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

St Paul

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).

Among these sculptors Camillo Rusconi was the most noted sculptor of the first half of the century. The only one who effectively rivaled him was Pierre Le Gros, although Pierre-Étienne Monnot, to whom are owed St Peter and St Paul, also created magnificent works.

The apostle's gesture of reaching out is balanced by his attributes of a book and a sword.