St. Clement (?)

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Arnolfo di Cambio, follower of
St. Clement , Pope
This painted wood statue shows an enthroned pope (wearing the papal tiara), blessing with one hand and holding originally with the other a now lost object. It recalls the similarly monumental images made of Pope Boniface VIII by Arnolfo di Cambio among others. Because of a physical resemblance to Pope Clement IV (d. 1268) as depicted on his tomb, this could show Clement VI in the guise of Saint Clement (Pope Clement I). Some paint and gilding has been lost on the tiara and throne, and the tips of the fingers have broken, but the sculpture is otherwise well-preserved and gives a vivid sense of the presence of a particular man. The sculpture was made from two pieces of wood, one for the head and shoulders and one for the rest, as can be seen by a crack that has developed in the paint along the join. The clasp for the robe is made using églomisé glass (glass painted and gilded on the back). This sculpture could have been made as a part of a campaign to beatify Clement IV. Such statues were also sometimes treated as representatives or emissaries of the subject, and so important meetings were held in their presence, as if the statue were a sort of arbiter. This work is currently housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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