Masterpieces of Bernini in Rome
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born in Naples and went to Rome when he was very young and, following the teachings of his father Peter, sculpted statues that are in the patrician villa of his great protector and sponsor, the Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Among the statues are Enea, David, the Rape of Proserpine and Apollo chasing Daphne. Bernini also sculpts busts of Gregory XV, Urban VIII and Cardinal Bellarmine but, because of the architecture of ancient Rome and the knowledge of the works of Michelangelo, Bernini changed its interests and began to study especially architecture. From now on, architecture will be his main activity in Rome and he will introduce many innovations thanks to its prodigious creativity, but he will never forget the sculpture and a perfect synthesis between these two forms of art was found in St. Peter’s Baldachin.
Where did Bernini live in Rome? Bernini, when he had already become famous, bought a palace in Via della Mercede 11, now called precisely Palazzo Bernini. On the ground floor was the artist’s studio.
The residence of Bernini in Rome is located just a few steps from the Church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte where you can see the originals of the two Angels that Bernini completed for Ponte Sant’Angelo: the Angel with the Superscription “INRI” and the Angel with the Crown of Thorns.
After the visit to the church, a nice walk to Via dei Due Macelli and Via del Tritone and you get to Piazza Barberini, dominated by the Triton Fountain placed in its center since 1643 just a few meters from the entrance to the Palazzo Barberini, which houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. The Triton, a minor sea god, sits on an enormous shell, blowing into a shell to produce a sound and emitting a roaring jet of water, symbol of prosperity.
It’s now time to visit a church particularly loved by Bernini, the Church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale that he considered one of its masterpieces, probably the best church he designed and one of the most representative examples of Roman Baroque. Bernini’s son says that when his father was rather old he always wanted to come to this church in the late afternoon to observe the changes of light and shadows in the setting sun.
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