Who was Gian Lorenzo Bernini?

Gian Lorenzo Bernini may not be as well-known as Michelangelo or DaVinci, but he was an important Roman artist in his time. He was born and died in the seventeenth century and was known as the best sculpture in Italy during his career. He was a star sculptor as well as being the architecture for many noteworthy buildings in Italy, his most renowned work at St. Peter’s.

Early Life

Bernini was born the 7th of December 1598, in Naples, Italy. His father, Pietro Bernini, was a sculptor who willed Bernini to study as much art as possible, striving for him to become a child prodigy. At 8 years old, his father managed to get an audience with the Pope at the time, Paul V. Bernini painted a portrait of Saint Paul, which deemed him the next ‘Michelangelo’ by the Pope and soon began his formal artistic education. He soon became the leading sculptor of his time, excelling in all types of sculptural material.

Career

His style had an advanced interpretation of subjects, forms, as well as the combination of media. Majority of his work was influenced the antique Greek and Roman marbles showed in the Vatican City. Majority of his sculptures were of just one figure or a small number of figures. Bernini’s most famous sculptures include fountains like the Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna, or the masterpiece of Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius. He designed numerous churches that scattered Rome, including the Church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale. His most well-known works were done in St. Peter’s. His first piece was the Baldachhino, a towering wooden pavilion above the High Altar. St. Peter’s Chair, the Chapel of the Sacrament, and the Piazza all followed, known to be marvelled at throughout history.

Personal Life

Bernini was stated that he had no need for children or a wife, claiming that his sculptures were all he needed, as they were children to him. This all changed once Bernini met Constanza, the artist Matteo Bonarelli’s wife. A love affair began, lasting for 4 years until Bernini discovered Constanza was also seeing his little brother Luigi. Bernini became enraged, attempting to murder his brother with an iron crowbar as well as a sword. Ordering his assistant to slice Constanza’s face open with a razor blade. In the end, the assistant, Constanza, and Luigi were all sentenced to imprisoned or exiled, with Bernini being pardoned by the pope. Bernini went on to marry the legendary beauty, Caterina Tezio and fathered eleven children.

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