 
included in the hope that they would intercede 
for and accompany the soul of the deceased into 
paradise. The monogram of Christ appears be- 
tween the two heads. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Marucchi, I monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 57, pi. LVII, 42; 
A. Silvagni, Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae, I Rome, 
1922, no. 1513. 




Rome, 3rd or 4th century a.d. 

Height, 11 'Vie" (30cm); width, 34 'A" (87cm); depth, 

W (2.3 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28597 

Although the tomb and mummy of Lazarus are 
damaged, the figure of Christ is in better condi- 
tion. The provenance of this gravestone — a rec- 
tangular marble slab, whose present shape is 

modern — is unknown, but it was formerly in 
the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. 

The inscription says that the parents of Datus 
have erected this monument to their son, who 
lived only twenty years, so that he might rest in 
peace. Next to the inscription, the Raising of 
Lazarus is depicted. Christ points with his staff 
toward a tomb, in the aedicula of which is the 
body of Lazarus — greatly reduced in size and 
represented as a mummy. The scene signifies 
that the young Datus, like Lazarus, can look 
forward to being reawakened by Christ. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 26, pi. XXXV, 5; 
A. Silvagni, Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae, I, Rome, 
1922, no. 1587. 




Rome, c. a.d. 300 

Height, 16 %" (43 cm); width, 35 Vie" 

(90cm); depth, "Ae" (1.8cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28592 (ex 221) 

This gravestone, from the Catacomb of Prae- 
textatus, is a rectangular marble slab that has 
been broken into six pieces; its surface is badly 
damaged and partially pitted. The scene is in- 
cised and the lines filled in with red pigment 
that is now faded. 

Typologically, the subject belongs to salvation 
imagery. The style is simple and unsophisticated. 
Jonah has been cast up onto land by the sea 
serpent (kt|to£). Above the monster is a bird 
(perhaps, a dove) . The story prefigures the Resur- 
rection, as the Evangelist Matthew suggests 
( 12 : 39-41 ) : the Son of Man will repeat the trial 
of Jonah, which God will bring about as a 
verification of Jesus. Just as Jonah was saved, 
so will the deceased be. In this context, the dove 
also may symbolize salvation. G D 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Ficker, Die altchristlichen Bildwerke 
im christlichen Museum des Laterans, Leipzig, 1890, p. 165, 
no. 221; O. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo Cristiano 
Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 27, pi. XXXIX, 6. 


k ■ - — — - »«^r' 







Rome, 3rd or 4th century a. d. 

Plaster cast of an original marble in situ in the 

Catacomb of Callixtus 
Height, 14W (37.2 cm); width, 42 W (108cm); 

depth, 1 'Vie" (5 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28593 

The original of this rectangular Loculus slab 
is in the Catacomb of Callixtus, not far from 
the grave of Saint Eusebius (309). Its inscrip- 
tion reads: aflivs satvrninvs / cassie earetriae 


urninus graciously erected this memorial for 
his wife Cassia Faretria, a woman of the sena- 
torial class. She was buried here on February 3 
[three days before the Nones of February]). 
Below the inscription a dove is eating the fruit 
of a tree. In the writings of Ambrosius (De Isaac 

et anima, IV, 34), the dove symbolizes the human 
soul. In such a context, the tree represents para- 
dise and the dove a Christian soul entering 
paradise and finding nourishment there. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 55, pi. LV, 5; E. 
Josi, // cimitero di Callisto, Rome, 1933, pp. 103-4; A. Ferrua, 
Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae, IV, Rome, 1964, no. 



Rome, c. 2nd to 3rd century a.d. 
White marble 

Height, 9 Vie" (23 cm); width, 29 W (75 cm); 

depth, 1 Vs" (3.5 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Lapidario Ebraico ex 

Lateranense, Inv. no. 17584 (ex 118) 

This gravestone came from the Jewish Cata- 

comb on the Via Portuense, on the edge of 
the present-day Trastevere quarter of Rome, 
outside the Porta Portese. The text, in Greek, 
is enclosed by decorative elements still current 
in Jewish funerary symbolism: the seven- 
branched candelabrum, palmette, dove, and 
flask. The top and bottom of the inscription 
are surrounded by a continuous, incised line 
that functions rather like a frame in the shape 
of a tabula ansata. The simple inscription reads: 


seven months, lies here). Thus, the gravestone 
is that of a seven-month-old boy whose name 
was quite common among the Jewish commu- 

nities of the Roman Empire. The number of 
months of the boy's life is indicated by an alpha- 
betical numbering system: Z is the seventh let- 
ter in the Greek alphabet. Among the symbols, 
the dove and the palmette also occur frequendy 
in Early Christian iconography. The use of Greek 
on Jewish gravestones is usual, although inscrip- 
tions in Hebrew are not rare either. 

/. Di S. M. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. B. Frey, Corpus Inscriptionum Iudai- 
carum, I, Vatican City, 1936, p. 272, n. 348. 




Rome, 3rd century a. d. 

Height, 12" (30.5 cm); width, 32 V 4 " (83.3 cm); 

depth, 1 'A" (3.2 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28598 

This rectangular marble slab, its edges slightly 
damaged, came from the Coemeterium Jordano- 
rum. The pigmentation that fills the incised lines 
has been restored. 

The epitaph reads: firmia • victora • qve 
vixit annis/lxv (Firmia Victora, who lived sixty- 
five years). Below the inscription are a ship on 
the high seas and a four- story tower; on top of 
the tower a fire blazes. In his De mortalitate (26) , 
Cyprianus of Carthage (beheaded in a.d. 258) 
describes the death of a Christian as "navigare 

in patriam. " The lighthouse suggests the harbor, 
and the ship symbolizes the journey of the de- 
ceased woman into the port of eternity, her 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 0. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 58, pi. LVIII, 63; 
G. Stuhlfauth, "Der Leuchtturm von Ostia," in Romische 
Mitteilungen, 53, 1938, p. 152, ill. 6. 



Rome, 3rd or 4th century a.d. 

Height, 11 W (30 cm); width, 26 V 4 " (68 cm); 

depth, 1 Vie" (3 cm) 
Museo Pio Cristiano, Inv. no. 28599 

This rectangular marble slab, with its smoothed 
corners, came from the Catacomb of Domitilla. 
A blacksmith's shop is suggested by the furnace, 
behind which a man operates a bellows, and by 
the anvil, on which the master smith hammers 
the iron made malleable in the fire — thereby 
refining, hardening, and giving the metal the 
desired form. Presumably, this scene refers to 
the vocation of the deceased, but, at the same 
time, the representation may have a symbolic 
significance, alluding to the words of Paul (see 
I Corinthians 3:13-15), that the fire shall test 

the worth of each man's work — on the day of 
the Lord. In the First Epistle of Peter (1:7), the 
apostle also illustrates the preservation of the 
faith in times of trial by comparing it with metal 
(gold) that is tested in the fire. 

G. D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Marucchi, / monumenti del Museo 
Cristiano Pio Lateranense, Milan, 1910, p. 58, pi. LIX, 33. 



In 1692, the missionary Fray Francisco Romero brought to 
Rome wooden carvings from an Indian shrine in northern 
Colombia. He presented them to Pope Innocent XII (1691- 
1700) , who directed that they be housed in the Palazzo di 
Propaganda Fide. These works (see cat. nos. 154, 155, 156; 
fig. 43 ) formed the modest beginnings of the collection of 
non-European ethnography and archaeology now found in 
the Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico. They were in- 
corporated into the collections of Cardinal Stefano Borgia 
(1731 -1804) , Prefect of Propaganda Fide. After Borgia's death, 
one part of his collection remained in the Vatican as the Museo 
Borgiano di Propaganda. During the nineteenth century, the 
Museo Borgiano's many new accessions came from mission- 
aries throughout the world; notable among these objects were 
a group of carvings (see cat. nos. 145, 146, 147) from the 
Gambier Islands of Polynesia. A large "Esposizione Vaticana," 
held in 1887, included a number of objects that, at the 
exhibition's close, also were added to the Museo Borgiano. 

A new phase began for the museum in 1924 when Pope 
Pius XI (1922-39) organized the "Esposizione Missionaria," 
extolling missionary endeavor throughout the non- Western 
world. When the exhibition ended, the pope said: "The 
Esposizione Missionaria ... is and will remain like a great, an 
immense book; every object is a page, a phrase, a line in this 
book — The Esposizione Missionaria will close, but the pre- 
cious furnishings . . . will not disperse, they will remain as 
the Museo Missionario, as a school, as a book, which is 
always open." On November 12, 1926, the pope proclaimed 
in the motu proprio "Quoniam tarn Praeclara" the formation, 
title, purpose, and location of the new museum, the Pontificio 
Museo Missionario-Etnologico. The museum was to be 
housed in the Palazzo Lateranense, already the home of the 
Museo Gregoriano Profano and the Museo Pio Cristiano, so 
that "the dawn of faith among the infidel of today can be 
compared to the dawn of faith which . . . illuminated pagan 
Rome." Its direction was firmly set: the new institution was 
not to be an art museum; rather, it was to be a didactic and 
scientific museum at the service of the missions. 

An organizing committee was formed, headed by the dis- 
tinguished anthropologist Father Wilhelm Schmidt, founder 
of the Anthropos Institut. In accordance with the directions 
of Pius XI, Schmidt planned a tripartite arrangement of the 
museum. The first area was to detail the history of mission- 
ary work from the first to the twentieth century; the second 
was to be devoted to contemporary mission work and would 
include ethnographic material and illustrate Schmidt's theo- 
ries of cultural development; the third was to focus on the 
future of the missions. This plan was never realized; only the 
second area, which Schmidt considered the most important, 
came near to completion. The museum opened to the public 
on December 21, 1927, the feast day of Saint Thomas, apos- 
tle of the Indies. In 1938, Father Michele Schulien, who had 
assisted Father Schmidt in the original planning, succeeded 
him as director. 

