Bernini is primarily known as a sculptor, but he was also an accomplished painter. He painted mostly religious and mythological scenes in the Baroque style. Some of his most famous paintings include The Ecstasy of St. Teresa (1647–52), which is housed in the Cornaro Chapel in Santa Maria Della Vittoria in Rome, Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (1671-2), which is located in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa, and The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (1614–17), which is located in the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. The paintings of Bernini are praised for their intense emotion and dynamic composition. This blog will feature some of the timeless paintings and artworks by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
A Brief about Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was a renowned Italian artist and sculptor from the Baroque period of art history. He is best known for his sculptures of angels, religious figures, and public monuments, which often featured dramatic, theatrical elements. Bernini was a master of combining traditional Italian Renaissance techniques with a more modern style of sculpture and architecture, which earned him the nickname “Renaissance Man.” Most of his works were commissioned by the pope or other members of the Roman Catholic Church, and can still be seen in churches and public squares throughout Italy. His most famous pieces include the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome and the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the Cornaro Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Vittoria. Bernini was also a gifted painter and architect, and his influence continues to be felt in the world of art to this day. Bernini is also famous for his art and paintings.
Top 10 Bernini Paintings and Artworks
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was one of the most influential sculptors and architects of the Italian Baroque era. He was renowned for his extraordinary creativity and skill in creating beautiful and intricate sculptures. His works are on display in some of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries, and his most famous paintings are among the most iconic works of art from the Baroque period. Here is a list of the 10 most famous paintings and artworks by Bernini that have stood the test of time and continue to be admired by art lovers around the world.
1. Ecstasy of St. Teresa (1647-52)
The Ecstasy of St. Teresa is a marble sculpture by Bernini. It was commissioned in 1647 by Cardinal Federico Cornaro and completed in 1652. It is housed in the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria Della Vittoria, Rome.
The sculpture depicted the moment from Teresa of Avila’s (1515–1582) autobiography when she experienced a vision of an angel piercing her heart with a flaming arrow. It is considered one of the greatest examples of Baroque sculpture, with its powerful and dramatic portrayal of intense emotion.
The sculpture depicts Teresa in a swoon, levitating above a cloud, with her eyes rolled back in her head. She is surrounded by an angel, who is holding a spear of fire and a book. The angel’s wings are spread out as if to lift Teresa up and away from the earthly realm. The sculpture is highly realistic, with its realistic facial expressions, gestures, and drapery.
The sculpture is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the Baroque period. Also, its emotional intensity and theatricality have been praised by art historians, who have praised Bernini’s ability to capture the dramatic energy of the moment.
2. Ludovica Albertoni (1671-2)
Ludovica Albertoni (1671-2) is a polychrome marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is located in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, Rome. The sculpture is of a woman in a state of ecstasy, her eyes closed, her hands stretched to heaven, and her lips curved in a peaceful smile. The figure is clothed in a billowing robe and is lying on a low bed, the sides of which are decorated with two praying angels. The sculpture was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Barberini to commemorate his aunt, Ludovica Albertoni, who was beatified in 1671. The sculpture is considered to be one of Bernini’s finest works and is regarded as a masterpiece of Baroque sculpture.
3. The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (1614-17)
The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence is also a marble sculpture. It was completed in 1614–17 and is located in the church of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome. The sculpture depicts the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, a saint who was martyred during the Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor Valerian in the third century. It depicts St. Lawrence being burned on a grill, with an angel holding a crown of thorns above him. The sculpture has been greatly admired for its technical skill and emotional intensity. It is an example of Bernini’s ability to capture the emotion of the scene and convey the suffering of the saint. It is an important work of Italian Baroque sculpture and an example of religious art from the Counter-Reformation.
4. The Baldacchino (1624–1633)
The Baldacchino is an impressive Baroque-style sculpture. It is located in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican and is a canopy-like structure over the Papal Altar. The Baldacchino stands 29.15 meters (95.7 feet) tall and is made of gilded bronze. It was created to honor the tomb of Saint Peter and is the most iconic piece of art in the Vatican. The Baldacchino was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was designed to be a symbol of the power and authority of the Catholic Church. The sculpture is composed of four large twisted columns, four cherubs, and a dome-like canopy made of bronze. It is decorated with intricate details, including the reliefs of the four Evangelists, the eight Doctors of the Church, and the symbols of the Passion. The Baldacchino is an iconic piece of art that symbolizes the power and grandeur of the Catholic Church.
