The Tomb of Pope Alexander VII is a sculptural monument created and designed by the greatest sculptor of the 17th century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. This masterpiece was commissioned by Alexander VII for St. Peter’s Basilica but ultimately placed in the south transept instead. The tomb consists of a statue of Alexander VII surrounded by figures of Prudence, Charity, Truth, and Justice.
Bernini intended to validate Alexander VII’s reputation and character in a final act of gratitude to a close friend and his most prominent benefactor. He made drawings and even crafted a small model of the entire tomb himself. The monument represents Bernini’s mastery over marble sculpture.
The elegant design displays Bernini’s technical ability in creating complex compositions with great skill and poise. As one looks at this piece, although it appears overwhelming at first glance, every aspect feels proportionate, balanced yet dynamic. It showcases Bernini as an architect rather than just a mere sculptor with how he incorporated different textures into his work such as drapery on clothing or feathers on wings that compelled your gaze around each inch equally.