When Pope John XXIII (1958-63) decided to central- 
ize the offices of the Roman diocese in the Palazzo Lateranense, 
the museum had to be closed, and in February 1963 its con- 
tents were moved to the Palazzo di San Callisto in Trastevere. 
At the same time, the pope ordered the construction of two 
new buildings in Vatican City to house the three museums of 
the Palazzo Lateranense. This project was halted by Pope Paul 
VI (1963-78), who, as a great patron of contemporary art, 
wished to have a single building in a late-twentieth-century 
idiom. In an open competition, the architects Vincenzo, Fausto, 
and Lucio Passarelli were chosen to design the building. 
Toward the end of the construction phase, in May 1965, the 
plans were revised, and the exhibition space was increased 
from 5,500 square yards (4,600 square meters) to 6,579 square 
yards (5,500 square meters). Included in this space were three 
large glassed-in areas for smaller objects and open areas for 
larger and more important pieces. 

In 1968, following the death of Father Schulien, Father 
Jozef Penkowski was appointed director of the museum and 
was charged with organizing the arrangement and installa- 
tion of the new museum's collections. As was evident from 
the outset forty years earlier, an attempt to create a museum 



about the missions faced almost insuperable ideological and 
practical problems. Moreover, by the 1960s the concept of 
mission work had changed radically, especially following the 
innovative ideas of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). 
The goal no longer was to Europeanize the Third World but, 
instead, to establish foundations of Christianity in local cul- 
tures. The position of the Church with respect to other re- 
ligions had also changed, encouraging open dialogue rather 
than confrontation. Promoting an understanding of other 
religions, therefore, was considered essential. Accordingly, 
Father Penkowski proposed the formation of a museum of 
world religions that would show that man is by nature 
religious. This proposal, accepted by Vatican officials, was 
carried out under Penkowski's direction. The museum's main 
galleries were opened to visitors in April 1973, and installa- 
tion of the secondary collections as study- storage was com- 
pleted in 1979. The entire holdings of the museum comprise 
more than 61,000 objects, of which approximately 10,000 
are from Africa, 10,000 from the Americas, 20,000 from 
Asia, and 6,000 from Oceania; another 15,000 objects are 

The galleries are divided into twenty- five sections, each 

of which is devoted to a country or cultural region of the 
non- Western world. The material on display illustrates the 
historical and ideological development of religions world- 
wide. Every religion represented is based on the concept of a 
supreme being, personal or impersonal, and, except in Chris- 
tianity, never represented figurally. A supreme being is de- 
picted in the museum's objects only when it is a composite 
of dualistic elements, such as masculine and feminine, that 
represent the being as the origin of life. Two major preoccu- 
pations are evidenced by the objects: the cult of the dead and 
the cult of ancestors, which in some cases involves an imme- 
diate kinship group and in others encompasses an entire 
community. Works relating to the world's higher religions 
are exhibited in both geographic and chronological arrange- 
ments, and a rich collection of indigenous Christian art from 
Third World countries also is shown. 

In spite of the transformations that the Pontificio Museo 
Missionario-Etnologico has undergone since 1926, it has, 
for the most part, been faithful to the ideals of Pope Pius XI. 
The museum has retained its didactic and scientific character, 
and it has remained a "school" that instills respect for all 
religions, as well as a "book," each page of which reveals 
man's eternal search for the divine. 

Jozef Penkowski 

BIBLIOGRAPHY : L'Esposizione Vaticana illustrata, II, 1887-88; H. de Ragnau, LExposition 
Vatican, Valence, 1888, p. 107; Pius XI, ' Allocuzione del 10.1.1926," in Rivista illustrata 
delta Esposizione Missionaria Vaticana, Supplemental, 1926, pp. 72-75; idem, "Quoniam 
tamPraedara," inActaApostolicaeSedis, 28, 1926, pp. 478, 479; idem, "RerumEcclesiae," 
in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 28, 1926, pp. 65-83; W. Schmidt, "Museo Missionario- 
Etnologico," in Piccolaguida dei Musei Lateranensi, Rome, 1928, pp. 16-55; R Ercole, 
"Dall'Esposizione Missionaria Vaticana al Museo Missionario-Etnologico del Laterano," 
in Annali Lateranensi, 1, 1937, pp. 9-12; TeRangi Hiroa, "Ethnology ofMangareva,"in 
Bulletin, 157, Bernice R Bishop Museum, 1938, p. 520; R dalla Torre, "Le plastiche a 
soggetto indigeno nordamericano del Pettrich nel Pontificio Museo Missionario- 
Etnologico," in Annali Lateranensi, IV, 1940, pp. 9-96; H. Bischof, "Una Coleccion 
Etnografica de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia) — Siglo XVII," in Atti del 
XL Congresso degli Americanisti, Rome, 1972, pp. 391-98; J. Penkowski, "Museo 
Missionario-Etnologico," in Vaticana e Roma Cristiana, Vatican City, 1975, pp. 261-77; 
idem, "II Museo Missionario-Etnologico," in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie 
Pontificie, 1, 1, 1977, pp. 193-97; "Trasferimento delle raccolte Lateranensi al Vaticano," 
in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, I, 1, 1977, pp. 15-32. 




Polynesia (Gambier Islands, Mangareva Island) 

Collected 1834-36 


Height, 44 l h" (113 cm); maximum width, 11 " 

(28 cm); depth, 9 Vie" (23 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 


The figure of a sturdily built man, with dispro- 
portionately small but firmly placed feet, is sup- 
ported by four legs bent at the knees. The large 
abdomen, with the navel indicated by a square; 
the narrow chest; and the outstretched (now 
missing) arms (Te Rangi Hiroa, 1938, fig. 66) 
create the image of a strong man who is ready 
for anything. The figure's bald head with its 
conical cranium is a sign, perhaps, of artificial 
head deformation. The delineation of the face 
is harmonious: the almond-shaped eyes, un- 
broken arch of eyebrow, and half-opened, mys- 
teriously smiling mouth accurately give the 
impression that this object portrays a truly im- 
portant personage. 

The sculpture, carved from a single piece 
of wood, represents the god Tu. According 
to mythology, Tu, the supreme god of Poly- 
nesia, was the first-born son of Tagaroa and of 
Haumea, a deified forefather. A famous warrior- 
navigator, Tu became the god of war, except on 
Mangareva Island, where he was worshiped as 
the god of agriculture, responsible especially 
for the cultivation of breadfruit and bananas. 
Yet, even on Mangareva, Tu appeared in the 
form of a thunderbolt or a comet — typical man- 
ifestations of war gods. 

Stylistically, the sculpture of Mangareva (see 
also cat. no. 146) is very different from that of 
the rest of Polynesia. The figures always have 
bent knees; their arms, flexed ninety degrees at 
the elbows, reach forward; their eyebrows form 
a continuous curve; and their sexual organs, even 
those of fertility gods, are not exaggerated. 

This statue of the god Tu is unique. A number 
of sculptures of this divinity exist, but only the 
one shown here depicts him with four legs. There 
is no explanation for this four-leggedness other 
than the name Tu, meaning "that which stands" 
— strong and unmoving, like the navigator of a 
ship in the middle of a storm. 

In April 1836, Father Francois Caret, the first 
Catholic missionary on Mangareva, sent this and 
several other Gambier Islands objects to the head- 
quarters of the Order of Picpus Mission at Braine- 
le-Comte, Belgium. The "N[o]. 1." on the torso 
corresponds to Caret's list and notes. In 1837, 
the statue was presented to Pope Gregory XVI 
(1831-46), who had it placed in the Museo 
Borgiano di Propaganda. 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Te Rangi Hiroa, "Ethnology of Manga- 
reva," in Bulletin, 157, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 
1938, pp. 462, 464, fig. 66. 



Polynesia (Gambier Islands, Mangareva Island?) 

Collected 1834-36 


Height, 35 Vie" (90 cm); maximum width, TVs" 

(20 cm); depth, 5 Vs" (13 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 


A male figure stands on two thick legs bent at 
the knees. The rounded, protruding abdomen 
with its circular navel; the well-developed thorax; 
the arms, held away from the body and flexed 
at the elbows; and the head, with its conical 
crown, convey a sense of well-proportioned 
slimness. The face, dominated by a large nose; 
the mouth, half- opened as if the figure were 
about to speak; and the almond-shaped eyes, 
with eyebrows in a single, smooth curve — all 
testify to the skill of the object's Mangarevan (?) 
sculptor and are reminiscent of the work of the 
unknown maker who carved the statue of the 
god Tu (see cat. no. 145). Only the fingers and 
toes are coarsely and schematically indicated. 

The statiie represents Rogo, sixth son of Taga- 
roa and Haumea, the mythological first inhabi- 
tants of Mangareva (Te Rangi Hiroa, 1938, pp. 
420, 422). At first merely an ancestor, Rogo 
became, with the passage of time, god of peace, 
agriculture, and hospitality in all of Polynesia. 
On Mangareva Island, deposed by Tu, he was 
invoked especially in rites connected with the 
cultivation of turmeric tubers. As god of hospital- 
ity, he was considered protector of singer- poets, 
who passed along tribal traditions through their 
chants. Rogo revealed himself in the form of a 
rainbow and as fog — typical manifestations of 
agricultural gods. 

The figure was sent by Father Francois Caret 
to the headquarters of the Order of Picpus Mis- 
sion at Braine-le-Comte, Belgium, in 1836. It 
became the property of the Museo Borgiano di 
Propaganda in 1837. 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Te Rangi Hiroa, "Ethnology of Manga- 
reva," in Bulletin, 157, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 
1938, pp. 420, 422, fig. 62. 



Polynesia (Gambier Islands, Akamaru Island) 

Collected 1834-36 


Height, 33 W (85 cm); maximum width, 11 l Vie" 

(30 cm); depth, 2 Vs" (6 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 


At first glance, this object might be taken for a 
contemporary abstract sculpture. Two enor- 
mously long arms extend upward from a cylin- 
drical body that is adorned with two rings carved 
in high relief. Each arm has three elliptical pro- 
tuberances, which appear to be supports of some 
sort. Only the legs — very short, slightly flexed 
at the knees, with the feet barely indicated — 
show that this sculpture is meant to represent a 
human being, albeit an asexual and headless 
one (Te Rangi Hiroa, 1938, fig. 60). 

