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Portrait of Pope Pius V
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Portrait of Pope Pius V

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The aging, enthroned pope turns toward the viewer while making the sign of blessing with his right hand. Pius V (1566-1572) belonged to the Ghislieri family, and on the top of the back of the throne is his family's coat of arms crowned by the papal tiara and the keys of St. Peter, a symbol of the papacy's descent from Christ's apostle. The identifying inscription below is a later addition. Passerotti worked in the mannerist style, which is characterized by strikingly elongated proportions. The pope's bony appearance reveals both his age and the artist's knowledge of human anatomy. The style of the paintings's execution lacks the subtlety of shading found in Passarotti's best portraits and this is most likely a workshop replica of the original portrait, now lost, perhaps that formerly in the Sacchetti collection in Rome. Pius V was born Antoinio Ghislieri into a modest family in the duchy of Milan. He entered the Dominican order as a youth and throughout his life he maintained their austere lifetyle. Appointed cardinal in 1557, after the death of Pius IV, he was elected pope on 7 January 1566 and crowned as Pius V ten days later.
Date Description Narrative
12/01/1944Treatmentcoated; varnish removed or reduced; x-ray
3/10/1981Examinationexamined for condition
1/25/2008Examinationexamined for exhibition
10/01/2008Examinationchemical analysis; examined for condition
10/01/2008Treatmentchemical analysis; coated; examined for condition; inpainted; lined; re-framed; tears repaired
  • From Raphael to the Carracci: the Art of Papal Rome. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. 2009.
Provenance Hercolani Collection, Bologna, prior to 1780 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1881 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 193; 1897 catalogue: no. 206]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Inscribed on the bottom: PIUS V. GHISLERIUS. P[ONTIFEX]. M[AXIMUS]. CRE[ATUS]: ID[IBUS]: FEB[RUARIIS]: MDLXVI.OB[IIT]. K[ALENDIIS]. MAII[S] MDLXXII VIX[IT]: AN[NOS]: LXVII.M[ENSES]. III. D[IES]. XIV.; [Translation] Pius V Ghislieri, created pope in February 1566, died in May 1572, lived 67 years, three months, fourteen days.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1566 (Renaissance)
oil on canvas
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 50 13/16 x W: 37 3/16 in. (129 x 94.5 cm); Framed H: 65 1/8 x W: 51 1/2 x D: 4 1/2 in. (165.42 x 130.81 x 11.43 cm)

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