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Bernini's Souls. Art in Rome for the Spanish Court

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 11/6/2014 - 2/8/2015

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples, 1598 – Rome, 1680) was the greatest artist of the Roman Baroque, active as a sculptor, architect and painter and as a designer of festive events and ceremonies, fountains and decorations of different types.

The complex diplomatic and political relationships between Rome and Spain were reflected in the commissions Bernini received both from Spanish patrons in Rome (including key figures such as the Duke of el Infantado, Cardinal Pascual de Aragón and the Marquis of Carpio) and from the Spanish monarchy. These commissions particularly related to the fact that Philip IV wished to be represented in diplomatic, religious and political terms in Rome, funding projects in some of the city’s most important churches such as San Pietro and Santa Maria Maggiore just as he did at El Escorial and the Real Alcázar in Madrid.

The exhibition will revolve around three sections that illustrate Bernini's complex relationship with Spain and, at the same time, provide a virtual synthesis of his own development as a multi-faceted artist, based on a rich itinerary that stretches from some of his grand architectural and urban projects to his chapel scenes and sculptures, not to mention his fountains, paintings and drawings for other projects, both ephemeral and festive, decorative and luxurious.

Curator:
Delfín Rodríguez Ruiz, Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Access

Room C. Jerónimos Building

Organized by:
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte
Museo Nacional del Prado

Multimedia

Exhibition

Portraits of the soul

Portraits of the soul
Anima dannata
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Marble, 54 x 25 x 31 cm, 1619
Rome, Spanish Embassy at the Vatican City, Holy See

Bernini's depictions of the soul and its emotions appeared in the artist's series of busts and portraits, including those of historical and religious figures, mythological beings and self-portraits. At the age of just twenty-one he created what was possibly his first ever commission for a Spanish prelate in Rome, Pedro de Foix Montoya, whose memorable portrait he also produced shortly afterwards.

Amongst the artist's sculptures of the soul, the Anima beata ("Blessed Soul") lights up with its contemplation of the beauty of glory, whilst the Anima dannata ("Damned Soul"), expresses all the terror of hell, as if this emotion had been experienced by the artist himself. A hidden self-portrait of Bernini himself has been identified in this work. This is a procedure that he would subsequently use again, above all in his sculpture of David, for whose face, both sculpted and painted, Bernini was famously said to have asked his friend, Maffeo Barberini, the future Pope Urban VIII, to hold a mirror up to the artist's angry face so that he could create a dramatic depiction of the biblical character.

Bernini's portraits always seem to be almost alive, as witnessed in his Portrait of Scipione Borghese (1577-1633), which has traditionally been praised for the realism of the face, one that almost seems to talk to you when you look at it.

Rome, the Arena of Nations: from Pope Urban VIII to Pope Alexander VII in the times of Philip IV

Rome, the Arena of Nations: from Pope Urban VIII to Pope Alexander VII in the times of Philip IV
Philip IV
Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 69 x 56 cm, ca. 1654
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

During the pontifical reigns of Innocent X and Alexander VII, which coincided with a period of extraordinary creativity, Bernini would produce some of his most important works and projects, including religious works on a Spanish theme, pieces as significant as the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa in the Cornaro Chapel at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. In relation to Spain, this period witnessed an especially high number of commissions for new works, as well as decorative items for canonisation ceremonies, ephemeral architectural creations and fireworks for festivities and diplomatic gifts for Philip IV, in line with the pro-Spanish stance of these Popes.

Durante esos pontificados fue también cuando Felipe IV y sus embajadores en Roma intensificaron la presencia de la Monarquía en Roma mediante una calculada estrategia de propaganda dinástica, política y religiosa, que habrá de culminar con el proyecto de Bernini para un monumento a Felipe IV en Santa Maria Maggiore.

It was also during these papacies that Philip IV and his ambassadors in Rome intensified the Spanish Monarchy's presence in the capital by means of a calculated strategy of dynastic, political and religious propaganda, a campaign that would culminate with Bernini's project for a monument to Philip IV at Santa Maria Maggiore.

Art, Religion and Diplomacy: late Bernini

Art, Religion and Diplomacy: late Bernini
Equestrian sculpture of Charles II
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gilt bronze, 41 x 49 x 19 cm, 1680
Brentwood, Tennessee, private collection

Bernini's later years were especially important in terms of both his own career as an artist and his links with Spain and Spain's ambassadors in Rome. Thus, during the papacies that ran from Clement IX (Rospigliosi) to Innocent XI (Odescalchi), as of 1665, when the artist had just returned from his unsuccessful trip to Paris, Bernini suffered a series of setbacks. On the one hand, he ceased to be the indisputable leader of the transformations that were taking place in Baroque Rome, which accentuated both his religious outlook and his concerns about his own critical fame and fortune.

On the other, this was a period of unfinished and cancelled projects for Clement IX, of works that suffered criticisms that verged on satire and libel, as occurred with his Constantine at the Vatican's Scala Regia and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his Equestrian Sculpture for Louis XIV, whose formal execution and iconography were misunderstood in Paris. However, this was also a period in which the artist seemed to establish a different relationship with the Spanish Monarchy and, in particular, with Charles II, thanks to Bernini's friendly ties with Gaspar de Haro y Guzmán, Seventh Marquis of Carpio, the Spanish Ambassador in Rome between 1676 and 1682. A well-known collector throughout the whole of Europe, amongst other works Haro commissioned an almost life-sized replica of the Fountain of the Four Rivers located in the Piazza Navona.

