Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion and the arts; the City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong-Kong, in 2018; the city is a major rail and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, the Pompidou Centre Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe; the historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China.
It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London. The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris; the 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics; the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the 1960, 1984, 2016 UEFA European Championships were held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there. The name "Paris" is derived from the Celtic Parisii tribe; the city's name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. Paris is referred to as the City of Light, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale on its boulevards and monuments.
Gas lights were installed on the Place du Carousel, Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendome in 1829. By 1857, the Grand boulevards were lit. By the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps. Since the late 19th century, Paris has been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in French as Parisiens, they are pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris' Left Bank; the Roman town was called Lutetia. It became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known as Parisius, a Latin name that would become Paris in French. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris' strategic importance—with its bridges prevent
The Bode Museum is one of the group of museums on the Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. It was designed by architect Ernst von Ihne and completed in 1904. Called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum after Emperor Frederick III, the museum was renamed in honour of its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956. Closed for repairs since 1997, the museum was reopened on October 18, 2006 after a €156 million refurbishment. True to the ethos of its founding director, Wilhelm von Bode, who believed in mixing art collections, it is now the home for a collection of sculptures, Byzantine art, coins and medals; the presentation of the collections is both geographic and chronological, with the Byzantine and Gothic art of northern and southern Europe displayed separately on the museum’s first floor and a similar regional division of Renaissance and Baroque art on its second floor. The sculpture collection shows art of the Christian Orient, sculptures from Byzantium and Ravenna, sculptures of the Middle Ages, the Italian Gothic, the early Renaissance.
Late German Gothic works are represented by Tilman Riemenschneider, the south German Renaissance, Prussian Baroque art up to the 18th century. In the future selected works of the Gemäldegalerie will be integrated into the sculpture collection; this is reminiscent of William von Bode's concept of "style rooms", in which sculptures and crafts are viewed together, as was usual in upper middle-class private collections. The Münzkabinett is one of the world's largest numismatic collections, its range spans from the beginning of minting in the 7th century BC in Asia Minor up to the present day. With 500,000 items the collection is a unique archive for historical research, while its medal collection makes it an important art exhibition at the same time. Writing in The Financial Times on the occasion on the museum's reopening in 2006, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, hailed “the most comprehensive display of European sculpture anywhere.” He added: “It is no exaggeration to say that in the new Bode Museum, Europe will be able for the first time to read its history — aesthetic and religious and political — in a three-dimensional form.”
In 1910, it was revealed that a bust of Flora, purchased by the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, under the belief that it was by Leonardo da Vinci, may have been created by the English sculptor, Richard Cockle Lucas. Wilhelm von Bode, the general manager of the Prussian Art Collections for the Berlin Museum, had spotted the bust in a London gallery and purchased it for a few pounds. Bode was convinced that the bust was by Leonardo and the Berlin Museum authorities, the German public, were delighted to have "snatched a great art treasure from under the noses" of the British art world. Shortly afterwards, The Times ran an article claiming that the bust was the work of Lucas, having been commissioned to produce it from a painting. Lucas's son, Albert came forward and swore under oath that the story was correct and that he had helped his father to make it. Albert was able to explain; when the Berlin museum staff removed the base they found the debris, just as Albert had described it, including a letter dated in the 1840s.
Despite this evidence, Bode continued to claim. To support this, he displayed the Flora bust among a selection of Lucas's lesser work – this exhibition rather backfired, however, as it showed that Lucas had been making wax sculptures inspired by the great works of previous times. Various claims and counter-claims have been put forward about the bust, from its being an outright forgery to being a genuine 16th-century piece. Scientific examination has been inconclusive and unhelpful in dating the bust, although it is accepted as having at least some connection with Lucas; the bust remains on display in what is now the Bode Museum labelled "England", "19th Century" with a question mark. On 27 March 2017, a solid gold coin called the Big Maple Leaf, issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 as a commemorative piece, was stolen from the museum; the coin, at 53 cm in diameter and 3 cm in thickness, is made of 24-carat gold and is worth around €3.7 million. A ladder was found on the train tracks nearby, leading German police to speculate that the thief entered the building by breaking open a window in the back of the museum next to the railway tracks.
The museum appears as a playable level in the World War II video game Sniper Elite V2. List of art museums List of museums in Germany Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art Virtual Tour Through 35 Rooms Numismatic Collection Virtual Tour Through Numismatic Collection
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris; the palace is now a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, the royal apartments. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored. In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower; the site of the Palace was first occupied by a small village and church, surrounded by forests filled with abundant game. It was owned by the priory of Saint Julian. King Henry IV went hunting there in 1589, returned in 1604 and 1609, staying in the village inn.
