Ercole Consalvi, 1824
Plaster. 73,9 cm
Inventory number: A271
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, Consalvi's Tomb, 1824, marble version, Pantheon, RomeEnlarge photo
Thorvaldsens’ bust has much more than the physical features of Cardinal Consalvi. The portrait was to inspire the viewer with respect for his name and his work for the Papal State in the turbulent time after the French Revolution. Consalvi was known for his diplomatic talent and his political flair, as well as his great love of art. It had been he, with the commissioning of the tomb of Pope Pius VII, who had made Thorvaldsen the first and only Protestant artist with a work in St. Peter’s itself.
The bust was made for the Cardinal’s sepulchral monument in the Pantheon in Rome, where the bust functioned as originally used in antiquity, as a head-and-shoulders portrait of the deceased on the tomb.