Pope Urban VI and the Anti-Pope Clement VII

Object Details


Pope Urban VI and the Anti-Pope Clement VII


Master of the Getty Froissart (Flemish, active about 1475 - 1485)




Bruges, Belgium (Place created)


about 1480 - 1483


Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment


Leaf: 48 x 35 cm (18 7/8 x 13 3/4 in.)

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Although Jean Froissart focused mainly on political maneuverings and battles in his Chronicle, he also wrote about the problems experienced by the papacy. This image illustrates the confusing situation brought about by the Great Schism, which began in 1378 with the election of different popes by two opposing groups of cardinals.

Early in 1378, a group of primarily Italian cardinals elected Urban VI as pope. Later that same year, an opposing group of French cardinals elected Clement VII as pope, and he established the seat of his papacy in Avignon, France. In this image, Urban VI sits at the right, and Clement VII sits at the left, flanked by his supporters. King Charles V of France, who accepted the validity of Clement's election, stands at the far left wearing robes bearing fleurs-de-lis, the French royal insignia. The artist indicated the hostility between the groups by depicting figures from the opposing parties back-to-back instead of facing one another.

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