His son, the future Louis XIII, came on his own hunting trip there in 1607. After he became King in 1610, Louis XIII returned to the village, bought some land, in 1623-24 built a modest two-story hunting lodge on the site of the current marble courtyard, he was staying there in November 1630 during the event known as the Day of the Dupes, when the enemies of the King's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, aided by the King's mother, Marie de' Medici, tried to take over the government. The King sent his mother into exile. After this event, Louis XIII decided to make his hunting lodge at Versailles into a château; the King purchased the surrounding territory from the Gondi family, in 1631–1634 had the architect Philibert Le Roy replace the hunting lodge with a château of brick and stone with classical pilasters in the doric style and high slate-covered roofs, surrounding the courtyard of the original hunting lodge. The gardens and park were enlarged, laid out by Jacques Boyceau and his nephew, Jacques de Menours, reached the size they have today.
Louis XIV first visited the château on a hunting trip in 1651 at the age of twelve, but returned only until his marriage to Maria Theresa of Spain in 1660 and the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, after which he acquired a passion for the site. He decided to rebuild and enlarge the château and to transform it into a setting for both rest and for elaborate entertainments on a grand scale; the first phase of the expansion was supervised by the architect Louis Le Vau. He added two wings to the forecourt, one for servants quarters and kitchens, the other for stables. In 1668 he added three new wings built of stone, known as the envelope, to the north and west of the original château; these buildings had nearly-flat roofs covered with lead. The king commissioned the landscape designer André Le Nôtre to create the most magnificent gardens in Europe, embellished with fountains, basins, geometric flower beds and groves of trees, he added two grottos in the Italian style and an immense orangerie to house fruit trees, as well as a zoo with a central pavilion for exotic animals.
After Le Vau's death in 1670, the work was taken over and completed by his assistant François d'Orbay. The main floor of the new palace contained two symmetrical sets of apartments, one for the king and the other for the queen, looking over the gardens; the two apartments were separated by a marble terrace, overlooking the garden, with a fountain in the center. Each set of apartments was connected to the ground floor with a ceremonial stairway, each had seven rooms, aligned in a row. On the ground floor under the King's apartment was another apartment, the same size, designed for his private life, decorated on the theme of Apollo, the Sun god, his personal emblem. Under the Queen's apartment was the apartment of the Grand Dauphin, the heir to the throne; the interior decoration was assigned to Charles Le Brun. Le Brun supervised the work of a large group of sculptors and painters, called the Petite Academie, who crafted and painted the ornate walls and ceilings. Le Brun supervised the design and installation of countless statues in the gardens.
The grand stairway to the King's apartment was soon redecorated as soon as it was completed with plaques of colored marble and trophies of arms and balconies, so the members of the court could observe the processions of the King. In 1670, Le Vau added a new pavilion northwest of the chateau, called the Trianon, for the King's relaxation in the hot summers, it was surrounded by flowerbeds and decorated with blue and white porcelain, in imitation of the Chinese style. The King spent his days in Versailles, the government and courtiers, numbering six to seven thousand persons, crowded into the buildings; the King ordered a further enlargement, which he entrusted to the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Hadouin-Mansart added two large new wings on either side of the original Cour Royale, he replaced Le Vau's large terrace, facing the garden on the west, with what bec
Palais Rohan, Strasbourg
The Palais Rohan in Strasbourg is the former residence of the prince-bishops and cardinals of the House of Rohan, an ancient French noble family from Brittany. It is a major architectural and cultural landmark in the city, it was built next to Strasbourg Cathedral in the 1730s, from designs by Robert de Cotte, is considered a masterpiece of French Baroque architecture. Since its completion in 1742, the palace has hosted a number of French monarchs such as Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and Joséphine, Charles X. Reflecting the history of Strasbourg and of France, the palace has been owned successively by the nobility, the municipality, the monarchy, the state, the university, the municipality again, its architectural conception and its iconography were intended to indicate the return of Roman Catholicism to the city, dominated by Protestantism for the previous two centuries. Thus the prelate's apartments face the cathedral, to the north, many of the statues and paintings reflect the Catholic dogma.
Since the end of the 19th century the palace has been home to three of Strasbourg's most important museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts. The municipal art gallery, Galerie Robert Heitz, in a lateral wing of the palace, is used for temporary exhibitions; the Palais Rohan has been listed since 1920 as a Monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. In 1727 Armand Gaston Maximilien de Rohan, bishop of Strasbourg since 1704 and cardinal since 1712, commissioned the architect Robert de Cotte to design the palace. Seven years prior, in 1720, Cardinal de Rohan had charged de Cotte with renovation and embellishment works on his castle in Saverne, the predecessor of the current Rohan Castle. De Cotte had previously designed the Hôtel du grand Doyenné, the first hôtel particulier in Louis Quinze style built in Strasbourg; the Palais Rohan was built on the site of the former residence of the bishop, the "bishop's demesne", recorded since at least 1262.
