Papal Tombs and the Significance of Their Locations

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Papal tombs were more than final resting places; they were used to physically immortalize a papacy. Specifically, the location of a tomb played a significant role in the overall commentary a tomb was meant to provide on a pope. Some popes chose a location to highlight their legacy by being near their patronage or a pope who's legacy they tried to emulate. Others elected to be near relics to which they felt a spiritual connection or a church dedicated to their religious sect. Each location selected for a papal tomb was chosen for different reasons and provided unique commentary on a papacy.

This exhibit consists of ten tombs that exemplify the above thesis. While seventeen tombs were studied, many of them had little scholarship on the reason or significance of their locations. The exhibit operates under the constraints of tombs built from the 1580s to the 1720s in Rome. The time constraints were selected to allow for reviewing the span of and therefore changes seen throughout the Baroque period. The location of Rome was selected due to the fact that no papal tombs were created outside of Rome during the Baroque period.

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