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Print - Pompae Funebres habitae in Funere Christinae Alexandrae Reginae suecice
  • Pompae Funebres habitae in Funere Christinae Alexandrae Reginae suecice
    Audenaerde, Robert van, born 1663 - died 1743
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Pompae Funebres habitae in Funere Christinae Alexandrae Reginae suecice

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Rome (printed)

  • Date:

    1689 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Audenaerde, Robert van, born 1663 - died 1743 (printmaker)
    Audenaerde, Robert van, born 1663 - died 1743 (designer)
    Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching and engraving on laid paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case WN

This print shows the funeral procession of Christina, former Queen of Sweden which took place in Rome on the 23rd April 1689. Queen Christina had abdicated from the throne of Sweden in 1654 and converted to Catholicism. On renouncing her throne she had left the country and travelled to Rome. She was regarded as a very significant convert to the Catholic faith and on her arrival in the city she was received in great splendour. Pope Alexander VII came personally to meet her. She adopted the baptismal name of Maria Christina Alexandra and spent the remaining years of her life based in Rome where she led an independent and unconventional life. She became a great patroness of the arts. She was the friend of Popes and Cardinals and on her death her connections afforded her a grand and solemn funeral despite her request for a simple burial. She is one of only three women to be given the honour of being buried in Saint Peter's Basilica.

This engraving, designed and engraved by the Flemish printmaker, Robert van Audenarde and published by Giovanni de Rossi in Rome, shows the funeral procession in seven tiers. The emphasis is on the ritual and figures of the participants and only three key buildings in Rome are illustrated. The procession of mourners begins at the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella at the bottom right of the print, where Christina's body had lain in state prior to the funeral, and snakes away from the spectator to the Basilica of St Peter in the top left hand corner. The procession passes Castel Sant’ Angelo in the top right hand corner. The Queen's carriage brings up the end of the procession and her body, lying on top of her coffin, appears in the second tier from the bottom. Various groups in the funeral cortège are labelled with engraved text above their heads such as members of Christina’s court who are immediately behind the coffin, Papal officials, clergy and monastic and penitential orders who appear at the head of the procession. The text describing the occasion is printed on a piece of drapery unfurled by two winged skeletons at the top of the print and is written in Latin to give it a more universal appeal. Groups of onlookers are shown at the side of the image giving a sense of the crowds who must have come to witness the funeral. Some are being held back by soldiers with pikes.

The spectacle of a royal figure being carried to the grave has always had great power. Printmakers and publishers responded to the demand for prints immortalizing such events and produced them rapidly to cash in on the topicality of the subject-matter. Engravings like this could communicate the scale and grandeur of the occasion and the citizens of Europe would have been eager to obtain an image of such a solemn event.

Physical description

The funeral cortege begins at Santa Maria in Valicella in the bottom right hand corner and winds its way towards St Peter's Basilica in the top left hand corner, passing Castel Sant'Angelo in the top right hand corner. Various individuals and groups within the procession are labelled with text in Latin above their heads. The Queen's carriage is at the end of the procession by the church of Santa Maria. Her body appears on her coffin clothed in state robes in the second tier of the procession. The title and subject of the print appear on a banner held aloft by two skeletons at the top.

Place of Origin

Rome (printed)


1689 (made)


Audenaerde, Robert van, born 1663 - died 1743 (printmaker)
Audenaerde, Robert van, born 1663 - died 1743 (designer)
Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Etching and engraving on laid paper

Marks and inscriptions

POMPAE FUNEBRES habitae in Funere CHRISTINAE ALEXANDRAE Reginae suecice:/Romae die xix. Aprilis Anno MDCLxxxix. defunctae, et die/XXIII.eiusdem mensis ab Ec:clesia S. Mariae in Valli/cella, post iusta' ibidem adstante sacro Cardinalium Colle/gio, vite persoluta, ad Basi.licam Vaticanam elatae,/et in ea depositae

At the top of the print in the centre inscribed around the coat of arms


Height: 45.5 cm size of sheet, Width: 67.8 cm size of sheet, Height: 41.7 size of platemark, Width: 65.8 cm size of platemark, Height: 41.1 cm size of image, Width: 65.0 cm size of image

Descriptive line

Funeral Procession of Christina Alexandra, Queen of Sweden; etching and engraving by Robert van Auden-Aerd; published by Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi; 1689

Labels and date

Funeral Procession of Queen Christina of Sweden

For people of high status, elaborate pomp accompanied the rituals of death. The funeral cortège of the former queen of Sweden processed through Rome to St Peter’s Basilica in April 1689. Having abdicated because of her conversion to Catholicism, Christina became one of only three women granted the honour of burial in St Peter’s. Prints of high-profile commemorations were extremely popular and circulated widely.

Italy (Rome)

By Robert van Audenaerde

Etching and engraving


Laid paper; Printing ink


Etching; Engraving


Theatre; Gender and Sexuality


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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