Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)
Preeminent Baroque sculptor Gain Lorenzo Bernini lived in 17th century Rome. Bernini s Baroque style was a powerful influence on the architecture of his time. In addition to his sculptures, Bernini s works include the colonnades of St. Peter s, the faade of Barberini s palace, and the design for three churches.
The son of Florentine sculptor, Bernini was considered a prodigy in his time. Mastering sculpting techniques of marble while still a child, many thought that the young Bernini would surpass his father s greatness. Antique Greek and Roman statues in the Vatican inspired early Bernini sculptures.
Bernini s many sculptural masterpieces include The Rape of Proserpina, which displays extreme attention to detail; even the woman s marble skin shows dimpling. Apollo and Daphne, widely admired since Bernini s day, expresses drama and also a conceit: As the character Daphne is being turned into a tree, the sculpture antithetically appears to come to life.
Bernini was also an accomplished architect, having been commissioned to create the piazza, colonnades and high alter of St. Peter s Basilica in Rome, it s centerpiece being the Dove of Peace. Being a fervent Romantic Catholic who attended daily mass, Bernini s devotion to Rome shaped his work, then and always. Thus, Bernini s sculptures were conscious attempts to be emotional stimuli, pointing towards piety.
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