BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo
(b. 1598, Napoli, d. 1680, Roma)

Tomb of Pope Alexander (Chigi) VII

Marble and gilded bronze, over life-size
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

This is the second monumental papal tomb in the San Pietro made by Bernini. It was commissioned by the Pope and executed after his death in 1667 by a large group of sculptors headed by Bernini.

The composition is similar to that of the other (Urban VIII) tomb, however, there some differences. In contrast with the dominant figure of the Pope on the Urban tomb, the Pope here is a simple kneeling figure without any sign of his office. Instead of two there are four allegoric figures, Charity, Prudence, Justice and Truth. Below, there is a (real) door symbolizing the Gate of Death, from which a sand-glass holding skeleton (the Death) raises the heavy drapery.