Pope Alexander VIII, born Pietro Vito Ottoboni, was Pope from 6 October 1689 to his death in 1691. He is the last pope to take the pontifical name of "Alexander" upon his election to the papacy.
The ambassador of King Louis XIV of France succeeded in procuring his election on 6 October 1689, as the successor to Pope Innocent XI; nevertheless, after months of negotiation Alexander VIII finally condemned the declaration made in 1682 by the French clergy concerning the liberties of the Gallican church.
He chose the pontifical name of "Alexander VIII" in gratitude to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, the nephew of Pope Alexander VII, who also had helped support his candidacy. Ottoboni was crowned as pontiff on 16 October 1689 by the protodeacon Cardinal Francesco Maidalchini and took possession of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on 28 October 1689.
Old but of a strong constitution, Alexander VIII was said to be an able diplomat. During his brief pontificate he managed to destroy most of his predecessor's good work. All the money saved by Innocent XI was spent on enriching the Ottoboni family and to a cardinal he said: "I have no time to lose; for me the day is almost done!"
Alexander VIII was almost an octogenarian when elected to the papacy, which lasted only sixteen months, during which time little of importance was done. Louis XIV, whose political situation was now critical, profited by the peaceful dispositions of the new pope, restored Avignon to him, and renounced the long-abused right of asylum for the French Embassy.
Alexander VIII died on 1 February 1691. His grandiose tomb in St. Peter's was commissioned by his grandnephew, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, and designed by Count Arrigo di San Martino. The bas-relief at the base and the flanking figures (1704) were sculpted by Angelo de' Rossi, while the bronze statue of the pope was cast by Giuseppe Bertosi.