The object has a double significance. Accord- 
ing to the notes of Father Hilarion, the sculp- 
ture represents Tupo, a god who is associated 
with the cultivation of tubers and who causes 
chaos and disorder in the universe (Te Rangi 
Hiroa, 1938, p. 465). Nothing precise is known 
about this divinity. In Mangarevan mythology 
there is frequent reference to a certain Tupa, who 
introduced the cult of Tu to the island, but wheth- 
er Tupo and Tupa are the same never has been 

Father Francois Caret explained that this sculp- 
ture was used for a rite called eketea, which was 
part of every Mangarevan religious ceremony 
and consisted of raising toward heaven strips of 
bark cloth (tapa) on a wooden support, to in- 
voke the divinity in whose honor the ceremony 
was being held. The rite, the strips, and even 
the wooden support were all called eketea. Bifur- 
cated eketeas — this is one of two in existence — 
were used only on Akamaru Island (H. Laval, 
1938, pp. 335, 336). Judging from the specific 
position of the legs, it is probable that this is a 
Mangarevan work. Other elements of compari- 
son are lacking. 

The object was acquired, along with two oth- 
ers illustrated here (see cat. nos. 145, 146), 
between 1834 and 1836, and was number four 
on Caret's list. It entered the Pontificio Museo 
Missionario-Etnologico in 1925. 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Laval, Mangareva, Paris, 1938, pp. 
335, 336; Te Rangi Hiroa, "Ethnology of Mangareva," in 
Bulletin, 157, Bernice R Bishop Museum, 1938, p. 465, 
fig. 60. 



Zaire; Bakongo people 
17th century 

Height, 15 W (40 cm); maximum width, 7 l h" 
(19 cm) 

Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. 
no. 9335 

Although the cross is the primordial and es- 
sential symbol of Christianity, this one seems 
to lie outside that tradition. It was cast in a bronze 
alloy in one piece using the "a ciel ouvert" 
(open-mold) technique. On the flat surface of 
the cross, whose edges are raised and cross- 
hatched, the body of Christ is executed in high 
relief. The image is that of an African Christ: 
curly hair, broad nose, and protruding navel. 
His outstretched arms, crossed feet, prominent 
ribs, and loincloth tied in a knot on one side 
reflect a European model. This is a Christ who 
is not yet dead. His head is not bent, and his 
chest has not been pierced. Below Christ, on 
the upright of the cross, a naked woman covers 
her breasts with one hand and her pudenda 
with the other. Above Christ, on the arms of the 
cross, two naked figures sit with their hands fold- 
ed in prayer. A third and similar figure is on the 
upper part of the upright. 

What do the four nude figures that the artist 
has added to the cross represent? The female 
figure at the bottom is surely the Madonna. 
Opinions are very diverse regarding the identi- 
ties of the other three. The Trinity, three apostles, 
souls of the dead saved by Christ and on their 
way to heaven, relatives who mourn the dying 
Christ — all are possible explanations but may not 
be accurate (W. Hirschberg, 1980, pp. 50, 51). 

At first, for Africans, too, the cross had a strict- 
ly Christian significance. As the influence of the 
missions diminished, however, the religious 
meaning of the cross changed so radically that 
it became a protective spirit called Nkangikiditu 
("attached Christ"). The cross was invoked 
especially injudicial cases — perhaps a tradition 
left over from Christian judgment — but it also 
was considered a symbol of the authority of the 
tribal chief. 

The cross was introduced to the Lower Congo 
region by the first Portuguese missionaries in 
the fifteenth century. By the sixteenth century, 
crosses had begun to be manufactured in Africa. 
Initially, these crosses imitated European ex- 
amples, but over time they were transformed 
into completely African works (W. Hirschberg, 
1980, p. 51). This cross must have been made 
toward the end of the seventeenth century, when 
the missions had lost their influence and sty- 
listic and ideological transformations became 
resolved. It was collected by Redemptionist fa- 
thers in the Lower Congo and sent from Brus- 
sels to the Vatican in 1924 for the "Esposizione 
Missionaria" in 1925. 


Comparative work cited: W. Hirschberg, "Bemerkungen 
zu einem 'doppelgeschlechtlichen Korpus' aus dem alten 
Kongoreich," in Christliches Afrika, Sankt Augustin, 1980, 



Congo; Vili people 

First quarter of the 20th century 

Collected before 1924 

Painted wood and leather 

Height, 11 Wie" (30 cm); maximum width, 6 u /ie" 

(17cm); depth, 4V 4 " (12 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. 

no. AF 7978 

People like to disguise themselves. Thus, masks 
have figured in all epochs of human history, 
among all social strata. This mask features a 
well -constructed human face with a broad nose, 
fully articulated ears painted white, an open 
mouth with teeth in the upper jaw, a tongue 
projecting over the lower lip, and a chin adorned 
with a leather goatee. The entire mask, a typical 
example of the moving realism of the cultural 
area of the Lower Congo, is covered in a sym- 
metrical and contrasting mosaic of white, red, 
and black. Only the skull is devoid of any 
adornment; it was covered — as evidenced by 
the holes in it — by a hood that formed part of 

the costume, completely concealing the person 
wearing the mask. 

Generally, in so-called primitive cultures, 
masks were used for worship by secret societies 
or in initiation rituals. The Museum fur Volk- 
erkunde in West Berlin has an almost identi- 
cal mask, collected in 1887 by Wilhelm Joest, 
who annotated it as a "mask used by medicine 
men to cure the sick" (K. Krieger and G. Kut- 
scher, 1960, ills. 64-66) — that is to say, it was 
employed by an individual in the practice of his 
craft of healing. 

This mask belonged to the Vili people, who 
live on the Atlantic Coast between the Congo 
and Niari rivers. Masks from this tribe are not 
common in collections of African art. This one 
must have been carved about the beginning of 
the 1920s, as indicated by the manner in which 
the goatee is attached and by the excellent state 
of preservation. The latter leads one to believe 
that it had not been used in any ceremonies. 

Collected by an unknown missionary, this 
mask was sent to the Vatican in 1924, to be in- 
cluded in the "Esposizione Missionaria" in 1925. 

J. P. 


Comparative work cited: K. Krieger and G. Kutscher, 
Westafrikanische Masken, Berlin, 1960, ills. 64-66. 



Guinea or Sierra Leone; Kissi people 
18th century (?) 
Collected before 1924 

Height, 8 'A" (21 cm); maximum width, 
2 9 A 6 " (6.5 cm); depth, 2 9 A 6 " (6.5 cm) 

Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, 
Inv. no. AF 535/6 

This very curious sculpture, carved in grayish 
stone, represents a kneeling androgynous human 
figure. Its bulging abdomen, accentuated by an 
excessively protruding navel, is covered with 
scarification lines. Its arms, flat against its body, 
bent at right angles, and adorned with three 
bracelets, support extremely long breasts that 
appear to issue from the female figure 's neck — 
ornamented with a necklace, yet crowned by 
an oblique masculine head wearing typical Afri- 
can headgear. The face gives the sculpture an 
appearance of truly monstrous cruelty: it has a 
mouth indented in a broad grin (the indentation 
is artificially prolonged by scarification all the 
way to the back of the head); a flat nose with 
very wide nostrils; narrow, barely indicated eyes; 
receding ears; and a broad, flat, semicircular 

Originally, small statues of this kind were used 
as tomb offerings by the Bullom people, but over 
time the images developed into representations 
of deified ancestors. Later, other peoples arrived 
in the Guinea-Sierra Leone area, and the Mende 


and Kissi tribes who unearthed these statues dur- 
ing the cultivation of their crops radically altered 
their religious significance and gave them a spe- 
cial name. The Mende called them nomoli, and 
the Kissi pomdo. From images of ancestors they 
became the seats of spirits who provided protec- 
tion against the theft of rice from the paddies, 
ensured the fertility of land and of mankind (A. 
Lommel, 1976, p. 214), and served as oracles. 

These statuettes were produced between the 
thirteenth and eighteenth centuries (K. Dittmer, 
1967, p. 184). This one must date to the late 
period because it unites both the early, so-called 
grinning style — note the open mouth — and the 
fertility image introduced later — the breasts sup- 
ported by the arms. 

This pomdo was collected before 1924 from 
the Kissi people of Guinea or Sierra Leone. It is 
a very rare example of its type, as Bullom statu- 
ettes generally are masculine, not androgynous. 

J. P. 


Comparative works cited: K. Dittmer, "Bedeutung, Datier- 
ung und kulturhistorische Zusammenhange der 'prahis- 
torischen' Steinfiguren aus Sierra Leone und Guinee," in 
Baessler-Archiv, 15, 1967, pp. 183-238; A. Lommel, 
Afrikanische Kunst, Munich, 1976, p. 214. 



Nigeria; Igbo people 
19th-20th century 
Collected before 1924 
Painted wood 

Height, 19 Vie" (49 cm); maximum width, 13 Vs" 

(34 cm); depth, 7 Vie" (18 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 


This mask depicts the fine, delicate features of a 
young Igbo woman. Her narrow, elongated face 
is painted white, the color not only of the spirit 
world but also of things that are considered beau- 
tiful and good by the Igbo. The designs made 
by scarification on the woman's forehead and 
temples — symbols of beauty as well as of eth- 
nic identity — show that she has been marked 
by the values of her society. Her intricate coif- 
fure of painstakingly plaited hair studded with 
ornaments and combs is a further indication of 
the admiration and respect due her. Masks such 
as this one are in sharp contrast to other, dark- 
colored Igbo masks with exaggerated, deformed, 
or animalistic features. 

