Papal Symbols

The pope is most often depicted in art wearing his crown, the Tiara, called the triple crown. It is no longer used by the Popes.
The above image is part of the Dispute over the Blessed Sacrament by Raphael. Click, the image, here to see a larger detail, or here to see the entire work.
See also Rahpael's "theologians" detail. If you look at the depictions of various Popes you will see they all have a Tiara, including Clement who died in 97 AD, long before the Tiara was adopted for use by the Popes. (The crown is a little clearer on Pope St. Stephen.)
For more information see the Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Tiara; and for information on the Pope. [This is given for historical reference. Much change has occurred, for example kissing the foot ended with Pope John XXIII.]

Another symbol that can be used is a key. Here Jesus gives the keys to the Kingdom to Peter. The Popes who succeed Peter also share in the Power of the Keys.

This painting is found on the wall of the Sistine Chapel. Click on the image or here to see the whole painting by Perugino. Michelangelo also uses a key to indicate Peter in the Last Judgment. For a good detail look at our page Saints at the Last Judgment.

Papal Cross



G.G.Sill reports that there is a Papal Cross which is a Latin Cross with three unequal cross pieces. Sill, Symbolism in Christian Art, p. 31. (The three coss-pieces may represent the three areas of responsibility which all the ordain share with Christ, leader of worship, teacher, community leader. The Pope has the greatest responsibility for these missions in Christ.)

The fine art images are from
Christus Rex. All images are for religious and educational purposes only. No other use of any part of this page is intended or permitted.

Christian Symbolism

Catholic Teaching and Tradition on Religious Art.
Symbols of ChristThe Face of ChristThe Face of God

Art as a Source of Meditation
Awaken to Prayer
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