Offered by Dei Bardi Art
Sculptures and works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Marble relief representing the Coat of Arms of Sixtus IV Della Rovere
Italy Rome ?, 15th century
Marble, modern stand
H 49,5 x L 47,5 x P 7,5 cm
Pope Sixtus IV (1414-1484) born Francesco Della Rovere, was Pope from 9 August 1471 to his death in 1484.
Above the door forming the main entrance to the Sistine Chapel - in its turn surmounted by the inscription with the name of the prophet Zechariah - the coat of arms of the della Rovere, with a papal tiara and oak tree bearing twelve gold acorns, commemorates the chapel's founder, Sixtus IV.
The papal coat of arm was sculpted by artists as Mino da Fiesole (visible in Sixtine chapel) and Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Victoria and Albert, number 373 - 1878).
Rovere indicates a particular species of oak (sessile or durmast oak) and the coat of arms of the pope showed an oak with reversed branches.
The della Rovere acquired fame and wealth when Francesco rose through the Franciscan Order to become its general in 1464 and then Pope in 1471 as Sixtus IV.
Within Rome itself, this truly Renaissance man created artistic achievements still enjoyed today. Streets were widened and improved. New roads were constructed, dilapidated housing removed, a bridge built bearing his name and a hospital restored. Great festivals were held and enjoyed by the people and festivities for the Jubilee Year were planned.
Sixtus built a new library in the Vatican, possibly his crowning achievement. He promoted Platina (once imprisoned and tortured by the previous pope, Paul II) as its second librarian and restored the College of the Letter Writers, the Abbreviatori. Several churches owe their restoration to his beneficence and several chapels were also built during his papacy.
The Sistine Chapel, named for him, was also built at this time. He was a great patron of the arts and employed Botticelli and many other renowned artists of the period in its beautification. The Chapel was dedicated to Mary and he created the feast of the Immaculate Conception with an appropriate liturgy for the dedication.
Additionally, Sixtus is responsible for the creation of the Sistine choir and the Vatican archives.
Della Rovere family further enhanced its position when Francesco's nephew Giuliano was elected pope, with the title Julius II, in 1503 .