BRACCI, Pietro
(b. 1700, Roma, d. 1773, Roma)

Tomb of Maria Clementina Sobieska (detail)

1739
Polychrome marble, height 193 cm
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Pietro Bracci perpetuated the memory of the princess Maria Clementina Sobieska who married to James Stuart, the Old Pretender, who was living in exile in Rome. Her crusade for the Catholic faith earned her the extreme honour, one usually reserved to popes, of being buried in St Peter's at the Vatican. Bracci's work is a gaudy example of the Italian passion for polychromy and composite materials. The medallion contains a portrait of the defunct in mosaic; and in the midst of an orgy of coloured marbles, gilt bronze and stucco, the lovely figure of Charity (or the Love of God) holding a flaming heart in her hand is carved in pure white marble.




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