Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Italy's other sculptor

When people think of Italian Sculpture they immediately go to Michelangelo...and rightly so. He is, in my opinion, Italy's artistic master. I would go so far as to argue that he is the world's artistic master. When it comes to sculpture he has few rivals. His nearest rival is Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini's work is incredible. What he is able to do with a hammer and chissle sets a new standard for accomplishment with stone.

Bernini has so many masterpieces in Rome that you would be able to spend two full days touring to enjoy them all. If you don't have two days, but want to get an eyefull of his work you must visit the Borghese. My favorite is his David. Unlike Michelangelo's which is David before the fight; Bernini's is during the fight. He is aggressively twisted to hurl the rock to fall Goliath.

Cardinal Scipione Borghese held up a mirror while Bernini sculpted. Bernini used his face as he struggled with the stone to deliver that same struggle to his David's face. I would equate Bernini's sculpture with a photograph in that the life and emotion potrayed in his stone is uncanny. His father was a sculpture, but never achieved the same level as his son.

The top works of Bernini are: David, Fountain of Four Rivers, Apollo & Daphne, and the Ecstasy of St. Theresa.

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