Alessandro Algardi

Portrait of Olympia Maidalchini Pamphilj

White Carrara marble

This celebrated bust is a portrait of the notorious sister-in-law of Pope Innocent X. She owed her reputation to her ambitiousness and scheming, made possible by the backing of her brother-in-law the Pope. Her actions were so unscrupulous that they cost her internment in one of the family homes in Lazio as soon as her ally the Pope died.
This portrait is one of the best examples of Roman sculpture of the mid-17th century. The artist, Algardi from Bologna, was the most important exponent, in this artistic discipline, of the classical movement of the time. It is worth noticing that when compared to the Bernini models the contrast does not today appear very evident. In fact there are clear similarities with the major Roman baroque works, this is especially evident in the
virtuoso execution of the widow’s veil billowing with air.

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