Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Francesco Mochi, Saint Veronica

Francesco Mochi, Saint Veronica

Mochi's statue of St. Veronica (c. 1632) is perhaps known as his greatest work. The statue is one of four statues made of marble to adorn the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Four great sculptors of the time  each were commissioned to make a statue. The other three are Saint Longinus by Bernini, Saint Andrew by Doquesnoy and Saint Helena by Bolgi. Each statue was to represent a holy relic that was at that time under the property of the Pope and held at St. Peters at the time. The four relics were the Veil of Veronica, Longinus's Spear, Saint Andrew's head, and a piece of the True Cross that Helena found in the Holy Land. Mochi's statue is the most emotional one of the group, which caused the church to be displeased with his work. The church's response would aggravate Mochi. This would prove to be a low point in his career, with him only doing smaller projects from this point forward. Mochi had a roller coaster career with many ups and downs. He was well aquatinted with the influential Farnese from Montevarchi. This factor led him to early success the early seventeenth century, but he would eventually be eclipsed by the younger Bernini. More and more frequently he lost commissions to newer artist who kept more in line with the concepts of Baroque art. This would make him considerably more and more bitter. The man would figuratively go on to die with a chip on his shoulder. If you are a fan of American history, think of this man as Henry Clay. He was an immensely important part to the formation of the system at hand (helping to form Baroque art and America respectively), but when it can time to be called upon (getting commissions or the presidency) he would be constantly beaten down by the younger members of society. For me, I don't see what the Catholic Church was in a huff about. The statue better displaces the emotion and the vibrancy of the situation, a common women wipes his brow in his final hours and is elevated to sainthood. I think a more emotional statue would have conveyed this message and have greater impact to the peasants visiting the church. Also it is interesting to mention that when a matador del toros is taunting a bull with his cape, it is called a Veronica. I feel like if matadors envisioned a more static St. Veronica, then there may be less of them alive today. In the end, I believe that Francesco Mochi was cheated and that this is a fine example of art from the period.

A Gallery of other works by Mochi

The Website for St. Peter's Basilica

A Biography of Francesco Mochi

More information on Saint Veronica


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