In the history of the papacy, this bronze tomb is one of a kind, it was made in 1484 for Pope Sixtus IV. The most important Italian sculptors of the time, Antonio del Pollaiolo, took nine years to finish it. Yet it was never used for as a tomb.
Pope Sixtus IV was a Franciscan and he wanted to be buried in a simple tomb in the earth. But it was his nephew Cardinal Giuliano ella Rovere, or Pope Julius II who had this lovely but expensive tomb made.
Around the popes figure, the artist carved the seven cardinal virtues. He also carved the ten allegories of Art and Sciences, including astronomy, philosophy and dialectics at the base of the monument.
Thanks to the restoration, which lasted two years, restorers discovered the artists challenges, who was not comfortable doing large-scale work. The first two he created, Rhetoric and Grammar, are very different from the last two, Philosophy and Theology.
"The artist sculpted all the elements that humanists had placed at the centre of culture during those times, cause the Pope was very cultured and sensitive."
Next to the sculptures, the artist added two panels. The one that sits at the popes feet tells the life of the pontiff. The other, under the head of Sixtus IV, has his signature. In addition, the sculptor also carved oak branches, which identified the family of the Pope.
The monument, which is also known as the bronze Sistine Chapel can be seen at St. Peters Basilicas Museum.
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