Pope Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini, 1675–1758)

Artist: Pierre Hubert Subleyras (French, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard 1699–1749 Rome)

Date: 1746

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 25 1/4 x 19 1/4 in. (64.1 x 48.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of European Paintings Gifts, Bequest of Joan Whitney Payson, by exchange, Gwynne Andrews Fund, Charles and Jessie Price Gift, and Valerie Delacorte Fund Gift, in memory of George T. Delacorte, 2009

Accession Number: 2009.145


Elevated to the papacy in 1740, Benedict XIV is shown wearing the ermine-lined cape (mozzetta) and ermine-lined hat (camauro) characteristic of papal winter garb. The stole is decorated with the papal keys and armorial device of the noble Lambertini family of Bologna. Subleyras had been chosen to paint the state portrait of the pope, but this informal one takes us much closer to the man whom Horace Walpole described as "a priest without insolence or interest, a prince without favorites, a pope without nephews."