Maiden-spirit masks are part of costumes that 
consist of tight-fitting pants and shirts appliqued 
with brilliantly colored pieces of cloth. Masked 
dancers skillfully imitate the daily activities and 
movement patterns of Igbo women. Despite their 
feminine features, maiden-spirit masks are meant 
to be worn by strong young men, members of 
the mmwo, or "spirit," society whose function 
is to appease and honor the spirits of the dead, 
since it is they who intercede with the gods on 
behalf of the living. If satisfied, the ancestors 
bring good fortune, health, children, and pros- 

perity to their descendants; if not, they bring 
disaster. Among the northern Igbo, maiden-spirit 
masks are worn at the most important celebra- 
tion of the year, that of the harvest, and, later, 
during the dry season, at the feast of the earth 
goddess (J. S. Boston, 1960, p. 60). 

Collected by missionaries, and brought to the 
Vatican for the "Esposizione Missionaria" in 

1925, this mask then became the property of 
the Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico. 

J. P. 


Comparative work cited: J. S. Boston, "Some Northern 
Ibo Masquerades," in Journal of the Royal Anthropological 
Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 61, 1960, pp. 54-65. 






Mexico; Aztec 

Classic period (15th century) 

Height, 20>/i 6 " (51 cm); maximum width, 10 'A" 

(26 cm); depth, 10 'A" (26 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

AM 3296 

The Aztec word quetzalcoatl means "the plumed 
serpent." This sculpture, executed in reddish 
stone, represents a coiled serpent with an up- 
right body entirely covered with feathers, in the 
center of which appears an ear of Indian maize. 
The almost aquiline head, with its large, sharp 
eyes and forked, projecting tongue, gives the 
sculpture an aura of mysterious horror appro- 
priate to the Aztec pantheon. 

This mythological reptile is the symbol of one 
of the principal Aztec gods. It carries the same 
name, and expresses the dualistic nature of this 
god as the deity of wind and of fire and light. 
As the god of wind, Quetzalcoatl is as fast as a 
serpent (which, due to its smooth body, does 
not know obstacles) yet flies like a bird and must, 
therefore, be plumed. In this aspect, the deity 
destroyed the world at the end of the second 
mythological era — that of the "Four Winds" — 
during which it had been the dominant god. As 
the deity of fire and light, Quetzalcoatl is con- 
nected with the planet Venus, the herald of dawn 
and the carrier of civilization — represented by 
the ear of Indian maize, which, in order to renew 
itself, had need of frequent human sacrifice. 

This sculpture, of exquisite quality and the 
finest execution, came from the Mexican plateau. 
It dates from the Classic period of Aztec art, but 
nothing is known about the date of its discovery. 
Formerly, it belonged to the Museo Borgiano di 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kunst der Mexikaner (exhib. cat.), 
Kunsthaus, Zurich, 1959, p. 82, pi. 105. 



Chile (Tierra del Fuego); Yaghan 
Collected 1920-24 
Painted bark 

Height, 32 'A" (82 an); maximum width, 

8Vs" (22 cm); depth, 3 'Vie" (10 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, 

Inv.no. AM 3198/B 

This mask is very simple — a piece of bark, dried 
and painted white, with three holes: one for 
the mouth, the other two for the eyes. The in- 
ternal crossbars, added to keep the mask rigid, 
are not original. Masks of this type, although 
painted in different ways, were the only kind 
used by the Yaghan, a tribe who lived in Tierra 
del Fuego. Their masks were broadened at the 
base in order to accommodate the head of the 
wearer, and squeezed together at the top into a 
conical shape. Judging from the position of the 
holes for the mouth and the eyes, this one was 
an exception in that the cone points downward 
rather than up. 

The Yaghan used masks of this type during 
the Kina festival in the second initiation rites 
(M. Gusinde, 1937, pp. 1328, 1329). All such 
masks were cut out in practically the same 
manner. Only the color of the mask changed, de- 
pending upon which mythical being the maker 
wished to depict. White masks were worn to 
portray the spirit of the sea perch in the wasenim- 
yaka (corbina-fish) dance and in the lepalus-yaka 
(little-red-fish) dance (M. Gusinde, 1937, p. 1373). 

The Yaghan tribe has become almost extinct, 
and few of its masks are found in collections of 
primitive art. This one once was part of the 
private museum of Father Martin Gusinde of 
Santiago, Chile. He gave the mask to the Ponti- 
ficio Museo Missionario-Etnologico in 1927. 

J. P. 


Comparative work cited: M. Gusinde, Die Yamana (Die 
Feuerland Indianer, II), Modling, 1937, pp. 1328, 1329, 




Colombia (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta); 

Aruaco (?) 
16th century (?) 
Collected 1691 
Painted wood 

Height, 18 %" (48cm); maximum width, 6 Vie" 

(16 cm); depth, 1W (5 cm) 
Pontifkio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

AM 2864/ A 

This sculpture in the form of a human being is 
carved from a plank of wood, with traces of 
white paint that originally probably covered the 
entire object. The body, which is not modeled, 
is more a relief than a statue, although it is sup- 
ported on a base (now almost completely de- 
stroyed) carved with geometric decoration. The 
Face of the sculpture is very strange. Two wide- 
apen eyes surrounded by white circles stare from 
beneath a tall hat with white stripes. A roughly 
indicated nose and a mouth with a protruding 
tongue turned upward complete the image. Two 
semicircular scarifications appear on either side 


of the mouth. The arms, each ornamented with 
two bracelets, are raised and seem to support 
the heavy hat. The chest of the figure is engraved 
with a pectoral — made of blade -shaped seg- 
ments (of mother-of-pearl?) — like those worn 
today by the Amerinds. 

This object displays an inexpert sculptural 
hand. One need only examine the area of the 
nose, mouth, and chin to realize how little 
experience in sculpting its maker possessed. The 
artist who created the mask illustrated in cata- 
logue number 156 surely could not have made 
this one, even if both objects were found in the 
same sanctuary. 

As there is no precise information concern- 
ing the religious beliefs of the Amerinds in the 
seventeenth century, one is forced to rely on re- 
cent reports regarding the beliefs of the people 
living today in the region in which the object 
was collected. Thus, the figure must represent 
the great mother Munkulu, about whom little 
is known. Probably, Munkulu was a deified 
ancestor connected with the cult of fire (K. T. 
Preuss, 1926, pp. 77, 78, ill. 25). This sculpture 
is unique. A careful study of the work would 
perhaps shed light on the beliefs of the Am- 
erinds at the time of the Spanish Conquest 
(H. Bischof, 1972, p. 393). 

Information on the history and provenance 

of the statue appears in the catalogue entry for 
number 156. 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: K.T. Preuss, Forschungsreise zu den 
Kdgaba, Modling, 1926, pp. 77, 78, ill. 25; H. Bischof, 
"Una Coleccidn Etnografica de la Sierra Nevada de Santa 
Marta (Colombia)— Siglo XVII," in Atti del XL Congresso 
degli Americanisti, II, Rome, 1972, p. 393. 



Colombia (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta); 

Aruaco (?) 
16th century (?) 
Collected 1691 
Painted wood 

Height, 6 Vie" (16 cm); maximum width, 13 Vs" 

(34 cm); depth, 3 Vie" (7.8 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

AM 3233 

Carved in the shape of a feline, this wooden ob- 
ject is incised with geometric designs and coat- 
ed with white paint. The rectangular head is 

joined to the body by a nearly square neck with 
a reinforcement above it extending to the tail. 
The body, with its two lateral apertures, was in- 
tended as a support for some kind of sculpture, 
which was inserted into a vertical slot in the 
upper part of the object. The long tail, now 
broken, served as a handle. The execution is 
reminiscent of the wood figure seen in catalogue 
number 154, and it is possible that the same 
artist created both pieces. 

The animal represented by the sculpture is 
the puma, often shown with anthropomorphic 
features. As a god of fire, he was venerated dur- 
ing the drying out of the fields preparatory to 
their cultivation. 

Another support of this type is also in the 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico (Inv. 
no. AM 3232) and forms part of the group of 
sculptures taken from a shrine at Sierra Nevada 
de Santa Marta in 1691. For the history and 
provenance of this object, see the entry for cat- 
alogue number 156. 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: K.T. Preuss, Forschungsreise zu den 
Kdgaba, Modling, 1926, pp. 77 ff.; H. Bischof, "Una 
CoIecci6n Etnografica de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta 
(Colombia)— Siglo XVII," in Atti del XL Congresso degli 
Americanisti, II, Rome, 1972, pp. 391-98. 




Colombia (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta); 

Aruaco (?) 
16th century (?) 
Collected 1691 

Height, 7 Vie" (18 cm); maximum width, 5 Vs" 

(15 cm); depth, 3 'Vie" (10 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

AM 2864/ B 

This realistic mask, with an aquiline nose and 
a half-open mouth, depicts a tranquil human 
face that originally may have had inlaid eyes. 
The lower lip is broken, but the protruding 

tongue remains visible. The knot in the right 
cheek suggests the presence of a coca quid (H. 
Bischof, 1972, p. 393). The mask must have 
been surmounted by a crown (possibly of feath- 
ers) since there are attachment holes along the 
upper edge. Traces of a light cream color remain 
on the entire surface of the mask, a well-propor- 
tioned work of great refinement and detail, like 
an actual death mask. 

The mask represents the great-grandmother 
Sun, venerated during the drying out of the fields 
preparatory to their cultivation. Together with a 
wooden figure and a wooden support (see cat. 
nos. 154, 155) and two other pieces now in the 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, this 
object was collected in July 1691 by Fray Fran- 
cisco Romero when he destroyed a native sanc- 
tuary in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in 
Colombia. Romero gathered from the sanctu- 
ary a few examples of objects that he described 

as "idols" and "instruments of idolatry." 

In 1925, Marshall H. Saville (pp. 86, 105- 
6, n. 115), relying on erroneous information 
provided in 1885 by Giuseppe Angelo Colini 
(pp. 316-25, 914-32), ascribed the sculptures 
to ancient Mexico. Henning Bischof corrected 
this view in 1972 and documented the prove- 
nance of the sculptures, dating them to the six- 
teenth century, or possibly earlier. They belonged 
to Cardinal Stefano Borgia (1731-1804). 

