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Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)

Pope Pius VII (1742-1823) 1819

RCIN 404946

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Long regarded as Lawrence’s greatest portrait, this painting celebrates Pope Pius VII as a symbol of the victory of peace over war. Imprisoned for five years by Napoleon, after his release the Pope became a figurehead for the political and cultural regeneration of Europe. In the background Lawrence shows the new Vatican sculpture gallery, containing looted works that George had been instrumental in returning to Rome after Napoleon’s defeat.