Portrait of unknown Pope or Cardinal, probably Innocent XI (1611-89), Pope (1676-89). H.L., turned half-r., eyes looking full; wearing crimson velvet cap and mantle
- Height: 28.6 centimetres
- Width: 22.9 centimetres
Although listed in the Museum’s records as ‘unknown pope or Cardinal’, this is almost certainly a portrait of Pope Innocent XI (1611-89) since it is similar to other portraits known to be of him.
Born into a banking family as Benedetto Odescalchi, he studied civil law and then became involved with the papal court. He was appointed bishop of Novara in 1650. Although a strong candidate, he was not elected Pope until 1676 because of opposition from the French King Louis XIV. During his papacy Turkish expansion into Europe was halted at the Siege of Vienna (1683), there was conflict with France over the primacy of Church or state and a great migration of Huguenots took place from France when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes (although the Pope is said to have opposed this).
The donor, the Rev Andrew Gifford, gave the Museum around 28 portraits. This is thought to be one of “Two pictures of Popes” presented 3 July 1761.
The P&D Registry entry made by Croft Murray states that this is Pope Innocent XI.
The portrait appears in the List of Portraits ....(1842). In the 1879 list it is noted that 'this painting has been transferred to the Print Room on account of its diminutive size'.
P&D Keeper's Office (Sheepshanks cabinet)
Eastern Zoological Gallery (1842)
Print Room (1879)
Cleaned by Dr H J Plenderleith, 1935.
The donor, the Rev Andrew Gifford, a Baptist Minister, was in 1756 the Museum’s first numismatist and also the first Assistant Librarian in the Department of Manuscripts 1756-84. He was the donor of around 28 portraits, some of which were transferred to the National Portrait Gallery in 1879. This is thought to be one of “Two pictures of Popes” presented 3 July 1761.
Prints & Drawings
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Object reference number: PIC144346
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