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Statue of Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi

0 Statue de Sainte Hélène par Andrea Bolgi - Basilique St-Pierre - Vatican

Statue of Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi

The Statue of Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi was created for one of the niches at the crossing of St. Peter’s Basilica.  In the nave of St. Peter’s Basilica within the four piers, supporting the dome, each pier has a niche in which is set one of the four statues associated with the basilica’s primary holy relics. This statue of Saint Helena holding the True Cross and the Holy Nails, is one of these four statues. Bolgi laboured for a decade on the figure that epitomised his career.

Saint Helena (250 – 330), was an Empress of the Roman Empire, and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great (272 –337), the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Born as a commoner, she became the consort of the future Roman Emperor and the mother of the future Emperor Constantine the Great. She ranks as an essential figure in the history of Christianity and due to her influence on her son. In her final years, she made a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem, during which she allegedly discovered the True Cross.  The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian Church tradition, are said to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

The four statues set in the niches within the four piers supporting the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica are:

The sculptor, Andrea Bolgi was an Italian sculptor responsible for several statues in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Later, he moved to Naples, where he sculpted portrait busts, where he died in Naples during a plague epidemic.


Statue of Saint Helena

  • Title:                        Statue of Saint Helena
  • Italiano:                  Statua di Sant’Elena Imperatrice
  • Français:                 Statue de Saint Hélène de Constantinople
  • Artist:                      Andrea Bolgi
  • Year:                        1647
  • Materials:               Marble
  • Museum:                 St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Andrea Bolgi

  • Name:                    Andrea Bolgi
  • Born:                      1605 – Carrara, Italy
  • Died:                      1656 – (aged 51) – Naples
  • Movement:           Baroque
  • Notable works:
    • Saint Helena


“There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” Leonardo da Vinci



Photo Credit: By Jean-Pol GRANDMONT (Self-photographed) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons