CORDIER, Nicolas
(b. ca. 1567, Saint-Mihiel, d. 1612, Roma)

Bust of St Peter

1608
Marble
San Sebastiano fuori le Mura, Rome

In 1608 Giovanni Battista Borghese, brother of Pope Paul V, ordered from Nicolas Cordier busts of Peter and Paul, the two apostles to whom the basilica of San Sebastiano had originally been dedicated. The sculptor from Lorraine, among the most prominent of the many foreign artists who had settled in Rome, was approaching the end of his career. For this important commission he took as his inspiration Roman portrait busts of the Imperial period. However, that archeological basis took second place to a deep feeling for realism, at times not unlike that of Caravaggio, and this gave to the Saint Peter in particular a truly pathetic expressive character.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 11 minutes):
Georges de la Hele: Missa "Nigra sum"