Pope Sixtus IV


Sixtus IV
Bishop of Rome
Titian - Sixtus IV - Uffizi.jpg
Posthumous portrait of Pope Sixtus IV by Titian
Papacy began9 August 1471
Papacy ended12 August 1484
PredecessorPaul II
SuccessorInnocent VIII
Consecration25 August 1471
by Guillaume d'Estouteville
Created cardinal18 September 1467
by Paul II
Personal details
Birth nameFrancesco della Rovere
Born21 July 1414
Celle Ligure, Republic of Genoa
Died12 August 1484(1484-08-12) (aged 70)
Rome, Papal States
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Other popes named Sixtus
Papal styles of
Pope Sixtus IV
C o a popes Della Rovere.svg
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone
Ordination history of
Pope Sixtus IV
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byGuillaume d'Estouteville
Date25 August 1471
Elevated byPope Paul II
Date18 September 1467 in pectore (revealed 19 September 1467)
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Pope Sixtus IV as principal consecrator
Pierre Engelpert25 March 1477
Georg Hessler13 February 1480
Giuliano della Rovere1481
Matthias Scheit31 December 1481

Pope Sixtus IV (21 July 1414 – 12 August 1484), born Francesco della Rovere, was Pope from 9 August 1471 to his death in 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the construction of the Sistine Chapel and the creation of the Vatican Archives. A patron of the arts, he brought together the group of artists who ushered the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpieces of the city's new artistic age.

Sixtus aided the Spanish Inquisition though he fought to prevent abuses therein, and he annulled the decrees of the Council of Constance. He was noted for his nepotism and was personally involved in the infamous Pazzi conspiracy.[1]

Early life

Francesco was born to a family of modest means from Liguria, Italy, the son of Leonardo della Rovere and Luchina Monleoni. He was born in Celle Ligure, a town near Savona.[2]

As a young man, Della Rovere joined the Franciscan Order, an unlikely choice for a political career, and his intellectual qualities were revealed while he was studying philosophy and theology at the University of Pavia. He went on to lecture at Padua and many other Italian universities.[3]

In 1464, Della Rovere was elected Minister General of the Franciscan order at the age of 50. In 1467, he was appointed Cardinal by Pope Paul II with the titular church being the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli. Before his papal election, Cardinal della Rovere was renowned for his unworldliness and had written learned treatises, including On the Blood of Christ and On the Power of God.[4] His reputation for piety was one of the deciding factors that prompted the College of Cardinals to elect him Pope upon the unexpected death of Paul II at the age of fifty-four.[5]