Monument to Pope Innocent XII (1745-6) by Filippo della Valle (Antonio Pignatelli, Spinazzola near Bari, b.1615/r.1691-1700)
The monument to Pope Innocent XII is the work of the sculptor Filippo della Valle (1698-1768). The two statues represent Charity and Justice.
Innocent XII was a reformist pope in the style of his hero and namesake, Blessed Pope Innocent XI (r.1676-89). Justice was a quality very dear to his heart and one of the main targets of his reforms was the nefarious practise of nepotism, declaring that all the poor and needy were his ‘nephews’. His most significant initiative was the passing of a decree which forbade popes from granting church estates, offices, or revenues to their relatives. If the relatives of a pope happened to be poor, they should be treated no differently from others in need.