The area itself is near the heart of the ancient Argentoratum, first mentioned in 12 BC. Diverse archaeological excavations on Place du Château, the square facing the palace, have unearthed many remains of the Roman camp. Building work on the Palais Rohan took place from 1732 until 1742 under the supervision of the municipal architect Joseph Massol, who worked on the Hôtel de Hanau and the Hôtel de Klinglin during the early years of the project. Massol was assisted by the architects Laurent Étienne Le Chevalier; the sculptures, including statues as well as reliefs, were provided by Robert Le Lorrain, assisted by Johann August Nahl, Gaspard Pollet, Laurent Leprince, the paintings by Pierre Ignace Parrocel and Robert de Séry. The ébéniste Bernard Kocke and the ironworkers and locksmiths Jean-François Agon and his son Antoine Agon worked on the furnishings of the apartments, while the stucco was the work of the Italians Castelli and Morsegno. A budget of 344,000 French livres had been established for the construction – 200,000 livres lent from the Cathedral chapter and 144,000 raised as local taxes over a period of twelve years – but the final cost is estimated at one million French livres.
The palace is built in yellow sandstone from Wasselonne, with pink sandstone for the less visible parts. The House of Rohan owned the palace until the French Revolution, when it was confiscated, declared bien national, auctioned off on 8 August 1791. Bought by the municipality, it became the new town hall the same year. Much of the furniture and many of the works of art in the Palais were sold, in 1793 the eight life-sized mural portraits of prince-bishops decorating the Salle des évêques were destroyed, they were replaced in 1796 by allegories of civic virtues painted by Joseph Melling. Only the portrait of Armand Gaston, the builder of the palace, was restored to its original place with a 1982 replica of Hyacinthe Rigaud's lost painting. Melling replaced the overdoor portraits of kings of France, decorating the same room with paintings of vases; the Palais Rohan remained the hôtel de ville until 1805. That year, the municipality presented it to Napoleon. Like the palace, the hôtel had been state-owned since the Revolution.
The 1805 arrangement proved favourable for the municipality: the maintenance of the Hôtel de Hanau was less costly than that of the larger Palais Rohan. It pleased Napoleon; as for the palace, imperial ownership meant renewed splendour. The present to Napoleon was accepted by decree on 21 January 1806. In the years before the Franco-Prussian War and the return of Alsace to Germany, the Palais Rohan was the property of the French state, in turn an empire, a kingdom, a monarchy, a republic, again an empire; the year 1871 signified the end of French rule and the beginning of German rule over Alsace, which had until 1681 been linked to Germany through the Holy Roman Empire. Having lost the Franco-Prussian War, France had to cede the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Moselle to the newly created German Empire. Now under new administration and having lost its residential purpose, the Palais Rohan had to be assigned a new role. Between 1872 and 1884, until the opening of the Palais
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes used carving and modelling, in stone, ceramics and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast. Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, represents the majority of the surviving works from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, this has been lost. Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were an expression of religion or politics; those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.
The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, Greece is seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith; the revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, the presentation of found objects as finished art works. A basic distinction is between sculpture in the round, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached to any other surface, the various types of relief, which are at least attached to a background surface. Relief is classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are difficult to accomplish in the round, is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, attached to buildings, for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery and jewellery.
Relief sculpture may decorate steles, upright slabs of stone also containing inscriptions. Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; the term "sculpture" is used to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture, large, or, attached to a building. But the term properly covers many types of small works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for small carvings in stone that can take detailed work; the large or "colossal" statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.
The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Small forms of sculpture include the figurine a statue, no more than 18 inches tall, for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Modern and contemporary art have added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, street art sculpture, kinetic sculpture, land art, site-specific art. Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion. Cult images are common in many cultures, though they are not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia; the actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were evidently rather small in the largest temples.
