POLLAIUOLO, Antonio del
(b. 1431/32, Firenze, d. 1498, Roma)
Monument of Sixtus IV1484-93
Bronze, length 445 cm
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican
Antonio del Pollaiuolo's final commissions were the papal tombs of Sixtus IV and his successor Innocent VIII. The huge bronze tomb of Sixtus IV occupied the artist and his workshop nine years after the pope's death in 1484. The recumbent pope, wearing tiara and pontifical vestments, is surrounded by reliefs representing the seven Virtues (Charity, Hope, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Temperance, and Justice). Below these, on the sides of the tomb, separated by acanthus consoles, are the ten Liberal Arts (Philosophy, Theology, Rhetoric, Grammar, Arithmetic, Astrology, Dialectic, Geometry, Music, and Perspective).
The portrait of Sixtus seems to emphasize the pope's hawk-like features and sagging flesh. The complex folds of the pope's vestments and the drapery of the allegorical figures are the sculptural counterpart of the drapery in the paintings of the Pollaiuolo brothers.