A statue of St. Paul the Apostle stands in front of St. Peter’s Basilica on the right as you face the façade in Vatican City. It is paired with a statue of St. Peter on the left. The statue was sculpted in 1838 by Adamo Tadolini (b. Bologna 1788, d. Rome 1868).


The statue of St. Paul is 18 ft (5.5m) in height, on a pedestal 16 ft (4.9m) high.

One article describes Tadolini’s sculpture:

The figure of the apostle has a noble bearing, with the 2.79 meter long sword (which has lost its original gold-plating) in his right hand; his left holds a book. The pointed beard finishes off the especially expressive face; the drapery, with classical folds, is unrestrained and balanced. On the book is the inscription, in Hebrew letters of the fourteenth-fifteenth century style, reading: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”, recalling the text from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 13.

In 1849 Pope Pius IX (Giovanni Mastai Ferretti, 1846-1878) decided to replace existing statues of Sts. Peter and Paul with larger ones that his predecessor, Gregory XVI (Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, 1831-1846), had commissioned for the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls. Those statues had never been placed there because they were judged to be unsuitable for the inside of that Basilica.

Sculpture Saturday is a challenge hosted by Susan Kelly at No Fixed Plans.

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