5. Apollo and Daphne (1622–1625)
The story of Apollo and Daphne is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Apollo, the god of music and poetry, falls in love with Daphne, a nymph, who is the daughter of the river god Peneus. Apollo has been rejected by the nymph and he chases after her. As she runs away, Apollo continues to pursue her. In an effort to escape Apollo, Daphne prays to her father and he answers her prayer by turning her into a laurel tree. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne illustrates this story. The sculpture shows Apollo reaching out to Daphne as she transforms into a laurel tree.
The sculpture conveys the emotion of the moment, as Apollo is shown with a desperate expression, while Daphne is in a state of fear. The combination of Bernini’s skillful use of marble, his mastery of the human form, and his depiction of the emotions of the story make the sculpture a powerful and timeless work of art.
6. David (1623–1624)
David is a marble sculpture created in 1623–1624. The sculpture is of the biblical figure David, a shepherd and later a king of Israel, standing with a sling over his shoulder and looking determinedly at Goliath. The sculpture is located in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, and stands at a height of 5.3 m (17.4 ft). David is one of the most renowned works of sculpture from the Baroque period.
The sculpture is a realistic representation of the figure and is considered an example of the mastery of Bernini’s knowledge of anatomy, movement, and expression. David’s body is slightly twisted, and his left leg is slightly bent. His face is determined, his eyes focused on Goliath. He stands with his sling ready, prepared to fight Goliath. The sculpture is a tribute to the strength and courage of David, who was able to defeat Goliath against all odds.
7. The Four Rivers Fountain (1648–1651)
The Four Rivers Fountain is a monumental fountain located in the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Bernini designed and completed it between 1648 and 1651. The fountain is located in the center of the piazza and is composed of four figures, each representing a major river from different parts of the world.
The four figures are the Nile from Africa, the Ganges from India, the Danube from Europe, and the Rio de la Plata from the Americas. The figures are situated atop a pedestal in a large basin of water and are surrounded by rocks and trees. The fountain is widely considered to be one of Bernini’s masterpieces and is one of the most iconic monuments in Rome.
8. Pluto and Proserpina (1621–1622)
“Pluto and Proserpina” was created in 1621–1622. It is located in the Borghese Gallery in Rome. The sculpture depicts the abduction of Proserpina, a story from Roman mythology, where Pluto, the god of the underworld, kidnapped the goddess of spring and fertility, Proserpina, to be his bride. It shows the moment when Proserpina is being forcibly taken to the underworld by Pluto.
The sculpture is composed of two figures, Pluto and Proserpina, with a rocky landscape beneath them. Pluto, the god of the underworld, is shown as a powerful figure and is the dominant figure in the sculpture. His muscular arms wrap around the struggling Proserpina and he holds her tightly in an embrace. Proserpina, on the other hand, is shown as a vulnerable figure, trying to escape the powerful grasp of Pluto. Her expression is one of fear and despair as she is being taken away to the underworld.
9. The Cathedra Petri (1657–1666)
The Cathedra Petri is a large marble and bronze chair designed .Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed it for Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. It is considered by many to be one of the most important works of Baroque sculpture. The chair is located in the apse of the basilica, directly behind the altar, and is said to be the actual chair used by Saint Peter when he presided over the Church in Rome. The chair is made of white and yellow marble and bronze, and features a relief of St. Peter’s crossed keys, the symbol of his papacy, on its back. The Cathedra Petri has become a symbol of the papacy and is often featured in both religious and secular art. It is a reminder of the power and authority of the Catholic Church, and is one of the most iconic works of Baroque art in the world.
10. The Fountain of the Moor (1653–1654)
The Fountain of the Moor is a marble fountain located in the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. It is a central feature in the square and is the focal point of the three large fountains in the piazza. The fountain is composed of a large basin with two tiers of figures and is adorned with a statue of a Moor, or African, standing atop the upper tier. The figure is depicted as struggling to hold an overflowing urn from which water pours into the lower basin. The fountain is also decorated with a number of sea creatures and other aquatic animals, including dolphins and seahorses. The Fountain of the Moor is one of the most iconic fountains in Rome and is a beloved symbol of the city.
The works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini are a testament to the brilliance of the Baroque period of art. His artwork and sculptures are truly masterpieces of the time and stand as a testament to the beauty of the Baroque period. The sculptures and paintings of Bernini are filled with emotion and movement, making them truly remarkable works of art. The top 10 Bernini paintings and artworks are representative of some of the best and most iconic works of art from this period. They represent Bernini’s genius and skill as an artist, and will continue to inspire and captivate viewers for many years to come.
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