MONNOT, Pierre Etienne
(b. 1657, Orchamps-Vennes, d. 1733, Roma)

St Peter

Marble, height 425 cm
San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

The significant sculptural undertaking that inaugurated the eighteenth century in Rome was the realization of the colossal statues of the Apostles in twelve monumental, green marble niches, decorated by the dove symbol of the Pamphilj family, which Francesco Borromini built during the reconstruction of the interior of San Giovanni in Laterano. The statues, the completion of Borromini's project, were executed before 1718 by the most important sculptors of the time from Rome and elsewhere. The sculptors included Camillo Rusconi (Andrew, Matthew, James the Greater, John the Evangelist), Francesco Moratti (Simon), Angelo de' Rossi (James the Less), Giuseppe Mazzuoli (Philip), Lorenzo Ottoni (Thaddeus), as well as the Frenchmen Pierre-Étienne Monnot (Peter, Paul) and Pierre Le Gros (Bartholomew, Thomas).

It was a sign of Monnot's eminence that he should be chosen for participation in the sculptural project aiming to complete the decoration of the Lateran basilica. Monnot was commissioned with the statues of St Peter and St Paul.

Monnot's St Peter is one of the finest of the Apostle series, with the prince of the apostles presented as a Classical orator with a decisive gesture of the right hand and drapery that rigidly conforms to the lines of the body.