Gian Lorenzo Bernini: 9 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Angel with the Superscription and Angel with the Crown of Thorns Angel with the Superscription and Angel with the Crown of Thorns by Gian Lorenzo BerniniKimbell Art Museum

'The leading sculptor of Baroque Italy, Gianlorenzo Bernini, reshaped the ancient city of Rome in a series of brilliant architectural and sculptural projects that affirmed its identity as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1667, Pope Clement IX appointed him to supervise the renovation of the Ponte Sant'Angelo, the ancient bridge linking the city of Rome to the Vatican.'

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'He may have represented the serpent as a dragon because his patron, Barberini, wished to convey a satirical message about another important Roman patron, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, whose family coat of arms included a dragon.'

Bust of Camilla Barbadori (dead 1609). Mother of Pope Urban VIII Barberini (1619) by Giovanni Lorenzo BerniniSMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

'At the tender age of 20, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, one of the greatest sculptors of the Baroque, created this bust of the mother of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644), Camilla Barbadori. A few years later, after the cardinal was appointed Pope and took the name Urban VIII, he became Bernini's most important patron.'

Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children (ca. 1616–17) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini|Pietro BerniniThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

'The influence of his father, the Florentine-born Pietro, can be seen here in the buoyant forms and cottony texture of the Bacchanal. The liveliness and strongly accented diagonals, however, are the distinctive contribution of the young Gian Lorenzo.'

Monsignor Francesco Barberini (c. 1623) by Gian Lorenzo BerniniNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC

'With the needs of his patron in mind, Bernini created a noble and dignified paternal presence in the ancient Roman tradition of ancestral portraiture. He chose a bust form that includes most of the chest, and curved the truncation to echo the arch of the spreading shoulders, producing an effect both of harmony and imposing physical bulk.'

Bust of the Medusa (1644/1648) by Gian Lorenzo BerniniMusei Capitolini

'Bernini's is a veritable portrait of the most beautiful and deadly of the Gorgons (this is, in fact, aa Bust, and not a truncated Head) at the very moment of her metamorphosis.'

A Marine God with a Dolphin (1652–1653) by Gian Lorenzo BerniniThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'Using some blunt tool, perhaps even a thumb or finger, he softly smudged the lines to create the shadows that form the contorted pose of the god's muscular torso. Between 1652 and 1653, Bernini sent studies for fountains to Duke Francesco I d'Este for his palace.'

Modello for the Fountain of the Moor (1653) by Gian Lorenzo BerniniKimbell Art Museum

'Bernini made this dramatic image of a triton (a minor sea-deity of Greek mythology) grappling with a fish atop a gigantic shell as a presentation model for Pope Innocent X Pamphili, who in 1651 commissioned the artist to design a new centerpiece for the fountain at the south end of the Piazza Navona in Rome. A few years earlier, Bernini had designed the spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers as the focal point of the refurbished piazza.'

Bust of Louis XIV, king of France and Navarre, detail (1665) by Gian-Lorenzo Bernini, dit le BerninPalace of Versailles

'It only took five months for sculptor Bernini to create the bust of Louis XIV during his stay in Paris in 1665.'

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