BERNINI

Architecture Sculpture Baroque Painting

Bernini (Naples 7 December 1598 — Rome 28 November 1680) was the a leading figure in the Roman Baroque architecture. During his long career, Bernini received many important commissions, mostly from the Popes and at the age of twenty three was knighted by Pope Gregory XV. Although he did not fare so well during the reign of Innocent X, under Alexander VII, he once again regained pre-eminent artistic domination and continued to be held in high regard by Clement IX. In love with classical sculpture, Bernini possessed the unique ability to capture, in marble, the essence of the narrative moment with a dramatic naturalistic realism which was almost shocking and this ensured that he effectively became the successor of Michelangelo.

Bernini masterworks

Masterworks

Apollo and Daphne
Is a baroque, life-sized marble sculpture housed in the Borghese Gallery. It was inspired by one of the stories included in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Bernini’s sculpture captures Daphne’s transformation with intense emotion and drama by portraying the different stages of her changes.

The David
The sculpture was part of a commission to decorate the villa of Bernini’s patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the Borghese Gallery, where it still resides. It was completed in the course of seven months from 1623 to 1624. The subject of the work is the biblical David, about to throw the stone that will bring down Goliath, which will allow David to behead him. Relating to earlier works on the same theme, it is also revolutionary in its implied movement and its psychological depth.

Aeneas and Anchises
The group sculpture represents Aeneas fleeing from the burning city of Troy bearing his elderly father Anchises on his shoulders, and his son Ascanius carrying the sacred fire of the hearth, while Anchises holds the penates family household gods. The twenty-one-year old Bernini, still influenced by his father Pietro’s late 16th century tower-shaped compositions, executed this group around 1618 and 1620.

The Four Rivers Fountain
It is a masterpiece of Gianlorenzo Bernini’s, and emblematic of the dynamic and dramatic effects sought by high Baroque artists. It was erected in 1651 in front of the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, and yards from the Pamphilj Palace belonging to this fountain’s patron, Innocent X (1644-1655).

The Rape of Proserpina
It depicts Proserpine being seized and taken to the underworld by Pluto.The twisted contrapposto or figura serpentinata pose allows the simultaneous depiction of the abduction, the arrival in the underworld and her prayer to her mother Ceres to return to the real world 6 months a year.

The Ecstasy of St. Theresa
This splendid work is the central marble group of a sculpture complex designed and completed by Bernini for the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria. It is one of the sculptural masterpieces of High Roman Baroque. It was completed in 1652 for the the sum of 12,000 scudi.

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