The same is true in Hinduism, where the simple and ancient form of the lingam is the most common. Buddhism brought the sculpture of religious figures to East Asia, where there seems to have been no earlier equivalent tradition, though again simple shapes like the bi and cong had religious significance. Small sculptures as personal possessions go back to the earliest prehistoric art, the use of large sculpture as public art to impress the viewer with the power of a ruler, goes back at least to the Great Sphinx of some 4,500 years ago. In archaeology and art history the appearance, sometimes disappearance, of large or monumental sculpture in a culture is regarded as of great significance, though tracing the emergence is complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains; the ability to s
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere
Pope Benedict XIII
Pope Benedict XIII, born Pietro Francesco Orsini and called Vincenzo Maria Orsini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 May 1724 to his death in 1730. A Dominican friar, Orsini focused on his religious responsibilities as bishop rather than on papal administration. Orsini's lack of political expertise led him to rely on an unscrupulous secretary whose financial abuses ruined the papal treasury, causing great damage to the Church in Rome. In the process towards sainthood, his cause for canonization opened in 1755, it was re-opened on 21 February 1931, but it was closed once again in 1940. It was opened once more on 17 January 2004, with the official process commencing in 2012 and concluding in 2017, he now has the posthumous title of Servant of God. He was born in Gravina in Puglia, the eldest of six sons of Ferdinando III Orsini, duke of Gravina, Giovanna Frangipani della Tolfa, from Toritto. A member of the Orsini of Rome, he was the last member of that family to become Pope.
At the age of eighteen he resigned his inheritance and entered the Dominican Order where he received the name of "Vincenzo Maria". He was ordained to the priesthood in February 1671. Through the influence of his family, he was named, by Pope Clement X, Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto on 22 February 1672, he lectured in philosophy at Brescia. He was bishop of Manfredonia, bishop of Cesena and archbishop of Benevento. After an earthquake in 1688 and another in 1702 he organized relief efforts for the victims, he remained a close friend of Serafina di Dio. Upon the death of Pope Innocent XIII in 1724, a conclave was convoked to elect a successor. There were four divisions in the College of Cardinals and there were no clear candidates. At the conclave, Orsini was considered one of the papabili. Orsini was proposed to be elected because he led a modest, austere life, considered to be a pastor, his lack of political expertise suggested that he would be malleable. Orsini refused to be elected prior to the final ballot.
He was persuaded to accept by Agustín Pipia, Master of the Order of Preachers and on 29 May 1724, Orsini was elected pontiff. He chose the regnal name of "Benedict XIII" in honour of Pope Blessed Benedict XI because he was of the Dominican Order. On 4 June 1724, he was crowned by the cardinal protodeacon. On the following 24 September, he took possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. At first, he called himself Benedict XIV, but afterwards altered the title to Benedict XIII. Not a man of worldly matters, Benedict XIII made an effort to maintain his monastic lifestyle, he endeavoured to put a stop to the decadent lifestyles of the Italian priesthood and of the cardinalate. He abolished the lottery in Rome and the Papal States, which only served to profit the neighboring states that maintained the public lottery. A man fond above all of asceticism and religious celebrations, he built several hospitals, but according to Cardinal Lambertini "did not have any idea about how to rule". In 1727 he founded the University of Camerino.
In 1728, Benedict's intervention settled a controversy, regarding the relics of St Augustine, that erupted in Pavia, Italy. He confirmed the authenticity of Augustine's bones, discovered in 1695 in the Basilica San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro; the government of the Papal States was held in Benedict XIII's stead by Cardinal Niccolò Coscia, the pope's secretary when he was archbishop of Benevento, who committed a long series of financial abuses to his own advantage, causing the ruin of the Papal treasury. Coscia and his associates isolated Benedict from other advisors. According to Montesquieu, "All the money of Rome goes to Benevento... as the Beneventani direct weakness". In foreign relations, he struggled with both John V of Portugal and the Jansenists in France. Benedict XIII beatified Bernardine of Feltre in 1728 and beatified Peter Fourier on 20 January 1730, he beatified Hyacintha of Mariscotti on 1 September 1726, Fidelis of Sigmaringen on 24 March 1729, Vincent de Paul on 13 August 1729 and John del Prado on 24 May 1728.
Through the process of equipollent canonization, Benedict XIII canonized Pope Gregory VII on 24 May 1728. He conferred sainthood upon Agnes of Montepulciano in 1726, Aloysius Gonzaga on 31 December 1726, Boris of Kiev in 1724, Francis Solano on 27 March 1726, Gleb in 1724, James of the Marches and Turibius of Mogroveio on 10 December 1726, John of Nepomuk on 19 March 1729, John of the Cross and Peregrine Laziosi on 27 December 1726, Margaret of Cortona on 16 May 1728 and Serapion of Algiers on 14 April 1728; the pope named Saint Peter Chrysologus as a Doctor of the Church in 1729. Benedict XIII elevated 29 new cardinals into the cardinalate in a total of 12 consistories. Benedict XIII, whose orders were descended from Scipione Rebiba consecrated at least 139 bishops for various important European sees, including German, French and New World bishops; these bishops in turn consecrated bishops exclusively for their respective countries causing other episcopal lineages to die. As a result, more than 90% of present-day bishops trace their episcopal lineage through him to Cardinal Rebiba.
With the papal bull Pretiosus dated May 26, 1727