PORTA, Guglielmo della
(b. ca. 1490, Genova, d. 1577, Roma)

Tomb of Pope Paul III

1549-75
Bronze and marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Guglielmo della Porta, the son of a sculptor, worked in Milan and Genoa and is first documented in Rome in 1546 in the Vatican. He sculpted a number of busts of the Farnese Pope Paul III and worked his way into the papal hierarchy, securing the commission for the Pope's tomb.

An antique sarcophagus and other features had been predetermined by the Pope. The bronze effigy of the Pope was cast and chased by 1553 when della Porta turned to the reclining allegorical figures. In 1628 the tomb was transferred and modified by Bernini to become a pendant to his Tomb of Urban VIII. Della Porta's commanding Pope is depicted alive and seated on a diagonal in an engaging manner, a less formal pose then the benediction adopted by Bernini.