Monument to Pope Gregory XIII
|Before being elected to the papacy, Gregory XIII (1572-1585)
taught jurisprudence at the University of Bologna. An expert in law and
theology, he was sent by Pope Pius IV to the Council of Trent. As pope
he worked hard to
support Catholicism when the new Protestant creeds were spreading through Bavaria and Poland. He had direct contacts with many saints: Carlo Borromeo, Filippo Neri, Ignatius Loyola, and Roberto Bellarmino as well as indirect contacts with Saint Theresa d'Avila and Saint John of the Cross. During his papacy Jesuit missions flourished in India, Japan and Brazil; he can also be considered the founder of the Gregorian University; the great master of polyphony, Pierluigi da Palestrina and the poet Torquato Tasso were his proteges. He also issued the Gregorian Calendar. Eminent scientists and astronomers pointed out that the last calendar reform, by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C. contained some error's, and therefore, over the past sixteen hundred years, these errors had grown to 10 days. The correction was made in 1582, October 4th was followed by October 15th. This episode is depicted in the bas-relief carving on the sarcophagus. The pope is shown with famous mathematicians and astronomers including the Jesuit Priest Ignatius Danti, Father Clavius of Bamberg and Antonio Lilio of Calabria, who are well visible
because the allegorical figure of Wisdom, with helmet and shield is lifting the drapery to reveal the meeting of scientists presided over by the pope. The figure of the Pontiff may well be the most beautiful in all papal
iconograpy. The monument was carved by the Milanese sculptor Camillo Rusconi (1658-1728).