: Bertel (Albert, Alberto) Thorvaldsen
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Pius 7., 1824-1825
Plaster. 295,3 cm
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, Monument to Pius 7., unveiled 1831, marble version, Saint Peter's, RomeEnlarge photo
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Pope Pius 7. was pope from 1800 to his death in 1823. The plaster monument here was modelled 1824-25 and unveiled in marble in St Peter’s Church in 1831. It says much about Thorvaldsen’s fame that he received the commission to make the monument to Pius VII in the principal cathedral of the Catholic Church even though he was a Protestant. The aged pontiff sits on his throne with his tiara on his head. He is holding out his hand in blessing while looking straight towards us. On the other hand, the allegorical female figure on the right representing Divine Wisdom (A143), is looking emotionally up to Heaven, while the woman on the left, Divine Power (A144) is looking down, thoughtfully engrossed in the book, the Bible, which she is holding. Sitting at the centre, the Pope thus becomes the balanced conveyor of a message consisting of equal parts of Christian sentiment and Christian wisdom.