Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Baroque Italy and France

Who was Bernini?

The art of Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) defines baroque style. Bernini was primarily a sculptor, but he also worked as an architect, painter, and poet. His sculpture is exceptionally naturalistic; it lives, breathes, and occasionally screams with life. Bernini was a charismatic player in the upper echelons of Rome’s high society who was famous by age twenty. He was patronized by popes and aristocrats and was known for his cool confidence. Some of his highest profile commissions include the design for the Baldacchino, a bronze canopy in St. Peter’s Basilica, and The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, a marble sculpture in Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. Bernini experienced a hiccup in his success when his part of the redesign for the fagade of St. Peter’s cathedral proved a failure, but his design for the piazza is hailed as an architectural masterpiece.

Gianlorenzo Bernini designed St. Peter’s Square in the mid-seventeenth century.


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