b. 1598 - d.1680
videos + essays
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cathedra Petri (Chair of St. Peter)
Did Peter sit here? Dizzying but unified, light and gold glorify this sacred place.
How to recognize Baroque art
Painted and sculpted bodies move into our space. Everything feels like it’s in motion, including the light.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina (or The Rape of Proserpina)
Pluto hoists up Proserpina. She resists, pushing him away. Their desires clash, creating a dynamic composition.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Medusa
She’s a monster, but in this poignant marble bust, Medusa becomes a victim of her own plight.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Square
Central to the Counter Reformation, Bernini’s double colonnades activate St. Peter’s and reach out into the city.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne
Skin transforms into bark, limbs sprout branches, and stone softens into flesh. What a perfect subject for Bernini.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
The greatest minds of the High Renaissance worked on this vast church. Construction took more than a century.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, Rome
The giant doorway to this church disguises how small it is. Inside, a lantern leads the eye up and up. Pure theatre!
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Gasp! Stone floats and light pours down from—where, exactly? Bernini creates a theatre for spiritual experience.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Baldacchino, Saint Peter’s
Over 60 feet tall, this daunting bronze canopy is part architecture, part sculpture—and part beehive.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, David
Duck! This slingshot may never fire, but Bernini fools us. We can feel David gathering strength to battle Goliath.