Alessandro Algardi / Pope Liberius Baptizing the Neophytes / 1647 - 1649Alessandro Algardi
Pope Liberius Baptizing the Neophytes
1647 - 1649

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Creator Name: Algardi, Alessandro
Creator Nationality: European; Southern European; Italian
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Dates/Places: 1602 - 1654
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Alessandro Algardi
Title: Pope Liberius Baptizing the Neophytes
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1647
Creation End Date: 1649
Creation Date: 1647 - 1649
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: terracotta
Dimensions: H.21 x W.36 x D.1 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 59.17
Credit Line: Miscellaneous Purchase Funds

This terra-cotta relief is the only known preliminary study for a sculpture adorning the fountain of Saint Damasus in the Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican. The fountain was erected by Pope Innocent X as part of his restoration of the aqueducts behind St. Peter's, built by Damasus thirteen hundred years earlier. The relief shows Pope Liberius baptizing with water from this newly created source; Damasus stands to the pope's right.

Algardi made this study in clay, an easily worked medium that allowed him to experiment and refine his ideas before carving the fountain relief in marble. Since the marble version has suffered over time from exposure to the elements and abrasive cleaning, this clay model remains the primary evidence of the artist's original intent. By sculpting the foreground figures almost fully in the round and those farther away in increasingly shallow relief, Algardi achieved the illusion of spatial depth and three-dimensional volume on a two-dimensional surface.

AMICA ID: MIA_.59.17
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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