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One of the two famous lion figures which adorn the elaborate tomb of Pope Clement XIII in St. Peter's Basilica. Unlike other tombs where the figures are mirror images of each other, these are distinctive in their own right. The one on the right as you face the door looks much more serene. They were created by Antonio Canova. Curiously, there are reproductions flanking a staircase outside the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Masachusetts, but those face you as opposed to the originals. Clement XIII (1693-1769), b. Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico, hailed from Venice, the son of a nobleman and received a Jesuit education in Bologna. He became bishop of Padua. Reportedly "modest to a fault," literally in this case, as he was responsible for the addition of all the "fig leaves" on nude statues in the Vatican, he became one of the greatest supporters of the Jesuits, particularly when they began to be expelled from various countries in the eighteenth century. Canova constructed his tomb between 1783 and 1792. The whole is quite impressive: it depicts the pope, kneeling, with the Angel of Death on the right, and a figure representing religion, dressed in Israelite garb, on the left. The lions guarding the tomb appear below.

Ancient tradition asserts that the first basilica dedicated to St. Peter was constructed over the ancient tomb of the apostle Peter, who was martyred in the nearby Circus of Nero on an inverted cross in the first century AD. After Constantine converted to Christianity he began a great basilica on the site in 324, which had previously been an ancient cemetery in which both pagans and Christians were buried. This structure remained until the 15th century when it was decided that a new, more magnificent structure should replace it. Construction actually began under Pope Julius II (of the Agony and the Ecstasy) in 1506, but it wasn't completed until 1615 under Pope Paul V. Many famous artists worked on the various phases, including Michelangelo, who designed the dome (later greatly reworked), and Bernini, who designed the great colonnaded St. Peter's Square, where many thousands gather on important events and also the magnificent bronze canopy (which is comprised of 927 tons of dark bronze, taken from the roof of the Pantheon in 1633) over the papal altar and the relics of Peter the Apostle. It also fills the great vertical space under the great dome. The marble opus sectile floors seen here may have originally been from the ruins of a Roman public building.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 418] (1148)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-12-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-04-12 17:07
Viewed: 527
Points: 4
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 418] (1148)
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