He was one of the brightest minds of the XVII Century: Swide tells you about his achievements and his life.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was what today could be called a VIP: sought after by Popes, admired by everyone, Swide recounts in 10 points his life and his career.
1. He was born in Naples in 1598 but at the age of 6 the family moved to Rome, where he stays his whole life. Father and son start soon to collaborate with the beautiful statue, Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children (1614), a work in which you can see all the elemento of Ellenism rivisited in a modern manner.
2. The work that can be considered his first step into his personal style is the Giove child and a fauno Nourished from the Goat (1615-1617). The goat looks real, the movements are naturalistic.
3. He is commissioned to decorate the Borghese Gallery in Rome and he reinterprets the David in a completely different way from Michelangelo. Giving voice to the exact moment of the action of launching the stone, he frames the David in a dynamic way, so he then becomes an athlete more than a hero like previously pictured.
4. Proserpina's rapture, from Ovidio’s Metamorfosis, is sensual and immediate, as well as Apollo and Dafne work. Thanks to these works he becomes well-known.
Apollo and Daphne
5. Il Baldacchino (1624-1633) - the baldachin - commissioned for Basilica of San Pietro, is the first monumental work: it’s about relating to Michelangelo’s dome and inserting the work within a difficult architecture creating a structure that is both architecture and sculpture.
In 1628 he also starts to work on the Sepolcro of Pope Urbano VIII who commissioned him the Baldacchino.
6. His first real activity in architecture – a field in which he becomes prolific and leaves a mark on the history of architecture – starts in 1629 for the construction of Palazzo Barberini, the palace of the Pope.
7. During the reign of the new Pope, Innocenzo X Pamphili, in 1647 – 1651 he realises Ecstasy of Saint Teresa for the Corsaro Chapel, which represents the highest point of Bernini’s poetic in terms of relating the three arts, architecture, sculpture and painting. The work is at the same time both spiritual and sensual. The chapel has been conceived as a gigantic painting. He also keeps his involvement in architecture, working at the Fountain of the Four Rivers (1647) in Piazza Navona. His most important work in architecture, though, will come in 1656 for the colonnade in Saint Peters Square. It’s a colossal undertaking seeks to symbolise the Chruch embracing the faithful from whichever point they are standing.
Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Fountain of the Four Rivers
8. With the next Pope, Alessandro VII Chigi, much more humanist than the previous one, he succeeds in expressing his talent more and more and he is given the chance to plan three churches, almost contemporary in style: San Tommaso of Villanova at Gandolfo Castle (1658-61), Santa Maria Dell'Assunzione at Ariccia (1662-1664) and the one of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale.
9. The last period sees his works committed by the Pope Clemente IX. Among them, the Ecstasy of Beata Ludovica Albertoni (1674), beatified by the Pope in 1671, in the Church of San Francesco at Ripa.
Ecstasy of Beata Ludovica Albertoni
10. He dies on November 28th 1680.
Written by: Elisa della Barba