The statue of Pope St Gregory the Great (1602), in the Oratorio di Santa Barbara al Celio, is the work of the French sculptor Nicolas Cordier (1567-1612).
Cordier actually used a block of marble that had already been roughed out by another sculptor, none other than Michelangelo (1475-1564), which he had acquired from one of the great man's nephews.
Pope St Gregory the Great (r. 590-604) is one of the four Latin Fathers of the Church. The dove of the Holy Ghost perches on his shoulder, its head turned towards Gregory's ear, suggesting the divine inspiration of his writings.
The tiny Oratory of St Barbara stands in the shadow of the church of San Gregorio al Celio.
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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