Early Design for the Tomb of Pope Clement VII
Early Design for the Tomb of Pope Clement VII, ca. 1534-1536
Pen and ink on paper
Image: 35.4 x 21.4 cm (13 15/16 x 8 3/8 inches)
Museum Works of Art Fund 51.507
This Italian pen-and-ink drawing, one of many in the Museum’s collection, was sculptor Baccio Bandinelli’s initial design for the tomb of Pope Clement VII (reigned 1523—1534). At the bottom of the composition, the Pope slumbers in eternal rest while his soul, represented as a nude youth within an almond shape, rises above him. The Pope attains salvation through the intercession of the Virgin and Christ, who hover above surrounded by God, the Holy Ghost, and six apostles. Bandinelli’s intricately interwoven hatch marks emphasize how the design will occupy space in sculptural form. The artist actualized the tomb between 1536 and 1542 at the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, where he replaced his rendering of the innocent human soul with a triumphal-arch motif.