Presentation on theme: "Brief biography The baroque sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born in 1598 in Naples, son of the Tuscan sculptor Pietro Bernini. In 1605."— Presentation transcript:
Brief biography The baroque sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born in 1598 in Naples, son of the Tuscan sculptor Pietro Bernini. In 1605 the family moved to Rome. As a boy, Gian Lorenzo worked as assistant to his less talented father. Bernini's first patron was the nephew of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipio Borghese, for whom he executed the four famous sculpture groups in the Borghese Gallery: David, Aeneas with Anchises and Ascanius, Apollo and Daphne, and the Rape of Proserpina. Subsequently he worked for Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini), designing and executing the bronze canopy over the high altar of St. Peter's. In 1644 Urban VIII was succeeded by Innocence X (Pamphilij) and for a time Bernini fell out of favor. During this period the sculptor began to work on the group "Time uncovers Truth", now in the Borghese Gallery, (presumably a reference to his own position), and obtained some private commissions. But with his design for the Fountain of the Rivers in Piazza Navona, he regained papal patronage, and from then on he worked chiefly for the Vatican. The cathedra in the apse of St. Peter's and the layout of the square in front of the basilica date from this period.
Baroque The period in art history from about 1600 to about 1750. In this sense the term covers a wide range of styles and artists. In painting and sculpture there were three main forms of Baroque: (1) sumptuous display, a style associated with the Catholic Counter Reformation and the absolutist courts of Europe (Bernini, Rubens); (2) dramatic realism (Caravaggio); and (3) everyday realism, a development seen in particular in Holland (Rembrandt, Vermeer). In architecture, there was an emphasis on expressiveness and grandeur, achieved through scale, the dramatic use of light and shadow, and increasingly elaborate decoration. In a more limited sense the term Baroque often refers to the first of these categories.
Fontana del Tritone Travertine, over life-size Piazza Barberini, Rome 1624-43
Fontana del Tritone Saint Peter's throne is the last of Bernini's large monuments designed for the San Pietro. This completes and crowns his forty years long work in the decoration of the interior of the main church of the Roman Catholics. The throne symbolizes the power of the Pope. Bernini created an optical and artistic unity of the throne and the baldachin erected above the tomb of Saint Peter. The light coming from a natural source (the window of the apsis) is part of the composition, similarly than in two other great Bernini compositions, in the Saint Therese group, and in the tomb Ludovica Albertoni. This composition became the prototype of the Baroque glories to be found in large numbers in European churches.
Fountain of the Four Rivers 1648-51 Travertine and marble Piazza Navona, Rome
The Fountain of the Four Rivers This fountain was executed by a large group of coworkers under the supervision of Bernini. It is debated whether he sculpted personally the rocks, the palmtree, the lion and the horse, but it is generally accepted that his contribution was limited to the final phase of the work. From the remaining sketches it is unambigous that the idea and design are Bernini's. This composition preceded and prepared the great composition of Saint Peter's throne in the San Pietro. The fountain represents the four continents and their rivers, the obelisk in the center is the symbol of Christ and the triumphing Roman Catholic Church over the whole world. The figure of Nile, sculpted by Jacopo Antonio Fancelli, represents Africa; the Danube, by Antonio Raggi, Europe; the Ganges, by Claude Poussin, Asia; and the Plate, by Francesco Baratta, the Americas, discovered a century and a half earlier.
The Ecstasy of Saint Therese 1647-52 Marble, height 350 cm Cappella Cornaro, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
The Ecstasy of Saint Therese Bernini tackles a theme, as old as the tradition of images: the female principal transmuted by the action of the male principal. The two figures are situated in space with a subtle displacement of their bodies. Almost indescribable is the gesture of the angel-satyr, shown as he draws the dart from the female body, caught in momentary abeyance before it falls back. The figures are brought to life before our eyes. The centre of gravity of the complex mass of marble is shifting: the saint is sinking down (her symbolic foot emerging), and the young satyr moves into the forefront. The focal point of the whole is in that flame-tipped arrow so vividly described by St Teresa of Avila in her spiritual autobiography.
The Throne of Saint Peter 1657-66 Marble, bronze, white and golden stucco San Pietro, Rome
The Throne of Saint Peter Saint Peter's throne is the last of Bernini's large monuments designed for the San Pietro. This completes and crowns his forty years long work in the decoration of the interior of the main church of the Roman Catholics. The throne symbolizes the power of the Pope. Bernini created an optical and artistic unity of the throne and the baldachin erected above the tomb of Saint Peter. The light coming from a natural source (the window of the apsis) is part of the composition, similarly than in two other great Bernini compositions, in the Saint Therese group, and in the tomb Ludovica Albertoni. This composition became the prototype of the Baroque glories to be found in large numbers in European churches.
Tomb of Pope Alexander (Chigi) VII 1671-78 Marble and gilded bronze, over life-size Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican
Tomb of Pope Alexander (Chigi) VII This is the second monumental papal tomb in the San Pietro made by Bernini. It was commissioned by the Pope and executed after his death in 1667 by a large group of sculptors headed by Bernini. The composition is similar to that of the other (Urban VIII) tomb, however, there some differences. In contrast with the dominant figure of the Pope on the Urban tomb, the Pope here is a simple kneeling figure without any sign of his office. Instead of two there are four allegoric figures, Charity, Prudence, Justice and Truth. Below, there is a (real) door symbolizing the Gate of Death, from which a sand-glass holding skeleton (the Death) raises the heavy drapery.
Tomb of Pope Urban VIII (Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican) Golden bronze and marble, figures larger than life-size (1627-47)
Trip to France Bernini went to Paris in 1665, in what was his only prolonged absence from Rome. The trip was made in response to invitations that for many years had been extended to him by King Louis XIV, and the purpose was the design of a new French royal residence. By this time, Bernini was so famous that crowds lined the streets of each city along the route to watch him pass. His initial reception in Paris was equally triumphant, but he soon offended his sensitive hosts by imperiously praising the art and architecture of Italy at the expense of that of France. His statements made him unpopular at the French court and were to some degree responsible for the rejection of his designs for the Louvre. The only relic of Bernini's visit to France is his great bust of Louis XIV, a linear, vertical, and stable portrait, in which the Sun King gazes out with godlike authority. The image set a standard for royal portraits that lasted 100 years.
Epilogue Bernini died at the age of 81, after having served eight popes, and when he died he was widely considered not only Europe's greatest artist but also one of its greatest men. He was the last of Italy's remarkable series of universal geniuses, and the Baroque style he helped create was the last Italian style to become an international standard. His death marked the end of Italy's artistic hegemony in Europe. The style he evolved was carried on for two more generations in various parts of Europe by the architects Mattia de' Rossi and Carlo Fontana in Rome, J.B. Fischer von Erlach in Austria, and the brothers Cosmas and Egid Quirin Asam in Bavaria, among others.