J. P. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. A. Colini, "Collezioni etnografiche 
del Museo Borgiano," in Bollettino della Societa Geografica 
Italiana, XIX, XXII, ser. II, X, Rome, 1885, pp. 316-25, 
914-32; M. H. Saville, "The Wood-Carver's Art in An- 
cient Mexico," in Contributions from the Museum of the 
American Indian, Heye Foundation, IX, New York, 1925, 
pp. 86, 105-6, n. 115; H. Bischof, "Una Coleccion Etno- 
grafica de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia)— 
Siglo XVII," in Atti del XL Congresso degli Americanisti, II, 
Rome, 1972, pp. 391-98. 



Papua New Guinea (East Sepik Province, 

Kaminimbit village); latmul people 
Collected before 1924 
Painted wood 

Height, 59 Vie" (150 cm); maximum width, 9 Vie" 
(23 cm) 

Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

This wooden suspension hook, or sambun, is 
carved and painted to depict a female being who 
is part human and part bird. The head is adorned 
with a conical crest pierced by three holes for 
cane bands, from which the hook is meant to 
hang. The oval face, its large, round eyes encir- 
cled with ocher and white; the aquiline nose, 
with a hollow space substituting for a septum 
and nostrils elongated into crescents that become 
circles around the eyes; and the delicate mouth, 
also crescent shaped, make for an image of ex- 
traordinary refinement. The neck of the figure 
is at the same time the neck of a bird, probably 
a white-bellied sea eagle. The bird's beak is joined 
to the neck, and its head juts out beneath the 
figure's face. The bird's wings form the arms of 
the figure, and the upper part of the figure's chest, 
engraved with zigzag lines, displays the bird's 
feathers. The bosom, though flat, is painted and 
carved to indicate the breasts. From the narrow 
abdomen rises an enormous navel with scarifi- 
cation circles. The legs, very thin and straight, 
end in lunette shapes from which two hooks 
protrude. The object is painted ocher and white 
on the front and back. 

A masterpiece of Melanesian sculpture in 
terms of both religious content and artistic 
execution, this sambun is a classic example of 
the suspension hooks of the East Sepik region 
of Papua New Guinea. The finesse of the fea- 
tures and the proportions of the supernatural 
being portrayed testify to the expertise and imagi- 
nation of the artist, whose skill as a sculptor is 
illustrated by the three half-moons — the ex- 
tended nostrils, the small, fine mouth, and the 
anchor-like base. 

The object represents a female aquatic spirit, 
Kamboragea, important to the success of fish- 
ing — an economic activity essential to latmul 
survival — and to the fertility of latmul women. 
Because religious faith was closely related to daily 
life in latmul society — as in all so-called primi- 
tive societies — the hook, intended for general 
use, also served as a ritualistic and, consequently, 
a sacred object. 

Father Franz Kirschbaum collected this sculp- 
ture, adding it to a group of objects that were 
given to the Vatican Museums in 1924 by the 
missionaries Verbiti. 

J. P. 





Papua New Guinea (East Sepik Province); 

Kapriman or Kaningara people 
Collected before 1932 
Painted cane 

Height, 27V 16 " (69 cm); maximum width, 11 %" 

(30cm); depth, 27 9 A 6 " (70 cm) 
Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

AU 22651 A 

This mask is made of cane woven over a wood- 
en frame, and represents a mythological animal. 
It includes a number of Sepik-area stylistic 
features — the crested head; the relatively small 
ears; the large, round eyes; the long nose; and 

the mouth, wide open as if about to devour 
someone or something. All of these elements 
give the object a terrifying aspect. To emphasize 
the extraordinary, unearthly strangeness of the 
being represented, the mask is painted black and 
white — the colors of the supernatural and of 
life, respectively. Such masks were kept in men's 
ceremonial houses and were taken out only dur- 
ing initiation rites to teach initiates the tradi- 
tions of the tribe. 

Father Franz Kirschbaum, in notes on his 
collection, said that, although woven masks of 
this type were made exclusively by the Kapriman 
and Kaningara peoples, they were used as well 
by neighboring tribes, who either traded for or 
stole them. 

Father Kirschbaum gave this mask to the Vati- 
can Museums in 1932. j p 




Papua New Guinea (East Sepik Province, 

Kaminimbit village) 
Collected before 1924 
Painted wood 

Height, 50" (127cm); maximum width, 13 V 4 " 
(35 cm) 

Pontificio Museo Missionario-Etnologico, Inv. no. 

This board, carved with stone tools and per- 
forated, at first seems to be a fanciful, random 
design, difficult to interpret. It was originally 
painted ocher and white, but the color has almost 
completely disappeared from the front, the 
uppermost part of which is dominated by a large 
face in low relief. Enormous eyes surrounded 
by white and dark circles occupy the major por- 
tion of the face. A very narrow, long nose, now 
broken away, once hid a tiny, barely delineated 
mouth. As can be seen from traces on the 
abdomen, the nose descended all the way to 
the two diminutive, bird-shaped feet. On each 
side of the neck is a small pig, and in the spaces 
between the thin body and the edges of the slab 
four large birds (perhaps eagles) are symmetri- 
cally arranged — two facing up and two down. 
Eight hooks extend upward from a panel on 
the lowest section of the board, in the center of 
which an owl-like face is carved. The back of 
the board, though resembling the front, lacks 
the nose and the bottommost area of the face, 
and displays a large, open mouth and better- 
preserved paint. 

The female figure depicted here is probably 
the aquatic spirit Kamboragea (see also cat. no. 
157). However, some scholars have recognized 
the figure as a depiction of the tree of life. Oth- 
ers have seen it as an archetypal portrayal of a 
cannibal, endowed with supernatural powers al- 
though incorporating natural forms. If this last 
interpretation is correct, the board must have 
been used as a rack for human trophy skulls. 

Father Franz Kirschbaum, who worked in 
New Guinea for many years, says that slabs like 
this one, which he calls ramu-tyamban, were used 
as wall ornaments in homes and were highly 
prized as wedding gifts. Passed from generation 
to generation as family treasures, by the 1920s 
objects of this sort were no longer being pro- 
duced. According to Kirschbaum, the boards 
were to be found in the territory between Tam- 
banum and Parimbai along the Sepik River; 
recent research indicates that they were carved 
by the Sawos, a tribe living just north of the 
Sepik, and were traded to inhabitants of the river 

This example was sent to the "Esposizione 
Missionaria" of 1925. 

J. P. 



159 (front) 


159 (back) 


The collection of modern painting, sculpture, and 
graphic arts installed in 1973 in the Vatican Mu- 
seums is composed of the gifts of contemporary 
artists and collectors. They are the most direct 
proof of art's "prodigious capacity for expressing, 
besides the human, the religious, the divine, the 
Christian." With these words, spoken on June 23, 1973, Pope 
Paul VI (1963-78) inaugurated the Vatican's newest collec- 
tion, which now includes more than 500 works of art, signed 
by 250 artists, on display in 55 rooms in the Papal Palace 
(figs. 44, 45). 

This event marked the end of an undertaking that began 
in the Sistine Chapel on May 7, 1964, at a meeting with 
artists requested by Paul VI. On that occasion the pope re- 
called the long tradition of friendship between artists and the 
Church, from which had arisen the artistic and spiritual patri- 
mony that is mankind's universal heritage. The meeting place, 
itself, was the most moving evidence of this statement. Over 
the years this collaboration, said Pope Paul VI, seemed to 
have been interrupted: the themes of religious art had be- 
come tired repetitions of the past, and rules had been im- 
posed on artists that did not leave room for free inventiveness. 
A clarification had become necessary: "We must again be- 
come allies. We must ask of you the possibilities which the 
Lord has given you and therefore, within the limits of the 
functionality and the finality which form a fraternal link be- 
tween art and the worship of God, we must leave to your 
voices the free and powerful chant of which you are capable." 

The response to this open invitation formulated by Paul 
VI for a rapprochement between the Church and art came 
from artists, collectors, corporations (both private and public) , 
and various national committees, and was coordinated by 
Monsignor Pasquale Macchi, the pope's private secretary. 

The difficult task of arranging a new museum in the 
limited space available in the interior of the Vatican palaces 

was resolved by the Vatican's General Management of Tech- 
nical Services, which restored a series of spaces previously 
used as storage rooms and as living quarters, arranging the 
rooms around the nucleus provided by the old residences of the 
popes, from Nicholas III (1277-80) to Sixtus V (1585-90). 

A selection of the works in this new collection com- 
prised those previously given to the Holy See that had been 
exhibited in the Contemporary Art Section of the Pinacoteca. 
This section, inaugurated in 1960 during the papacy of John 
XXIII (1958-63), was the result of an initiative approved by 
Pius XII (1939-58) on December 28, 1956, and carried out 




by Monsignor Ennio Francia, the representative of the Unione 
Messa degli Artisti, and by an advisory commission operat- 
ing in both Italy and France. Works of the School of Pont- 
Aven, given by Abbot Pierre Tuarze in 1963 and in 1966, 
were added to the original nucleus. 

The task that followed, the arrangement of the Collection, 
was directed by Professor Dandolo Bellini, Honorary Inspec- 
tor for Contemporary Religious Art. The undertaking was 
made difficult by the spaces available and by the lack of works, 
limiting, in part, the ability to apply chronological artistic 
development as a criterion for the installation. The current 
arrangement offers, by the express will of Paul VI, a pano- 
rama of today's art in relation to its capacity to express reli- 
gious sentiment. 

Within the range of its purposes, above all documentary 
in nature, the Collection established a program of exhibi- 
tions and seminars in collaboration with those organizations 
created in its preparatory phase. With the help of artists, 
"Evangelization and Art" (1974), a review centered on the 
theme of "The Face of Christ," was realized, as were the 

exhibitions "Saint Paul in Contemporary Art" (1977) and 
"Witness of the Spirit" (1979), both in homage to Paul VPs 
eightieth year. 

In collaboration with the Friends of American Art in 
Religion, an active cultural association presided over by Ter- 
ence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of New York, two semi- 
nars and related exhibitions were organized on the themes 
"The Influence of Spiritual Inspiration on American Art" 
(1976) and "Craft, Art, and Religion" (1978). In 1980, a large 
exhibition of American landscape art of the last one hundred 
and fifty years, entitled "A Mirror of Creation," was held. 

The Collection's acquisitions during the past few years 
were exhibited to the public in 1980 in the Braccio di Carlo 
Magno, a large space behind Bernini's colonnade adjoining 
the basilica of Saint Peter's that has become the customary 
site for exhibitions organized by the Vatican Museums. These 
new works form a solid core of additions to the Collection 
and contribute effectively to the reduction of its imbalances, 
which are inevitable in a young museum. 

Mario Ferrazza 



ANDRE DERAIN (Chatou 1880-Paris 1954) 


Oil on canvas 

Height, 34 W (88 cm); width, 45 "/i 6 " (116 cm) 
Signed, lower right 

Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of D. P., 
Inv. no. ARM 23722 

This painting marks Derain's rupture with Fau- 
vism and the beginning of his Cubist experiment, 
which, later, due to his temperament and culture, 
he abandoned in order to reelaborate the themes 
of the classical French tradition. During the sum- 
mer of 1909, Derain stayed with Georges Braque 
in Carrieres-Saint-Denis. Stimulated by the pres- 
ence of his friend, who the previous year in 
L'Estaque had created — along with Picasso — the 
first Cubist landscapes, Derain painted with an 
inspiration clearly derived from Paul Cezanne, 
but with a geometric simplification of architec- 

ture and a sobriety of palette, which he reduced 
to dense green, slate gray, and ocher tones. 

Previously designated by the title Chatou (it 
appears thus in G. Hilaire, 1959), this work was 
given its current name by Madame Derain, who 
indicated that the painting had been done in 
Carrieres-Saint-Denis (cf. the comment regard- 
ing a picture of the same subject in D. Sutton, 
Andre Derain, Cologne, 1960, ill. 23, p. 153). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Hilaire, Derain, Geneva, 1959, pi. 80. 


CARLO CARRA (Quargnento 

[Alessandria] 1881-Milan 1966) 


Oil on canvas 

Height, 31 1 / 2 " (80 cm); width, 23 W (60 cm) 
Signed and dated, lower left 
Collezione d 'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Franco 
Marmont du Haut Champ, Inv. no. ARM 23713 

Carra's third rendering of this theme was re- 
planned during the years when his painting tend- 
ed to shift in the direction of feeling and his 
color assumed clearer tones without, however, 
diluting his stylistic rigor and that restrained 
emotion, that immanence of drama, which re- 
main the central motifs of his art. 

The theme, taken from the Bible, has been 
known since the sixth century (see, for example, 
the miniature of the Genesis in Vienna) , and was 
discussed by medieval and Counter- Reformation 
theologians, who held opposing opinions on the 
morality of the behavior of the two women (and, 
in general, of the women of Israel, who consid- 
ered sterility the greatest shame) because they 
wanted to "preserve seed of [their] father" 
(Genesis 19:32). More explicit, in this regard, is 
the position of Saint Jerome: "Liberorum magis 
desiderio quam libidinis" ("More from desire 
to have children than from lust"). 

This subject, previously treated by Altdorfer, 
Guercino, Rubens, and Courbet, was first con- 
fronted by Carra in 1919 after a metaphysical 
experience. He kept within the ideas upheld by 
Valoriplastici, Mario Broglio's review (which gave 
its name to the artistic movement of the 1900s), 
and he directed his search toward the recovery 



of the Italian traditions of the Trecento and the 
Quattrocento. Carra's second version, of 1925, 
was destroyed by the artist in 1926. An engrav- 
ing of it exists in the Scheiwiller Collection in 
Milan, and it was published by G. Raimondi in 
Disegni di Carrd (Milan, 1942). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Torriano, Carra, Milan, 1942, color- 
plate XXXIX; R. Longhi, Carra, 2nd ed., Milan, 1945, pi. 
XXXI; M. Carra, Carra, tutta V opera pittorica, II, 1931-50, 
Milan, 1968, p. 695, pis. 37-40, p. 381, colorplate; R 
Bigongiari and M. Carra, L'opera completa di Carra (Classici 
dell'Arte Rizzoli, 44), Milan, 1970, p. 103, ill. 317; G. 
Mascherpa, V. Mariani, and G. Fallani, Collezione Vaticana 
d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Milan, 1974, p. 179, ill. 544; on 
the subject: L. Reau, Iconographie de 1'art chretien, Paris, 
1956, II, p. 115. 


OTTO DIX (Untermhaus 1891-Singen 1969) 


Oil on panel 

Height, 31 %" (81 cm); width, 39 %" (100 cm) 
Signed with a monogram and dated, lower right 
Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of D. P., 
Inv. no. ARM 23723 

This painting belongs to Dix's "Christlicher 
Mystizismus" ("Christian Mysticism") period, 
that is, to the years from 1940 to 1946 in which 
the painter developed the themes of beauty and 
sweetness. They were vaguely indicated in the 
Mother and Child of 1932 and then more deci- 
sively confronted, ten years later, in his images 
of the Madonna in The Nativity of Christ and The 
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, and in the small 
angelic figure of Saint Veronica who wipes the 
sweat of Christ on the Via Cruris. 

The attenuation of the violence of the images 
and the less corrosive drawing in works from this 
period, when compared with Dix's previous art, 
have resulted in some critics considering this 
phase as one of lessened moral commitment by 
the artist, who, on the contrary — with a differ- 
ent style — kept unchanged his condemnation 
of a society that observes from the sidelines the 
unfolding of a tragedy. 

The work is also known by the title The Bear- 
ing of the Cross. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Conzelmann, Otto Dix, Hanover, 1959, 
pp. 55-56; F. Loftier, Otto Dix, Leben und Werk, Vienna 
and Munich, 1967, p. 111. 



GEORGES ROUAULT (Paris 1871-1958) 

c. 1946 

Oil on cardboard 

Height, 20 l /s" (51 cm); width, 14 Vie" (37cm) 
Signed, lower left 

Collezione d 'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Isabelle 
Rouault, Paris, Inv. no. ARM 23690 (ex 554) 

Rouault's Christian feeling is revealed in its purest 
and most powerful form in his explorations of the 
Passion of Christ, a theme that symbolizes the 
suffering of all humanity. The artist, once de- 

scribed as "the only Christian who has realized 
in his painting the drama of our times" (P. 
Courthion, 1964), turned to this subject in 1912 
(Hahnloser Collection in Winterthur), in 1933 
(Musee National d'Art Modeme in Paris), and in 
the 1950s — these last versions produced with 
the full resources of his mature years. 

The present work is, perhaps, the most mov- 
ing example because of the intense plasticity of 
the face and the insistence, on the part of the 
painter, upon a subject matter that appears 
charged with an inner luminosity all its own. 
When the painting was adapted for a large tap- 
estry (now in the church in Hem, France), the 
richness of the impasto, an evocative device in 
Rouault's art, proved difficult for the tapestry 
weaver, J. Plasse-le-Caisne, to capture. He re- 
called the process during a memorial service in 

homage to Rouault at the Centre Catholique des 
Intellectuels Francais in Paris, on May 19, 1958, 
two months after the painter's death (cf. P. 
Courthion, 1964, n. 451). 

From 1937 on, Rouault virtually stopped dat- 
ing his art, although he continued to collect 
newspaper clippings about himself and his work. 
These have provided Pierre Courthion, his friend, 
with a rare form of documentation on which to 
base his critical analyses of the artist. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Courthion, Rouault. La vita e I'opera, 
Milan, 1964, pp. 252, 255, colorplate; idem, in Hommage 
a Georges Rouault, Paris, 1971, pp. 66, 78, colorplate; W 
George and G. Nouaille Rouault, L Univers de Rouault, Paris, 
1971; N. Possenti Ghiglia, in Rouault, Ancona, 1977, p. 
173; M. Ferrazza, "Reparto d'arte dell'ottocento e contem- 
poranea: Allestimenti," in Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e 
Gallerie Pontificie, II, 1981, p. 151, ill. p. 152. 






Oil on Masonite 

Height, 40Vi 6 " (102 cm); width, 48Vi 6 " (122 cm) 
Unsigned and undated 

Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Cardinal 
Alberto diJorio, Inv. no. ARM 23591 (ex 443) 

The present study is no less moving than the 
Crucifixion of 1946, commissioned by Canon W. 
Hussey in 1944 for the church of Saint Mat- 
thew in Northampton, England (the same church 
for which Henry Moore executed a serene 
Madonna and Child, from 1943 to 1944). 

As Giorgio Testori, the Italian art critic and 
author, recounts, "When I asked him why, then, 
he had chosen the theme of the 'Crucifixion' for 
the large altarpiece in Northampton, rather than 
the proposed theme of 'Christ in Gethsemane,' 
Sutherland replied: 'Because it is the most trag- 
ic of themes and, at the same time, the only one 
which contains the promise of Salvation.' " 

For Sutherland, this dual inspiration remained 
constant, giving rise to successive interpretations 
of the subject— that of 1947 (Evill Collection in 
London) and the imposing altarpiece of 1960-61 
(for Saint Aidan's Church in London) — images 
of the martyred body of Christ of such tragic 
solemnity, and rendered with such expressive 
force, that they immediately recall related art of 
the Cinquecento, as well as Matthias Griine- 
wald's Isenheim Altarpiece. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Cooper, The Work of Graham Suth- 
erland, London, 1961; A. Henze, Das christliche Thema 
in der modernen Malerei, Heidelberg, 1965, p. 59, pi. p. 
213; F. Arcangeli, Graham Sutherland, Milan, 1973; G. 
Mascherpa, V. Mariani, and G. Fallani, Collezione Vaticana 
d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Milan, 1974, p. 146, colorplate 
77 p. 129; G. Testori, "Graham Sutherland. La dolcezza e 
le spine," in Corriere delta Sera, Milan, February 17, 1981, p.3. 

