The colossal statues of the twelve apostles (with St Paul replacing St Matthias), which line the nave of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St John Lateran), were created at the behest of Pope Clement XI (r. 1700-21) between 1704 and 1718.
The statues were carved by a host of sculptors, each of whom was given a sketch drawn by the pope's favourite painter, Carlo Maratta (1625-1713), which they had to follow. The only exception was the French sculptor Pierre Le Gros the Younger (1666-1719), who refused to accede to the demand.
Above the statues are stucco reliefs, with Old Testament scenes on the left and related scenes from the New Testament on the right. They were designed in 1650 by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654), and executed by members of his studio.
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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