This page deals with baroque funeral monuments where the dead are shown in a medallion, without
a representation of Death holding the medallion: these monuments are dealt with in a separate page: Memento Mori.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed two patterns of monuments where the dead are portrayed in a medallion.
Monuments to Maria Raggi (1647) in S. Maria sopra Minerva and
to Sigismondo and Agostino Chigi (1652) in S. Maria del Popolo by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
The Monument to Maria Raggi on a pillar of S. Maria sopra Minerva introduced the concept
of pictorial sculpture which Bernini developed in many other subsequent works (have a close look at the inscription). The use of color and of drapes swelled by a sort of internal
wind will appear again in the Monument to Alexander VII and
in the statue of Constantine.
In the Monument to Agostino Chigi Bernini followed indications left by Raphael, who had designed the Chigi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo back at the beginning of the XVIth century. The use of a colored marble for the pyramid, in contrast with the white medallion is however typical of Bernini.
Most of the funeral monuments of the second half of the XVIIth century followed two other patterns: either they represented the dead in the act of praying or they showed a Representation of Death.
During the XVIIIth century the level of religious fervour wore out and several funeral monuments followed (and in some case combined) the two patterns shown above which suited the objective of celebrating the dead.
A monument to a cardinal from Genoa by Bernardino Ludovisi in the little church of S. Salvatore alle Coppelle shows this desire of celebrating the dead without making reference to Death.
Michel Rénè Slodtz, known in Rome as Michelangelo Slodtz, was one of the many French artists
who worked in Rome during the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries. His Monument to Alessandro Capponi in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini is influenced
by both of Bernini's monuments. The monument was designed by Ferdinando Fuga a Florentine architect
who worked in Rome, chiefly for the Florentine Pope Clement XII; it was not uncommon for sculptors to be asked to work
on a monument designed by an architect.
Pietro Bracci is known for his statue of Oceanus in Fontana di Trevi, but he has left an impressive number of other works, sometimes designed by him, sometimes executed for a monument, like Fontana di Trevi, designed by somebody else.
Monuments by Pietro Bracci to Cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci in S. Marcello al Corso and to Cardinal Leopoldo Calcagnini (1746-48) in S. Andrea delle Fratte
His monument to Cardinal Calcagnini in S. Andrea delle Fratte with
a statue of an angel writing on the pyramid is similar to a monument by Bernardo Cametti in Palestrina, which you
can see in the background of this page.
Paolo Posi, an architect who worked in the second half of the XVIIIth century, can be considered the last baroque artist.
Monument to Flaminia Odescalchi Chigi (1771) by Paolo Posi in S. Maria del Popolo
His Monument to Flaminia Odescalchi Chigi in S. Maria del Popolo, immediately
outside the Chigi chapel is a lavish reinterpretation of Bernini's monument to Maria Raggi. You
can see a page devoted to this last baroque tomb.
Although in the last part of the XVIIIth century, as a result of the Neoclassicist movement, the name Bernini became synonymous with bad taste, still some monuments continued to be designed following his examples.
Tommaso Righi and Raffaele Secini are hardly mentioned in any history of art, most likely because they continued to use baroque images in an environment fully converted to Neoclassicism, as their Monuments to the Cardinal Camillo Merlini Paolucci in S. Marcello al Corso and to the anatomist Pietro Giavota in S. Spirito in Sassia clearly show.
Other pages dealing with Baroque sculpture:
Statues in the act of praying
Representation of Death in Baroque sculptures
Three chapels by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Bernini's Exiled Statue
Three busts by Alessandro Algardi
Baroque Monuments to the Popes
Baroque High Reliefs
Statues Close to Heaven
Embittered Andrew (the statues in St. Peter's octagon)
Playing with Colours