Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Ecstasy of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

(St. Peter's Square, Vatican)

Sometimes, I find it difficult to decide what to post about. Not because I can't think of anything to blog about but that it is difficult to narrow down the selection. When I went to Italy, I had several themes that I followed in my travels. The art theme with subcategories of Michelangelo and Bernini, the archaeological theme, the early Christian theme and the anal, organized part of me wants to chronologically post in minute, historical detail all of the fascinating pertinent facts. But, then my tush starts to hurt, I have to go to sleep/take a nap or something actually interesting comes on TV, the sun comes out or I need a cup of tea and I just blurt something out. And yet I have still spent an hour or more writing a post. Plus I wonder, does everyone really want to know about how fascinating the Romans are or maybe it is just me that finds them so darn fascinating?

I have posted some of my photos on Flickr on the menu sidebar and I have lots, lots more photos of Italy I haven't gotten around to posting. Part of me wants to do all the background research to explain them to everyone, but then that darn time gets in the way. Then, I wonder, who is looking at them and why are then 8 views of the the shoes of Mars and none of the new Italian sandals? Then, I am trying to decide if I should post the photos that I use in the blog on Flickr or the ones I don't use? What is your opinion? Is their an unwritten blog protocol that I haven't figured out yet? There is lot's I haven't figured out yet like how to get the thumbnails on the sidebar. But as it seems that my beloved Nikon D70 has decided not to focus lately, I won't be posting any new photos of my garden or flowers for awhile. But, as I am the appointed photographer of my sister's upcoming wedding, err, I gotta get it fixed soon!

So here is the post topic. The Baroque artist, GianLorenzo Bernini. He was a child prodigy. Born in Naples (another very handsome southern Italian man) his father was a Mannerist (post Renaissance) artist. He was the architect of the welcoming "arms" of St. Peter's Square. And, the designer of Holy Spirit Dove stained glass below...

(The Holy Spirit, St. Peter's Basilica)
And, this silly little elephant carrying a obelisk at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

And, this lady in rapture,

(Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, San Francesco a Ripa, Rome)

These are also two of his commisions on the bridge to Castel Sant'Angelo. They have been relocated to Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, Rome

Angel with a Crown of Thorns

Angel with the Superscription

(Medusa, Capitoline Museum, Rome)

And, let's not forget Medusa cursed by Minerva and slain by Perseus. But, I think the most beautiful Bernini's are the Rape of Persephone, Apollo and Daphne and his "self-portrait" as David in the Villa Borghese where unfortunately, photography is not allowed. As I left the Villa Borghese, I wandered around for awhile in my own sensory ecstasy while my head tried to come down back to earthy matters. For after what I had seen there along with Michelangelo's David and Pietà, surely I had seen the most beautiful art in existence.

P.S. This post has been edited by the author to correct a mistake!


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I am a big Bernini fan. I would love to learn more about him.

homebody at heart said...

He is certainly a person of interest to me, too! Most of what I have read about him concern his art and commisions but not his personal life. He did marry later in life and I think there is a sculpture in the Villa Borghese that he intended to remain in his family forever... It is quite huge and I can't imagine trying to move it should they need to relocate their residence. So I think the family sold it to the Borghese. There is not much that hs been written about him personally, although I think it is pretty obvious from his art that he might have known a bit about the ladies... Don't ya think? I love to compare the treatment of women by artists. Michelangelo, (whoa boy - the Medici tombs in Florence, for example), on the one side and the somewhat womanizing Raphael and Bernini on the other. Of course, all the ecstasy is of a religious fervor but still!