What's New!

Detailed Sitemap

All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.

The Masterpieces

Choosing wasn't that easy!

In this page you will find a selection of coats of arms by famous artists or that I like in a special way.

Let's start with Giulio Mazzoni's coat of arms of Pope Julius III in Palazzo Spada, clearly showing the influence of Michelangelo.

Let's now move to Michelangelo himself or at least to a work done under his direction.

Porta Pia (after Pope Pius IV), was built at the end of a very long street (Strada Pia, today Via XX Settembre) and it became a pattern for the future Pope Sixtus V's reorganization of Rome streets. To catch the details of this coat of arms, see the plate by Filippo Juvarra, who published a book in the early XVIIIth century showing fifty papal coats of arms. Another masterpiece by Michelangelo is the coat of arms of Paulus III in Palazzo Farnese (this coat of arms is shown with the plate by Filippo Juvarra).

But it's in the Baroque period that the coat of arms becomes a subject which great artists rethink in new ways.
Francesco Borromini was entrusted with the restoration of St John's in Lateran and he surrounded the coat of arms of Pope Innocentius X with three angels full of movement. Another masterpiece by Borromini is the coat of arms of Urbanus VIII in Palazzo Barberini (with the plate by Filippo Juvarra). The image used as background for this page shows another masterpiece by Borromini: the spiral of S. Ivo alla Sapienza , thought to represent the sting of a bee.

His rival Gian Lorenzo Bernini who is a superior sculptor treats the same subject in the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona. Also this coat of arms is selected by Filippo Juvarra.

The third great artist of that period, Pietro da Cortona celebrated the triumph of the Barberini in a ceiling fresco in their newly built palace. The coat of arms is itself the subject of this large painting and the three bees are portrayed against a blue open sky.

Visit 1750 Rome in the etchings of