MARIO SIRONI (Sassari 1885-Milan 1961) 

Oil on panel 

Height, 22 Vie" (56cm); width, 27 9 /i 6 " (70cm) 
Signed, lower right 

Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Cardinal 
Alberto diJorio, Inv. no. ARM 23575 (ex 51) 

The subject, from the Gospel of Saint John 
(4:1-30), tells of Christ's meeting with the Sa- 
maritan woman, near Jacob's well. The effec- 
tive symbolism of the allegory, the living water 
of Baptism — that is, Truth and Grace — is found 
in Christian art from the first frescoes in the cata- 
combs as well as in medieval and modern art, 
its fixed iconography allowing only modest 


changes in the arrangement of the two figures: 
they are seated at the edge of the well in the 
Oriental tradition (more faithful to Saint John's 
text), or arranged symmetrically at the sides of 
the well in the Occidental tradition. 

By emphasizing the light and almost obliter- 
ating the pictorial image, the artist conveys the 
gist of the conversation and the intimacy of the 
meeting. Sironi's particular interpretation of the 
story was an outgrowth of that natural religious 
bent that, in the years following World War II, 
succeeded in attenuating his dramatic vision. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Valsecchi, Mario Sironi, Rome, 1962, 
p. 121, pi. 65; G. Mascherpa, V. Mariani, and G. Fallani, 
Colkzione Vaticana d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Milan, 1974, 
p. 185, colorplate 119; E. Camesasca and C. Gian Ferrari, 
Mario Sironi, Scritti editi e inediti, Milan, 1980, p. 456. 


BEN SHAHN (Kovno, Lithuania 1898-New 

York 1969) 


Watercolor and tempera on paper, mounted on 

Height, 39 Vis" (99. 5 cm); width, 25 Vs" (64. 5 cm) 
Signed, lower right 

Collezione d 'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Mr. 
and Mrs. H. Garfinkle, Miami, Inv. no. ARM 
23570 (ex 366) 

The Third Allegory is rich in the imagery that 
recurs throughout Shahn's work, and, perhaps, 
best illustrates the meaning of an allegory — the 
recall of ancient events. The symbolism of man's 
terror in front of the flames, embodied in the 
chimerical beast that appears in the first version 
of the work (of 1948), grew out of the artist's 
deep emotion at the death of four black chil- 
dren in a fire in Chicago. Shahn explored the 
subject again, in 1953, in the Second Allegory, 
where the terror suggests infernal fire; it is 
reelaborated upon, here, in an absolutely per- 
sonal and fanciful way. 

More explicit in Shahn's work are the refer- 
ences to the artist's early childhood spent in 
Russian Lithuania, and his felicitous attachment 
to Hebraic themes; these became inspirational 
motifs for redesigning the letters of the alphabet 
(a very fine version of which appears in the silk 
screen Decalogue, of 1961) and for his series of 
musicians with ancient instruments, illustrating 
Psalm 150. The latter were preparatory draw- 
ings for a mosaic mural for the Jewish commu- 
nity of Rockville, Maryland, but the mural was 
not executed due to the death of the artist. The 
drawings were published posthumously in the 
Hallelujah Suite (1969-70). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Bentivoglio, Bert Shahn, Rome, 1963, 
p. 62, colorplate 3; J. T. Soby, Ben Shahn, Milan, 1963, 
pp. 141-42, pi. 152, p. 208; A. Del Guercio, Ben Shahn, 
La forma e ilcontenuto; operescelte, Rome, 1964, colorplate; 
B. Bryson Shahn, Ben Shahn, New York, n.d. (1972), pp. 
233, 257, colorplate p. 261 (the caption that appears here 
was erroneously switched with that of the work on p. 
256); G. Mascherpa, V Mariani, and G. Fallani, Collezione 
Vaticana d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Milan, 1974, p. 171, 
colorplate 102, p. 154. 



HENRI MATISSE (Le Cateau-Cambresis 

1869-Nice 1954) 


Cut and painted paper on cardboard 
Height, 16 ' 9W (512 cm); width, 8 ' 2 W 

(252 cm) 

Collezione d'Arte ReligiosaModerna, Inv. no. ARM 
23 757-23 758 

This collage of papiers decoupes is the final, full- 
size maquette for the stained-glass window in the 
apse of the Chapel of the Rosary of the Domini- 
can Sisters of Vence. Employing a technique that 
he had experimented with already in his studies 
for designs for the decorative arts, Matisse had 
large sheets of paper prepared with only three 
colors of gouache paint: lemon yellow, light 
green, and ultramarine. From these, he cut out 
a series of free-form floral motifs, which he 
then assembled and pasted onto a separate sheet 
of paper. 

The chapel afforded the artist the opportunity 
to realize "the creation of a religious space" (cf. 
N. Calmels, 1975, p. 150). Not only did Matisse 
conceive of the decoration, but he designed the 
sacred furnishings and the architecture, as well. 
At the consecration of the chapel, in 1951, 
Matisse explained, "This work has taken me 
four years of exclusive and assiduous work, and 
it represents the result of my entire active life. I 
consider it, in spite of its imperfections, to be 
my masterpiece" (A. H. Barr, Jr., 1951, p. 287). 

This maquette, along with the plans for the 
stained-glass windows in the left aisle of the nave 
and in the choir; the series of five silk chasubles 
with liturgical motifs; and the designs and pre- 
liminary studies for the Virgin and Child, in the 
right aisle of the nave, are part of the Vatican 
Collection. (The stained-glass windows in Vence 
were executed by Paul Bony.) Together, they are 
a unique statement of the strong commitment 
of a great modern artist to religious art. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. H. Barr, Jr., Matisse, His Art and His 
Public, New York, 1951; G. Diehl, Henri Matisse, Paris, 1954; 
H. Matisse, Chapelle du Rosaire des Dominicaines de Vence, 
Vence, 1963 ed.; G. Marchiori, Matisse, Milan, n.d. (1965); 
J. Lassaigne, Matisse, Ital. ed., Geneva, 1966; A. Verdet, 
"Architecture et Decoration," in Hommaged Henri Matisse, 
Paris, 1970, p. 74; G. Mascherpa, V. Mariani, and G. 
Fallani, Collezione Vaticana d'Arte ReligiosaModerna, Milan, 
1974; N. Calmels, Matisse: La Chapelle du Rosaire des Domini- 
caines de Vence et de I'Espoir, Digne, 1975; J. Cowan, intro. 
to Henri Matisse Paper Cut-Outs, New York, 1977. 


GIACOMO MANZU (Bergamo 1908- ) 


Height, 38 W (97cm); width, 15 W (40 cm); 

depth, 22 %" (58 cm) 
Signed, below the left foot 
Collezione d'Arte Religiosa Moderna, Gift of Anita 

Blanc, Rome, lnv. no. ARM 23319 (ex 557) 

The female figure, instilled with an emotional 
charge all Manzu's own, recurs throughout his 
art. As the artist explained in a letter of Novem- 
ber 12, 1979, to Monsignor Donato de Bonis, 
Francesca "was a child of thirteen or fourteen. I 
asked her mother to let me see her nude, and 
she kindly allowed her to undress, and I saw 
her as flowers are seen in the spring. A short 
time later I returned to Rome and began the 
portrait, which I think I finished in 1941, happy 
to have made this flower without leaves, be- 
cause the soul is nourished by the purity of child- 
like beauty." 

A first version of this subject, from 1940, is 
now in the Raccolta Amici di Manzu in Ardea, 
Italy. It was redesigned in the two models now 
in the Pezzotta Collection in Bergamo (cf. L. 
Bartolini, 1944, and C. L. Ragghianti, 1957, pis. 
11, 29, respectively), and was elaborated upon 
once again in this final version, presented at the 
IV Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte in Rome, 
where it won the Grand Prize for sculpture 
in 1943. 

The image of Francesca continued to exercise 
a strong influence on Manzu. In 1953, it was 
the subject of a series of drawings exhibited in 
Turin but later destroyed by the artist — except 
for a few examples that had been "rashly given 
as gifts" (Manzu, himself, recalls this). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Bertocchi, Manzu, Milan, 1943, pi. 
30; M. Venturoli, Viaggio intomo alia Quadriennale, Rome, 
1943, p. 53, pi. p. 61; L. Bartolini, Manzu, Rovereto, 1944, 
p. 21, pi. 13; A. Pacchioni, G. Manzu, Milan, 1948, p. 19, 
pi. 35; E. Huttinger, Giacomo Manzu, Amriswil, Switzerland, 

1956, p. 8, pi. 7; C. L. Ragghianti, Giacomo Manzii, Milan, 

1957, p. 23, pi. 36; M. Carra, 1 maestri della scultura, Giacomo 
Manzu, Milan, 1966, colorplate IV (erroneously given as 
Collection Pio Manzu); M. De Micheli, Giacomo Manzu, 
Milan, 1971, p. 16, colorplate 26; M. Ferrazza, "Reparto 
d'arte dell'ottocento e contemporanea: Allestimenti," in 
Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, II, 1981, 
pp. 151-52, ill. p. 155. 



This list of popes and antipopes is derived from one compiled by 
A. Mercati in 1947 under the auspices of the Vatican, though 
some changes have been made on the basis of recent scholarship 
and the list has been brought up to date. The dates of each pope's 
reign follow his name; for popes after the end of the Great Schism 
(1378-1417), family names are given as well. The names of anti- 
popes are enclosed in brackets, while alternative numberings of 
papal names appear in parentheses. 

