Scolture dell' Antico Altares del Presepe nella Basilica Liberiana

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Scolture dell' Antico Altares del Presepe nella Basilica Liberiana


Sculpture of the ancient altar of the nativity in the Basilica Liberiane


This sculpture along with the others that we will examine in the following table were once inside the interior of the church of S. Maria Maggiore, until they were removed with many other works by the order of Pope Benedict XIV which he restored so that the church could be rebuilt. We cannot say which was the foundation of their original destination, but it is certain that they had to be destined to decorate some altar and perhaps the same one was built by the cardinal of Estouteville.
This bas-relief was composed of two composite pillars and covered with beautiful ornaments, closed within these two niches separated by a pillar on which rest the arches of the niches forming shells. In the first of these, to the right of the beholder, may be seen the effigy of St. Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, his face full of devout meditation. He has a book in his left hand, perhaps to mention the works written by this learned and holy man, and with his right hand holding a chain, to which is tied a filthy animal depicting the devil, which was won by the holy abbot and afflicted. The other niche is occupied by S. Jerome, as can be seen clearly from the lion, which is the animal always placed at the side of this saint, and the cardinal's hat owed to him because he was a priest of the Roman Church, and therefore decorated with the title of cardinal. He is dressed in a cardinal’s cloak that hangs from the shoulders broad with rich folds, and has a book in his hands in the act of opening it and read it.
The whole relief is surmounted by a lunette, in whose center is carved the figure of the Redeemer, and around it runs a carved frame, which is reminiscent of what rests on the pillars.


Drawn by Francesco M. Tosi


Presso l'Editore Proprietario


15th and 16th Century Sculpture


Unknown Donor


Geneseo Foundation


Volumes 1, 2, 4, and 5


20 x 16






Italian Monuments in Rome created during the 15th and 16th Century


Prints were made circa 1835 to 1860




Drawn by Francesco M. Tosi, “

Scolture dell' Antico Altares del Presepe nella Basilica Liberiana
,” LLB Galleries, accessed September 22, 2021,