The present bronze relates to a bust of Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730) of similar height (40cm) and with a near identical socle, in the Palazzo Venezia, Rome (inv. no. 9333; 1934, Collezione Barsanti, n. 109). This bronze has traditionally been given to Pietro Bracchi (1700-1773) but was recently reattributed to Giacomo Antonio Giardini by Alvar González-Palacios, an attribution which was restated by Pietro Cannata in his catalogue of the bronzes in Palazzo Venezia (op. cit.
, p. 164, no. 181). The emergence of the present bust of Benedict's successor, Clement XII, would suggest that the Palazzo Venezia bust was conceived as one of a pair, and was perhaps a commemorative portrait, since the two are evidently by the same hand. The present model arguably compares closely with the marble bust of Clement XII traditionally given to Pietro Bracchi in the Galleria Borghese (inv. no. CCLXXII). There is little to substantiate the attribution, however, which has been challenged. Another bust of Clement XII, also attributed to Bracchi, exists in the Palazzo Barberini. Another bust is held in Palazzo Corsini, whilst a portrait of the Pope attributed to Filippo della Valle is in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini.
I. Faldi, Le sculture dal secolo XVI al XIX, cat. Galleria Borghese, Rome, 1954, p. 43, no. 40; P. Cannata, Sculture in bronzo, cat. Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia, Rome, 2011, p. 164, no. 181