The bust of Innocent X Pamphilj by Alessandro Algardi
The rival of Bernini has many different artworks in Palazzo Venezia, including this terracotta piece covered in a white patina
It is in terracotta that has been painted white. A superficial ‘patina’ served to imitate the whiteness of marble and the gilding: a substantial part of the patina would later disappear, especially the gilding.
The main rival of Bernini in terms of sculpture, Algardi portrayed Pope Innocent X in a pose that is pensive and aware of the dignity of his role in the world. He wears a camauro and a mozzetta, that is, a velvet cap and a short cape. Along the collar and chest, the stole is decorated by the symbols of the Pamphilj family, the dove and fleur-de-lis. The use of terracotta leads us to think that the work was a model for another series of bust-portraits of the pope, which Algardi completed in 1652.
The bust entered the museum in 1998, following its purchase from the Roman antiquarian Claudio Gasparrini.