The funerary monument of Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67) was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and executed between 1671 and 1678.
The monument, which is built around a door, is made up of six figures. At the apex the pope, bare-headed, kneels in prayer. Below him are four female allegorical figures: in the foreground stand Charity and Truth, whose left foot rests on a globe; in the background are half-figures of Prudence and Justice. All five figures were carved out of white marble.
Death is portrayed as a winged skeleton, bearing aloft an hour-glass; its head is shrouded in billowing drapery, a tour-de-force creation of travertine veneered with Sicilian jasper, the work of Gabriele Renzi.
The funerary monument was a collaboration between Bernini and his assistants, the latter doing most of the work under the close supervision of their master.
Blogging about Rome,
its art, history and culture.
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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