ODERISI, Pietro
(active c. 1260-80)

Tomb of Pope Clement IV

c. 1271-74
Marble
San Francesco, Viterbo

The tomb of the French Pope Clement IV (died in 1268) was begun by late 1271 and completed by 1274.

Rome during the thirteenth century was a flourishing artistic centre. One characteristic type of decoration was a species of mosaic patterning made from marble chips and other pieces pillaged from from the ancient ruins of the city. It consisted almost entirely of abstract patterns, and favourite objects to which it was applied were church fittings and church floors. One early thirteenth-century marble worker bore the name "Cosmas", and from him the whole trade takes its name, " the Cosmati". The most striking works belong to the thirteenth-century.

The art of the Cosmati is largely non-figurative and perhaps due to this lack of sculptural tradition, the Gothic style from France was slow to make any impact. But during the second half of the thirteenth century, French ideas and fashions began to make some headway, as a result of increasing French influence in the Papal Court. An early example is the tomb of Clement IV.

The decoration of this monument is in many way typically Roman with mosaic marble patterns. The main constructional outlines are also Roman, but they are given a Gothic character. The canopy has Gothic crockets and a trefoiled arch. The podium on which the whole erection is raised has a Gothis arcade along its exposed faces. The most unusual feature of the tomb is the effigy. It appears to be the first sepulchral effigy in Italy, and certainly reflects French fashion.