<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

Christopher Hewetson, 1737/38–1798, British, active in Italy (from 1765)
Pope Clement XIV (Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, 1705–1774; reigned 1769–1774)
ca. 1772
Overall: 31 1/2 x 26 x 12 inches, 185 lb. (80 x 66 x 30.5 cm, 83.9 kg)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
buttons (fasteners) | pope | portrait | religious and mythological subject | Roman Catholic
Associated People:
Pope Clement XIV (Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, 1705–1774; reigned 1769–1774)
On view
Curatorial Comment:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

This is one of six known versions of Christopher Hewetson’s celebrated bust of Pope Clement XIV, the earliest of which is dated 1771. Hewetson was Irish born but moved to Rome in 1765 and settled there, establishing a thriving business in portrait busts. It is likely the bust was made to capitalize on the new Pope’s popularity and Hewetson probably obtained sittings from Clement through Thomas Jenkins, the powerful dealer in antiquities and unofficial English ambassador to the Holy See. The bust proved extremely successful with British tourists visiting Rome, many of whom were charmed by Clement’s bonhomie, his refusal to recognize the exiled Stuarts as rightful kings of England, and his strong action against the Jesuits. The young politician Philip Francis, for instance, was entranced: ‘Though not a convert of this Church, I am a Proselite to the Pope.’ Clad in winter choir dress—an ermine lined mozzetta and camauro with the papal stole tied in the front—Clement radiates the keen sense of affability for which he was well known. His short pontificate was, however, clouded by political concessions to the anti-clerical princes of Catholic Europe, culminating in the infamous suppression of the Society of Jesus in the brief Dominus ac Redemptor of 1773. Despite the imposing scale of this bust, Hewetson imparts a sense of humility to Pope Clement, a Franciscan, by leaving undone the second button of his mozzetta as if overlooked by the unwordly pontiff with his mind on higher things.
--Matthew Hargraves,2014
Exhibition History:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

The Grand Tour (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1998-01-10 - 1998-04-10)

Entrance Court 2003-4 (Yale Center for British Art, 2003-03-01 - 2004-09-07)

<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

Angus Trumble, The Marble Bust, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2004, no. 5, V 1304 (YCBA)

Ellis Waterhouse, Sculpture from the Paul Mellon Collection at the British Art Center at Yale, Burlington Magazine, vol. 119, May 1977, p. 351, N1 +B87 Oversize (YCBA)

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.