Italian Baroque and Rococo Architecture

By John Varriano | Go to book overview

4
Gianlorenzo Bernini

By any account, Gianlorenzo Bernini was the most successful Italian artist of the seventeenth century. His fame has always been based primarily on the brilliance of his sculpture, but he was extraordinarily gifted as a painter and architect as well. Like Michelangelo before him, Bernini seemed the very personification of his age. While Michelangelo was a restless introvert plagued by self-doubt and anxiety over the perplexing religious and political controversies of the sixteenth century, Bernini was a gracious courtier who unhesitatingly accepted the more worldly and affirmative attitudes of the seventeenth century. Neither one embraced a monolithic concept of style. For Bernini this was largely the result of his different attitudes toward the various media. While his sculpture was unrivalled for its dramatic Baroque character, his architecture steadfastly adheres to the traditional values of ancient and Renaissance Classicism. Remarkable as it may seem, Bernini, the dominant and most progressive sculptor of his generation, was simultaneously its most conservative major architect. 1 The competition he faced in architecture was also stronger; in sculpture, he had few serious rivals to challenge his supremacy.

The son of a sculptor, Bernini was born in Naples in 1598 and moved with his family to Rome around 1606. He received his sculptural training in his father Pietro's shop, but his knowledge of architecture came from working alongside Borromini in the mid-1620s, while both assisted Carlo Maderno at the Palazzo Barberini and St. Peter's. Temperamentally, Bernini was no less passionate than Borromini, but his charm and versatile talent made him the favorite of eight successive

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Italian Baroque and Rococo Architecture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Precursors of the Roman Baroque: Vignola to Carlo Maderno 19
  • 3 - Francesco Borromini 45
  • 4 - Gianlorenzo Bernini 75
  • 5 - Pietro da Cortona 107
  • 6 - Other Aspects of the Roman Baroque 125
  • 7 - Rococoand Academic Classicism in Eighteenth-Century Rome 159
  • 8 - Northern Italy in the Seventeenth Century 183
  • 9 - Guarino Guarini 209
  • 10 - Northern Italy in the Eighteenth Century 229
  • 11 - Southern Italy 261
  • Glossary 309
  • Illustration Credits 313
  • Index 319
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