ALGARDI, Alessandro
(b. 1598, Bologna, d. 1654, Roma)

Monument of Pope Leo XI

Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Algardi's tomb for Leo XI was built at the same time as Bernini's tomb for Urban VIII, and it clearly borrows some of its concept from Bernini's work. The figures of Liberty and Majesty at the sides were executed by Ercole Ferrata and Giuseppe Peroni.

The execution of Leo XI's tomb, extending over many years, ran parallel with that of Bernini's tomb of Urban VIII. But Algardi, beginning six years after Bernini, must have been familiar with Bernini's design. Leo's tomb is, in fact, the first papal tomb dependent on that of Urban VIII. All the salient features recur: the pyramidal arrangement of three figures, the blessing pope above the sarcophagus, and the allegories standing next to it in a zone before the papal figure. Algardi had to plan for an unsatisfactory position in one of the narrow passages of the left aisle of St Peter's. Bound by spatial restrictions, he reduced the structural parts to a minimum.