Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

I am a day late but better late than never - Bernini was one of the most important sculptors of the Baroque and it's important to pay tribute to his genius. An earlier piece I did when Bernini's Medusa "visited" San Francisco:

December 07, 1598. Gian Lorenzo Bernini (also spelled Gianlorenzo or Giovanni Lorenzo) (Naples, 7 December 1598 - Rome, 28 November 1680) was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect. In addition he painted, wrote plays, and designed metalwork and stage sets. In this image: After a long restauration, the head of the Medusa by Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was displayed in Rome, on Wednesday 22 November 2006. The sculpture was exhibited in the Capitol museum in Rome until January. The work of restoration emphasized the lights and the shadows on the sculpture.

From Sarah McPhee's book on Bernini and Costanza, his lover, the woman who obsessed him and who he had cruely defaced.

"Bernini was born in Naples, after all: his family settled in Rome when he was five, at a time when the city's artistic world was dominated by tempestuous brawlers (the Bernini clan arrived two years before Caravaggio's fateful tennis match with Ranuccio Tomassoni). McPhee does a great job of bringing that lawlessness to life. Bernini emerges as a hothead swaggerer: a man of supreme arrogance who knows that he can do whatever he likes because no one will dare to touch him. And that's backed up by the aftermath of his attack on Costanza. His servant was exiled; his brother was sent off to safety in Bologna; Costanza herself was immured in the Domus Pia; but Bernini...? Nothing. All that happened was that the Pope wrote to Bernini assuring him of his regard for his dazzling talent and noting that his divine abilities set him above the penalties to be exacted from ordinary men. It's no wonder his own mother referred to him as the padrone del mondo. And yet, again, why should I be surprised? Bernini carved some of the most breathtakingly erotically-charged sculptures in the history of art. It feels unimaginative to refer to the Pluto and Persephone in the Galleria Borghese yet again, but it is such a perfect illustration of the point: look again at the way Persephone's thigh softens into dimples under the grasping pressure of the god's fingers. How can we doubt that Bernini was a man of intense, tumultuous feeling when even his marble sculptures have the sensual pliancy of flesh? "

The Rape of Persephone

St Theresa


1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

This is some very powerful work. I knew "of" him, but not the detail you prominently bring out in this piece. I love the anatomical detail he gets in the marble. Very lifelike!