SAINT LINUS (67-76) 

SAINT SIXTUS I (115-25) 

SAINT PIUS I (140-55) 
SAINT SOTER (166-75) 

SAINT VICTOR I (189-99) 

SAINT URBAN I (222-30) 
SAINT FABIAN (236-50) 
[NOVATIAN (251)] 
SAINT LUCIUS I (253-54) 

SAINT FELIX I (269-74) 
SAINT JULIUS I (337-52) 

LIBERIUS (352-66) 
[FELIX II (355-65)] 
[URSINUS (366-67)] 


[EULALIUS (418-19)] 
SAINT LEO I (440-61) 
SAINT HILARY (461-68) 
SAINT FELIX III (II) (483-92) 
[LAWRENCE (498; 501-5)] 

SAINT JOHN I (523-26) 
SAINT FELIX IV (III) (526-30) 
BONIFACE II (530-32) 
[DIOSCORUS (530)] 
JOHN II (533-35) 
VIGILIUS (537-55) 
PELAGIUS I (556-61) 

JOHN III (561-74) 
BENEDICT I (575-79) 
PELAGIUS II (579-90) 
SAINT GREGORY I (590-604) 
SABINIAN (604-6) 


BONIFACE V (619-25) 
HONORIUS I (625-38) 
JOHN IV (640-42) 
THEODORE I (642-49) 
SAINT MARTIN I (649-55) 
SAINT EUGENE I (654-57) 
DEUSDEDIT II (672-76) 

DONUS (676-78) 
SAINT AGATHO (678-81) 
SAINT LEO "II (682-83) 
JOHN V (685-86) 
CONON (686-87) 
[THEODORE (687)] 
[PASCHAL (687)] 
SAINT SERGIUS I (687-701) 
JOHN VI (701-5) 
JOHN VII (705-7) 

STEPHEN (752) 
STEPHEN II (III) (752-57) 

SAINT PAUL I (757-67) 
[CONSTANTINE (767-69)] 

[PHILIP (768)] 
STEPHEN in (IV) (768-72) 

ADRIAN I (772-95) 
SAINT LEO III (795-816) 
STEPHEN IV (V) (816-17) 
EUGENE II (824-27) 
GREGORY IV (827-44) 
[JOHN (844)] 
SERGIUS II (844-47) 
SAINT LEO IV (847-55) 
BENEDICT III (855-58) 
ADRIAN II (867-72) 
JOHN VIII (872-82) 
MARINUS I (882-84) 
STEPHEN V (VI) (885-91) 
FORMOSUS (891-96) 
STEPHEN VI (VII) (896-97) 
ROMANUS (897) 
JOHN IX (898-900) 
BENEDICT IV (900-903) 

LEO V (903) 
[CHRISTOPHER (903-4)] 

SERGIUS III (904-11) 
LANDO (913-14) 
JOHN X (914-28) 
LEO VI (928) 
STEPHEN VII (VIII) (928-31) 
JOHN XI (931-35) 
LEO VII (936-39) 
STEPHEN VIII (IX) (939-42) 
MARINUS II (942-46) 
AGAPETUS II (946-55) 
JOHN XII (955-64) 
LEO VIII (963-65) 
BENEDICT V (964-66) 

JOHN XIII (965-72) 
BENEDICT VI (973-74) 
[BONIFACE VII (974; 984-85)] 
BENEDICT VII (974-83) 
JOHN XIV (983-84) 
JOHN XV (985-96) 
GREGORY V (996-99) 
[JOHN XVI (997-98)] 
SILVESTER II (999-1003) 
JOHN XVII (1003) 
JOHN XVIII (1004-9) 
SERGIUS IV (1009-12) 
BENEDICT VIII (1012-24) 
[GREGORY (1012)] 
JOHN XIX (1024-32) 
BENEDICT IX (1032-44) 
GREGORY VI (1045-46) 
CLEMENT II (1046-47) 
BENEDICT IX (1047-48) 

DAMASUS II (1048) 
SAINT LEO IX (1049-54) 

VICTOR II (1055-57) 
STEPHEN IX (X) (1057-58) 
[BENEDICT X (1058-59)] 
NICHOLAS II (1059-61) 
ALEXANDER II (1061-73) 
[HONORIUS II (1061-72)] 
[CLEMENT III (1080; 1084-1100)] 
PASCHAL II (1099-1118) 
[THEODORIC (1100)] 
[ALBERT (1102)] 
[SILVESTER IV (1105-11)] 

GELASIUS II (1118-19) 
[GREGORY VIII (1118-21)] 
CALLISTUS II (1119-24) 
HONORIUS II (1124-30) 


[CELESTINE II (1124)] 
INNOCENT II (1130-43) 
[ANACLETUS II (1130-38)] 
[VICTOR IV (1138)] 
CELESTINE II (1143-44) 
LUCIUS II (1144-45) 
ANASTASIUS IV (1153-54) 

ADRIAN IV (1154-59) 
ALEXANDER III (1159-81) 
[VICTOR IV (1159-64)] 
[PASCHAL III (1164-68)] 
[CALLISTUS III (1168-78)] 
[INNOCENT III (1179-80)] 
LUCIUS III (1181-85) 
URBAN III (1185-87) 
CLEMENT III (1187-91) 
CELESTINE III (1191-98) 
INNOCENT III (1198-1216) 
HONORIUS III (1216-27) 
GREGORY IX (1227-41) 

INNOCENT IV (1243-54) 
ALEXANDER IV (1254-61) 
URBAN IV (1261-64) 
CLEMENT IV (1265-68) 
BLESSED GREGORY X (1271; 1272-76) 
ADRIAN V (1276) 
JOHN XXI (1276-77) 
NICHOLAS III (1277-80) 

MARTIN IV (1281-85) 
HONORIUS IV (1285-87) 
NICHOLAS IV (1288-92) 
BONIFACE VIII (1294; 1295-1303) 
CLEMENT V (1305-14) 
JOHN XXII (1316-34) 
[NICHOLAS V (1328-30)] 
BENEDICT XII (1335-42) 
CLEMENT VI (1342-52) 
INNOCENT VI (1352-62) 
BLESSED URBAN V (1362-70) 
GREGORY XI (1370; 1371-78) 
URBAN VI (1378-89) 
BONIFACE IX (1389-1404) 
INNOCENT VII (1404-6) 
GREGORY XII (1406-15) 
[CLEMENT VII (1378-94)] 
[BENEDICT XIII (1394-1423)] 
[ALEXANDER V (1409-10)] 
[JOHN XXIII (1410-15)] 
MARTIN V (COLONNA, 1417-31) 
[FELIX V (1439; 1440-49)] 

PAUL II (BARBO, 1464-71) 

LEO X (MEDICI, 1513-21) 
PAUL III (FARNESE, 1534-49) 

PAUL IV (CARAFA, 1555-59) 
PIUS IV (MEDICI, 1559; 1560-65) 
SIXTUS V (PERETTI, 1585-90) 
LEO XI (MEDICI, 1605) 
PAUL V (BORGHESE, 1605-21) 
CLEMENT XI (ALBANI, 1700-1721) 
PIUS VI (BRASCHI, 1775-99) 
LEO XIII (PECCI, 1878-1903) 
SAINT PIUS X (SARTO, 1903-14) 
PIUS XI (RATTI, 1922-39) 
PIUS XII (PACELLI, 1939-58) 
PAUL VI (MONTINI, 1963-78) 




Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian and 
Classical Art, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, 
New York 


Senior Administrative Assistant, Department of 
Medieval Art, The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York 


Chairman, Department of Greek and Roman 
Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 


Senior Research Associate, Department of 
Medieval Art, The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York 


Curator of Classical Antiquities, Monumenti 
Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, Vatican City 


Associate Curator, Department of European 
Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, New York 


Assistant Professor, Department of the History 
of Art, University of Maine, Orono 


Curator of Contemporary Art, Monumenti 
Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, Vatican City 


Monsignor, Canon, Capitolo di San Pietro in 
Vaticano, Vatican City 


Professor, Department of Art History and 
Archaeology, Columbia University, New York 


Curator, Department of Medieval Art, The Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


Curator, Department of Medieval Art, The Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


Associate Curator, Department of Medieval Art, 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


Curator of Byzantine, Medieval, and Modern 
Art, Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Vatican City 


Assistant Professor, University of Rome 


Curator, Musei Sacro and Profano, Biblio- 
teca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City 


Reverend, Curator of the Ethnological Collec- 
tions, Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, 
Vatican City 


Director General, Monumenti Musei e Gallerie 
Pontificie, Vatican City 


Chairman, Department of European Sculpture 
and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art, New York 


Professor of Archaeology, University of Perugia, 
and former Curator of Etruscan Antiquities, 
Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, Vati- 
can City 


Professor of Biblical Studies, Pontificio Istituto 
Biblico, Rome 


Chairman, Department of Medieval Art and 
The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
New York 


Architect, Director, Ufficio Tecnico, Reverenda 
Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano, Vatican City 



All color photographs, including those for the frontispiece and the 
cover/jacket, were provided by Scala, Istituto Editoriale, Florence, 
with the exception of the following: entries 1, 6, 9, 22, 23, 24, 33: 
Saskia Ltd., Littleton, Colorado; 2 B: Reverenda Fabbrica di San 
Pietro, Vatican City; 9, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 
50, 52, 53: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio Fotografico, 
Vatican City; 101: Musei Vaticani, Archivio Fotografico, Vatican 
City; figures 18, 26: Editorial Photocolor Archives, Inc., New York. 

All black-and-white photographs were provided by Scala, Istituto 
Editoriale, Florence, with the exception of the following: entries 
10: Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro, Vatican City; 11, 92: Musei 
Vaticani, Archivio Fotografico, Vatican City; 12: The Metropolitan 
Museum of Art Photograph Studio, New York; 36, 40 (detail), 42, 
43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 123: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio 
Fotografico, Vatican City; figures 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 20, 21, 28, 29, 35, 36, 
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45: Musei Vaticani, Archivio Fotografico, 
Vatican City; 2: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; 3: The British Library, 
London; 5: Biblioteca Comunale, Fermo; 6: Foto Oscar Savio, 
Rome; 7: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm; 8: Photo L. Ionesco, Realties, 
Paris; 12, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio 
Fotografico, Vatican City; 13: Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro, 
Vatican City; 14, 22: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Photograph 
Studio, New York; 15, 16, 17, 23, 25: Alinari, Florence; 19: 
Warburg Institute, London; 34: Musee National de Ceramique, 
Sevres; 37: Anderson, Rome. 

Composition by U.S. Lithograph, Inc., New York 

Printed and bound by The Arts Publisher, Inc., 
Richmond and New York 


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