Tomb of Alexander VII, St. Peter's

Bernini (carved by his assistants from his models and drawings)

Bernini's second papal tomb

This is the second and much later tomb of a pope by Bernini in St. Peter's. The first, the tomb of Urban VIII (unfortunately, not pictured on this site), was done between 1628-47. (See Bernini's portrait sculpture of Urban VIII in the Palazzo dei Conservatori.) Like the earlier tomb, this one has a pyramidal form with the pope at the apex of the pyramid with four personified virtues at his feet.

The area is cordoned off so it is impossible to see the tomb from various angles.
Unlike the Tomb for Urban VIII, which features a seated pope giving a commanding benediction, this tomb pictures Alexander in prayer, old and haggard, with his papal tiara at his feet. Whereas the earlier tomb depicts a skeletal Death inscribing the Pope's name, here Death holds an hour glass and signals the other world by lifting up the drapery revealing a door.

See also Bernini's other works in St Peter's: the Cathedra Petri, the statue of St. Longinus, the Baldacchino.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.