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Golden pedestal with detail of leaves, scrolls, and cherub heads

The image of this golden pedestal is in grayscale. It is polished, four-sided, and ornately carved, with a small top and a larger base. Below the top platform is the head of a cherub, surrounded by feather-like shapes and scrolls. Below this the column narrows and then widens again. Cherubs with upturned faces and open mouths, surrounded by feathers, are positioned on the right and left side of this section. In the center of this part of the pedestal is a shield-shaped coat of arms featuring three bees. Below the coat of arms is a detail resembling flower buds.

Gallery Text

This skillfully carved and gilded pedestal illustrates the exuberant style of Pope Urban VIII. The three bees on the prominently displayed coat of arms are those of the Barberini family, and the triple crown and keys of the papacy make it most likely that this was commissioned for a project associated with Urban VIII, who assumed the papal throne in 1623. Gian Lorenzo Bernini executed several portrait busts of the pontiff and he may well have been responsible for the design for this pedestal, although no drawings or records for such a commission survive.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Unidentified Artist
Possibly School of Francesco Borromini (1599 - 1667)
Possibly attributable to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Italian (Naples, Italy 1598 - 1680 Rome, Italy)
Pedestal with Cherubs and the Arms of Pope Urban VIII
Work Type
mid-17th century
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2400, European Art, 17th century, Rome and Its Influence in the Seventeenth Century
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Physical Descriptions

Carved and gilt wood
106 x 65 x 51.8 cm (41 3/4 x 25 9/16 x 20 3/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Felix Gluckselig, New York, NY, sold; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1961.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, 1967)

Exhibition History

  • Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967
  • In Memoriam: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 08/01/1980 - 10/15/1980
  • 32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Verification Level

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