Artworks

1

Anima beata

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Marble, 57 x 30 x 30 cm

ca. 1619

Rome, Spanish Embassy at the Vatican City, Holy See

2

Anima dannata

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Marble, 54 x 25 x 31 cm

1619

Rome, Spanish Embassy at the Vatican City, Holy See

4

Self-Portrait as David with the Head of Goliath

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Oil on canvas, 73 x 65 cm

ca. 1623–25

Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini

5

Elogio de el cavallero Juan Lorenzo Bernini

Anonymous

Manuscript, 4 fols.

ca. 1682 – 1685

Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura, Biblioteca Pública de Tarragona

6

Éloge du cavalier Bernin, in Préface pour servir à l’histoire de la vie et des ouvrages du cavalier Bernin

Pierre Cureau de la Chambre

Paris, n.p., 1685?

Rome, Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte

7

Vita del cavaliere Gio. Lorenzo Bernino, scultore, architetto e pittore

Filippo Baldinucci

Florence, Vincenzi Vangelisti, 1682

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

8

Scipione Borghese

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Carrara marble, 110 x 90 x 60 cm (including base)

1632

Rome, Galleria Borghese

9

The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Terracotta, 45 x 35 x 22 cm

ca. 1647

St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

10

Window of the Cornaro chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen over red chalk sketch, 178 x 243 mm

ca. 1647 – 1651

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

11

Design for the decoration of the entrance arch to the Cornaro chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen, black pencil and red chalk, 219 x 167 mm

ca. 1647 – 1651

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

12

Design for the decoration of the nave and transept of St Peter’s in the Vatican for the canonisation of Saint Thomas of Villanueva

Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Giovanni Paolo Schor

Pencil, ink and sepia wash, 408 x 609 mm

1658

Windsor, Lent by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

13

Design for the decoration of the nave of St Peter’s in the Vatican for the canonisation of Saint Thomas of Villanueva

Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Giovanni Paolo Schor

Pencil, ink and sepia wash, 407 x 618 mm

1658

Windsor, Lent by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

14

Design for the bell tower of St Peter’s in the Vatican

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen, brush, brown ink and pale wash, 570 x 280 mm

1645

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

16

Truth unveiled by Time

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (attributed)

Pen and sepia wash, 257 x 206 mm

ca. 1646 – 1647

Madrid, Museo Nacional de Prado

17

Ground plan of the Vatican temple. Squares and porticoes, Il tempio vaticano e sua origine

Carlo Fontana

Rome, Giovanni Francesco Buagni, 1694

Madrid, Biblioteca del Museo Nacional del Prado

18

Architectura civil recta y obliqua considerada y dibuxada en el Templo de Ierusalen

Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz

Vigevano, Camillo Corrado, 1678, vol 3

Madrid, Biblioteca del Museo Nacional del Prado

19

Epítome architecturae de ordine salomonico integro

Fray Juan Andrés Ricci de Guevara

Manuscript with drawings in pen and black ink, 405 x 275 x 15 mm

1663

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

20

Decoration for the Pio chapel in Sant’Agostino

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Black pencil, pen and brown ink, 176 x 215 mm

ca. 1647

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

21

Bronze lion belonging to the model of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the Royal Palace of Madrid

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Gilt bronze, 12.5 x 22.5 cm

1651 – 1665

Rome, Dario Del Bufalo collection

22

Design for a decorative frame with the arms of the Chigi family and a tympanum

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen and brown ink, 219 x 167 mm

ca. 1658 – 1661

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

23

Design for the tabernacle of the church of Santa Maria dell’Assunzione in Ariccia

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen, brush, ink and brown wash. Black pencil sketch, 266 x 164 mm

ca. 1664 – 1665

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

24

Decorative plinth

Gian Lorenzo Bernini and studio

Red chalk sketch, pen and brown wash, 171 x 129 mm

ca. 1660

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España

25

Portrait of Cardinal Borja

Diego Velázquez

Black pencil, 188 x 116 mm

ca. 1645

Madrid, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

27

Ground plan and elevations of the Poli chapel in San Crisogono in Rome, in Album of drawings of architecture of Rome

Anonymous

42-sheet album with various drawings in pencil, pen, sepia ink and grey wash or black ink, some with red ink, 344 x 490 mm

ca. 1676

Madrid, collection of Juan Bordes

28

Delle statue

Giovanni Andrea Borboni

Rome, Gaicomo Fei, 1661

Madrid, Biblioteca del Museo Nacional del Prado

29

Design for the monument to Philip IV in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Pen, ink and washes, 420 x 270 mm

1664 – 1665

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

31

Study for the equestrian sculpture of Constantine inside the basilica of St Peter’s in the Vatican

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Black pencil and touches of white chalk, 310 x 267 mm

1654

Madrid, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

32

Bozzetto for the equestrian sculpture of Constantine

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Terracotta, 45 x 28 cm

1660 – 1661

St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

33

Fireworks to Celebrate the Birth of the Infanta Margarita de Austria

François Collignon (engr.)

Etching, 250 x 350 mm

1651

Rome, Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana, Sala Classici

34

Fireworks to celebrate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Ink and sepia wash, 289 x 215 mm

1668

Windsor, Lent by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

35

Side view of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (close to the studio of Gian Lorenzo Bernini)

Pen, brown ink and wash heightened with white, 490 x 371 mm

ca. 1673

Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery, William Findlay Watson Bequest, 1881

36

Back view of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (close to the studio of Gian Lorenzo Bernini)

Pen, brown ink and wash with touches of white chalk, 488 x 371 mm

ca. 1673

Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery, William Findlay Watson Bequest, 1881

38

Equestrian sculpture of Charles II

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Gilt bronze, 41 x 49 x 19 cm

1680

Brentwood, Tennessee, private collection

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