JUBILEE CULTURAL ROUTES

St. Peter’s Basilica

You are along the route: THE FASCINATION OF THE CLASSICS. GOETHE AND CANOVA

FACCIATA BASILICA Alternativa
Piazza San Pietro
www.vaticanstate.va
Every day. Winter (October-March): 07:00-18:00. Summer (April-September): 7:00-19:00. Free entry.

Foto ©Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano

CLEMENTE XIII

The monument was erected in the Basilica by Canova in 1783-92 in memory of Pope Clement XIII. An amiable and charitable person, the Pope interpreted the function of his Apostolate on these bases, showing himself to be a “good shepherd” rather than a statesman. The memorial was conceived by the sculptor according to the classical scheme of three levels on top of each other. At the base, two lions, symbols of strength, protect the entrance door, while the sides depict the genie of death and a female figure with a cross in hand, the symbol of Religion. The sarcophagus is placed in the middle, in a classical form, and on high is the statue of the Pope, given a humble appearance by Canova, intent in prayer.

Foto ©Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano

STUART-1

Carved on commission by the British government in 1817-20 to celebrate the last members of the Stuart family, who died in exile in Italy, the cenotaph was placed in an unfortunate position in the Basilica, between two pillars. However, Canova knew how to make the mist of such an ungrateful place. In a structure shaped like a truncated pyramid, covered by a tympanum, the portraits of the three deceased are aligned in bass relief. At the bottom, the entrance door to the tomb is guarded by two Genies of Death of cherubic grace sculpted in relief, which together express resignation before the mystery of death: the two angelic figures ended up being at the centre of heating arguments because their nudity was believed to be inconvenient. The artist refused to intervene, but a chalk covering was included after his death, which was then removed on the orders of Pope Leo XIII.

Foto ©Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano


How to get the step: St. Peter’s Basilica

Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

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