Monsignor Antonio Cerri
86 x 65 x 28 cm
Monsignor Antonio Cerri around 1640
Alessandro Algardi 1598 - 1654
This bust can be identification as Monsignor Antonio Cerri
by the the family's crest, a rooted oak tree, on its base.
Cerri was Pope Urban VIII's lawyer.
Dignity and age are combined with native cunning,
a necessary requirement for negotiating Roman politics
on behalf of the Pope and the powerful Barberini family.
A replica of this bust is on Cerri's tomb
in the family chapel in the Jesuit church, Rome.
He was negotiating the contract for this chapel in 1640
and this work may have been in preparation for his tomb.
Its liveliness suggests that it was carved from life.
Algardi charts the process of ageing on soft flesh,
wrinkling softly at the eyes and mouth.
He probes the thin cartilage of the ears and
shows the blood coursing through delicate veins.
Interest in surface continues with the prelate's robes;
the smoothness of his cloak as it rolls round his neck
contrasts with the roughness of the surplice
and the delicacy of tassels and lace.
Purchased with funds from a national appeal and grants from the Victoria and Albert Museum Special Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund, National Art Collections Fund,
Patrons and Associates, and friends of Manchester City Art Galleries.