He might have been pope for only 27 days, but Leo XI (r. 1605) was still honoured with an impressive marble monument in St Peter's Basilica.
The monument (1633-44) was commissioned by the pope's grand-nephew, Cardinal Roberto Ubaldini, and is the work of Alessandro Algardi (1595-1654), a sculptor from Bologna. Algardi emphasised the pope’s munificence with allegorical figures of Magnanimity and Liberality.
Pope Leo XI was born (1535) Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici, a member of the famous Florentine family, and the great-nephew of Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21).
The images of roses at the base of the monument, and the inscription 'SIC FLORVI' (Thus he flourished), refer to the brevity of Pope Leo XI's reign (April 1st to April 27th, 1605).
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 walking tours of Rome.
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