Project Description

Volpato or Cialli manufacture, molded by Lorenzo Weber, Pio VI blessing on horseback during the Cavalcata for the Possession

English white terracotta of 45 x 29 x 17 cm, datable to 1775 – 1776 approximately

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The equestrian statuette represented here, of intent clearly originally celebrative, constitutes a unique in the visual celebration of Pius VI, ascended to the papal throne in February 1775, at the dawn of his pontificate: in fact this work, made of white terracotta, depicts the pope during the Cavalcade, completed on 30 October 1775, for the Possesso, the very ancient ceremony that sanctioned the installation of the new pope on the Roman episcopal cathedra as bishop of Rome. The ceremony took place in the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano where the new pope arrived after a long ride with an endless procession that followed between celebrating wings of people from San Pietro to the Vatican and stopped at the Campidoglio to receive the Senators’ Rome.
The cesenate Giannangelo Braschi (1775 – 1799), elected with the name of Pius VI after a not easy conclave lasted over four months and marked by two hundred and sixty-five polls, patron and lover of the arts, wears a fur-lined cape, an embroidered mozzetta, a damask stole and a hat. Even the finely modeled horse is adorned with a rich vestment and its body is supported by a column with a rectangular base on which, in the long side, is the crest of the Braschi family.

Volpato or Cialli manufacture, molded by Lorenzo Weber

So far the pottery has been attributed to the Volpato manufacture, attributable to one of the most important antiquarian collectors and mediators of antiquities active at the end of the 18th century, being considered the only one present in Rome at that time able to realize a similar work. In the documents relating to the production of Bassano artist, however, there is no trace of such a piece and it is therefore more plausible, especially in light of the testimony reported in the Ordinary Diary, to consider it as a product of the Cialli factory. Of this group in white terracotta there are noteworthy in addition to some bronze castings – the specimens of the Praz Museum in Rome and the Ashmoleum Museum in Oxford.