Pope Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini, 1675–1758)

Pierre Hubert Subleyras French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627

Subleyras was chosen to paint Pope Benedict XIV’s state portrait, but this direct, informal image takes us much closer to the man whom antiquarian and Grand Tourist Horace Walpole described as “a priest without insolence or interest, a prince without favorites.” His slack jawline and five o’clock shadow humanize the most holy sitter in Europe. A supreme colorist, Subleyras was perfectly suited to tackle the limited palette of papal winter garb of an ermine‑lined cape (mozzetta) and hat (camauro). The stole is decorated with the papal keys and family armorial devices.

Pope Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini, 1675–1758), Pierre Hubert Subleyras (French, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard 1699–1749 Rome), Oil on canvas

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