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Power Of Art - Bernini

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Power Of Art

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini

(December 7, 1598 - November 28, 1680)
Was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th Century Rome.

Bernini was born in Naples to a Mannerist sculptor, Pietro Bernini, originally from Florence. At the age of seven he accompanied his father to Rome, where his father was involved in several high profile projects. There as a boy, his skill was soon noticed by the painter Annibale Carracci and by Pope Paul V, and Bernini gained the patronage exclusively under Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the pope's nephew. His first works were inspired by antique Hellenistic sculpture.

Under the patronage of the Cardinal Borghese, young Bernini rapidly rose to prominence as a sculptor. Among the early works for the cardinal were decorative pieces for the garden such as The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Zeus and a Faun, and several allegorical busts such as the Damned Soul and Blessed Soul. By the age of twenty-two years, he completed the bust of Pope Paul V. Scipione's collection in situ at the Borghese gallery chronicles his secular sculptures, with a series of masterpieces:

  • (1619) depicts three ages of man from various viewpoints, borrowing from a figure in a Raphael fresco, and perhaps an allegory reflecting the moment when a son attains the skill of his father.Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius
  • , (1621-22) recalls Giambologna's Mannerist , and displays a masterful attention to detail, including the abductorThe Rape of ProserpinaRape of the Sabine Women
  • (1622-25) has been widely admired since Bernini's time; along with the subsequent sculpture of David it represents the introduction of a new sculptural aesthetic. It depicts the most dramatic and dynamic moment in one of Ovid's stories in his Metamorphoses. In the story, Apollo, the god of light, scolded Eros, the god of love, for playing with adult weapons. In retribution, Eros wounded Apollo with a golden arrow that induced him to fall madly in love at the sight of Daphne, a water nymph sworn to perpetual virginity, who, in addition, had been struck by Eros with a lead arrow which immunized her from Apollo's advances. The sculpture depicts the moment when Apollo finally captures Daphne, yet she has implored her father, the river god, to destroy her beauty and repel Apollo's advances by transforming her into a laurel tree. This statue succeeds at various levels: it depicts the event and also represents an elaborate conceit of sculpture. This sculpture tracks the metamorphoses as a representation in stone of a person changing into lifeless vegetation; in other words, while a sculptor's art is to change inanimate stone into animated narrative, this sculpture narrates the opposite, the moment a woman becomes a tree.Apollo and Daphne
  • (1623-24) like the , was a revolutionary sculpture for its time. Both depict movement in a way not previously attempted in stone. The biblical youth is taut and poised to rocket his projectile. Famous s sculpted by Bernini's Florentine predecessors had portrayed the static moment before and after the event; Michelangelo portrayed David prior to his battle with Goliath, to intimate the psychological fortitude necessary for attempting such a gargantuan task; the contemplative intensity of Michelangelo's David or the haughty effeteness of Donatello's and Verrocchio's s are all, nonetheless, portraying moments of stasis. The twisted torso, furrowed forehead, and granite grimace of Bernini's epitomize Baroque fixation with dynamic movement and emotion over High Renaissance stasis and classical severity. Michelangelo expressed David's psychological fortitude, preparing for battle; Bernini captures the moment when he becomes a hero.DavidApollo and DaphneDavidDavidDavid

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