Giovanni Balducci and a Rediscovered Predella for the 

Papal High Altar in Saint John the Lateran 

Moretti Fine Art is delighted to announce the presentation of five newly discovered panels by Giovanni Balducci, called ‘il Cosci’, commissioned by Pope Clemente VIII for the papal high altar in the Basilica of Saint John the Lateran in Rome for the Jubilee of 1600. They will be on view at the gallery in Monaco from 24 to 28 April, during with Monaco Art Week.

It was Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici’s appreciation of the artist Giovanni Balducci that was the decisive factor for the artist’s move to Rome, where he is to became one of the more expensive Florentine artists and received many important pontifical commissions.  This included the decoration of the papal altar in Saint John the Lateran, an expressive symbol of renewal, commissioned by Clement VIII Aldobrandini in celebration of the Jubilee year, 1600. 

It was Clement VIII himself who set up a program of liturgical adaptation in the Basilica after the apostolic visit on 22 May 1595.  His visit and the solemn tribute paid to the relics and the place itself was reflected in a program of renovation within the basilica entrusted to the experience of Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici.  The project for the papal altar included a pictorial cycle aimed at celebrating martyrdom and, more broadly, the figures of Saints Peter and Paul, through the episodes translated into clear and narrative images, according to the conciliar dictations adopted by Clement VIII.  

The five scenes, re-emerging after a long period of oblivion, are presented here for the first time after their discovery, therefore allowing a complete reconstruction of the predella of the papal altar of Saint John the Lateran, including the lateral parts that remained hidden until its removal in 1851. Considering the symbolic importance of the place and the patron, in the Lateran predella, Balducci made the most of his previously proven compositional repertoire, revisiting it with a surprising executive freshness. 

The catalogue of the exhibition is curated by Carlo Falciani and published by Centrodi.

Moretti Fine Art

27, avenue de la Costa – MC 98000 Monaco

25 – 28 April 2019

Opening hours

Wednesday  24 April: 5pm – 8pm

from Thursday 25 to Sunday: 28 April, 10am7pm


+377 99 99 09 70

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