The funerary monument to Pope Paul IV (r. 1555-59), in the Dominican church of
Santa Maria sopra Minerva, was designed by Pirro Ligorio (c.1512-83) and sculpted by Giacomo and Tommaso Cassignuola.
Pope Paul IV was a member of the Carafa family and his monument stands in the Cappella Carafa.
Paul IV was a bigoted fanatic. As a cardinal, he had persuaded Pope Paul III (r. 1534-49) to set up a Roman Inquisition, which was modelled on the Spanish Inquisition, with himself as one of the Inquisitors-General. As such he declared: 'Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him'.
In his first year as Pope, he issued the notorious papal bull Cum nimis absurdum, which forced Jews in Rome to live in a ghetto.
Two years later, in 1557, he created the infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum, which banned books that were deemed dangerous to the faith and morals of Catholics. (The 20th and final edition of the index appeared in 1948. The Index wasn't formally abolished until June 14th 1966, at the behest of Pope Paul VI.)
Pope Paul IV died on August 18th 1559. No sooner had news of his death been made public than a mob tore down his statue, throwing the head into the Tiber.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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