POLLAIUOLO, Antonio del
(b. 1431/32, Firenze, d. 1498, Roma)

Monument of Sixtus IV

1484-93
Bronze, length 445 cm
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

The tomb of Sixtus IV was commissioned from Antonio del Pollaiuolo by Sixtus' nephew, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (later Pope Julius II). It was completed in 1493, as can be seen from the inscription, which also praises the sculptor"FLORENTINI ARG. AVR. / PICT. AERE CLARI" (illustrious for his work in silver, gold, and painting).

The tomb is one of the great sculptural achievements of the fifteenth century. Surrounding the recumbent figure of the Pope, and set on a slightly lower level, are depictions of the seven virtues. The concave base of the tomb is decorated with ten reliefs depicting allegories of the liberal arts.

Vasari described the tomb as "completed at great expense." The bronze tomb, on a raised platform, looks like the scaled-up product of a goldsmith's workshop, of chased metalwork and bronze tracery.