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Pope Gregory XIII Buoncompagni

Ascribed to Taddeo Landinic. 1580

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Gregory XIII was one of the most important popes of the Counter- Reformation, and a great promoter of religious orders, especially the Jesuits. The introduction of the calendar reform of 1582 came from him as well. The figural, plastic elements on the borders of the pluvial are the allegorical female figures of Justitia and Pax: to the left is Justice, with lowered sword, and on the opposite side is a personification of Peace, burning her weapons. While the figures of Pax and Justitia embody principles personally held by the pope, the relief on the clasp of his pluvial relates to his office. It depicts Christ washing Peter’s feet, as described in Gospel of St. John (13:6–10). This scene is supposed to be seen as an example of Humilitas, the humility of Christ. It shows the self-knowledge of the pope, who saw himself as the successor of Peter and of Christ, and who every year, as a sign of his humility, would wash the feet of a select number of clerics on Maundy Thursday.

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