Pope Clement VII

Object Details


Pope Clement VII


Sebastiano del Piombo (Italian, about 1485 - 1547)




Italy, Europe (Place created)


about 1531


Oil on slate


105.4 × 87.6 cm (41 1/2 × 34 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

Following the model that Raphael had established for papal portraits, Sebastiano del Piombo painted Pope Clement VII (Giulio de'Medici) in three-quarter length and seated in an armchair which is placed diagonally to the picture plane.

In a letter dated July 22, 1531, Sebastiano told Michelangelo that Pope Clement had visited his studio to see a new portrait of himself painted on canvas. Very pleased, the pope ordered another version for his collection, this one to be painted on stone. Sebastiano had begun painting on stone around 1530 and had come to favor it for some important commissions because stone lasted longer than canvas or wood. Pope Clement apparently shared Sebastiano's desire to immortalize his portrait by using this durable support.

about 1531 -

Pope Clement VII, Italian, 1478 - 1534 (Rome, Italy), probably commissioned from the artist, 1531.

by 1851

Robert Henry Herbert, twellfth earl of Pembroke, ninth earl of Montgomery, English, 1791 - 1862 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England) [Pembroke sale, Christie's, London, May 6, 1851, lot 181, unsold.]

- 1861

Philip Lytcott Hinds, about 1792 - between 1871 and 1881 [sold, Christie's, London, June 1, 1861, lot 69, to Tayleure.]


John Tayleure, about 1782 - 1861

- 1987

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, Chester, June 11 1987, lot 4182, to Philip Parker.]


Philip Parker [sold, Christie's, London, December 11, 1987, lot 163, to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd.]

1987 - 1992

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1992.


John Marciari. Art of Renaissance Rome: Artists and Patrons in the Eternal City (London: Laurence King Publishing, 2017), p. 143, p. 144, fig. 87.

Christie and Manson, London. Catalogue of the Magnificent Contents of the Mansion of the Right Hon. the Earl of Pembroke [...]. May 5-13, 1851, p. 6, lot 74 (as "Portrait of Leo X").

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Capital Pictures, by Old Masters, from Different Private Collections [...]. June 1, 1861, p. 12, lot 69 (as "Portrait of Leo X").

Christie's, London. Important Old Master Pictures. December 11, 1987, p. 222-23, lot 163, ill.

Sotheby's, Chester. Silver, Silver Plate [...] Paintings, Drawings, Watercolours, and Prints. June 9-11, 1987, p. 45, lot 4182 (as Italian School, 19th Century).

"Acquisitions/1992." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 21 (1993), p. 116, no. 21, ill.

"Principales acquisitions des musées en 1992." La Chronique des arts: supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 121, no. 1490 (March 1993), p. 45, no. 216, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 9, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

Mould, Philip. Sleepers: In Search of Lost Old Masters (London: Fourth Estate, 1995), pp. 66-83, figs. 19, 20.

Lucco, Mauro. "Sebastiano del Piombo." In The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. Vol. 28 (London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1996), p. 335.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 117, ill.

Ferino-Pagden, Sylvia, et al. Vittoria Colonna: Dichterin und Muse Michelangelos, exh. cat. (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1997), pp. 100, 102, under no. I.38, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 30, no. 13, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

Reiss, Sheryl E. "Clemens VII." In Hoch Renaissance im Vatikan 1503-1534: Kunst und Kultur im Rom der Päpste, exh. cat. (Bonn: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, with Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1998), pp. 64, 68n111, fig. 17.

Hoch Renaissance im Vatikan, 1503-1534: Kunst und Kultur im Rom der Päpste, exh. cat. (Bonn: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, with Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1998), p. 449, under no. 56, entry by Michael Hirst.

Kirsh, Andrea, and Rustin S. Levenson. Seeing through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 58, 61, fig. 63.

Kaiser Karl V. (1500-1558): Macht und Ohnmacht Europas, exh. cat. (Bonn: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 2000), p. 234, under no. 202, entry by Sylvia Ferino-Pagden.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 102, ill.

Collomb, Anne-Laure. "La Peinture sur pierre en Italie, 1530-1630." Ph.D. diss. (Université Lumière-Lyon 2, 2006), pp. 17, 62-63, 250, 417, 462, 555n24, 591n500, fig. 56.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 98, ill.

Sebastiano del Piombo, 1485-1547, exh. cat. (Rome: Palazzo di Venezia, with Federico Motta Editore, 2008), p. 246, under no. 64, entry by Roberto Contini.

Vahland, Kia. Sebastiano del Piombo, a Venetian in Rome (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2008), p. 63.

Pierguidi, Stefano. "Le 'Portrait de Clément VII' par Sebastiano del Piombo du J. Paul Getty Museum." Revue de l'art, no. 160 (2008), pp. 55-59, fig. 3.

Rebecchini, Guido. Un altro Lorenzo: Ippolito de' Medici tra Firenze e Roma (1511-1535) (Venice: Marsilio, 2010), pp. 264, fig. 2.

Daverio, Philippe. Il museo immaginato (Milan: Rizzoli, 2011), pp. 254, 259, and 264, ill.

Baker-Bates, Piers. "Sebastianello Nostro Venetiano: The Career of Sebastiano del Piombo and the Concept of a 'Court Artist' in Renaissance Rome." The Court Historian: International Journal of Court Studies 16 (June 2011), p. 9, ill.

Blanc, Jan, ed. Paroles d'artistes: de la Renaissance à Sophie Calle (Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2012), p. 60, ill.

Humfrey, Peter. Glasgow Museums: The Italian Paintings (London: Unicorn Press, with Glasgow Museums, 2012), pp. 88-89, fig. 2, under no. 24.

Wright, Christopher. The Schorr Collection of Old Master and Nineteenth-Century Paintings. Vol. 1 (London: MGFA, 2014), p. 229, fig. 256.

Hindlip, Carles. An Auctioneer's Lot: Triumphs and Disasters at Christie's (London: Third Millenium Publishing, 2016), pp. 168-69, ill.

Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Portrait of Pope Clement VII