By Anne Leader

Sculptor Pietro Bracci was born June 16, 1700 in Rome. He had a long career in the Eternal City and kept a detailed diary of his commissions for almost fifty years. He had a number of important patrons, including Popes Benedict XIII and XIV, for whom he created portraits and tombs. His best known work is the colossal figure of Oceanus that forms the focal point of Rome’s Trevi Fountain, carved after a model by Giovanni Battista Maini. He also created a magnificent tomb honoring Maria Clementina Sobieski, the wife of James Stuart, one of the Catholic claimants to the British throne. Echoing the great tomb ensembles of Gianlorenzo Bernini, the Sobieski monument is one of three in St. Peter’s dedicated to the deposed Stuart line.

Reference: Flavia Ormond. “Bracci, Pietro.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Oceanus, Fontana di Trevi, Rome, after 1759

Tomb of Maria Clementina Sobieska, 1739-42, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Bust of Pope Benedict XIII, 1762-73, marble, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Tomb of Benedict XIII, marble, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Tomb of Benedict XIV, 1763-70, marble, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Bust of Pope Benedict XIV, marble, after 1763, Bode-Museum Berlin

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