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Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo

 Saint Pietro

Piazza Saint Pietro, Roma, Italy

Saint Pietro

Piazza Saint Pietro, Roma, Italy

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, (1598–1680), Italian sculptor and architect, b. Naples. He was the dominant figure of the Italian baroque. After receiving early training from his father, Pietro (1562–1629), an accomplished Florentine sculptor, Bernini worked mainly in Rome. Many of his early statues, such as the David (before 1623–24), Rape of Proserpine (1622), andApollo and Daphne (1625), were done for Scipione Cardinal Borghese, one of the most important patrons of the period. These are all in the Borghese Gallery, Rome. Popes Urban VIII, Innocent X, and Alexander VII gave him unparalleled opportunities to design churches, chapels, fountains, monuments, tombs, and statues.

In 1629, Bernini was appointed architect of St. Peter's. He designed the ornate baldachin under the dome, the Cathedra Petri (the monument enshrining St. Peter's chair), and the exuberant marble decorations of the chapels and nave. During the 1640s he designed the Cornaro Chapel as well as that of Santa Maria della Vittoria. From 1656 onward he worked on the great elliptical piazza and the vast, embracing arms of the colonnades in front of the church.

During Innocent's papacy Bernini frequently worked for private patrons. He was commissioned to do the fountains in the Piazza Navona (1648–51). For St. Peter's Church, he created the Scala Regia and the heroic equestrian statue of Constantine (1654–70). He was assisted by a host of sculptors in these vast enterprises. Between 1658 and 1670 Bernini designed three churches: San Tomaso di Villanova at Castelgandolfo, Santa Maria dell'Assunzione at Ariccia, and Sant' Andrea al Quirinale in Rome. He established a new mode, dynamically linking sculpture and architecture. In 1665, Louis XIV invited him to Paris to finish designing the Louvre, but Bernini's plans failed to win approval. Returning to Italy, he continued to work on St. Peter's.

Much of Bernini's sculpture combines white and colored marbles with bronze and stucco, most effectively used in Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, where he represented the Ecstasy of St. Teresa. Often inspired by classical forms, Bernini transformed the marble block into a vital, almost breathing figure. A self-portrait drawn c.1665 (Royal Coll., Windsor) is an example of his superb draftsmanship. Bernini was known as a wit; he wrote comedies and made numerous caricatures. He produced several plays, all of which contained effective illusions. All of his important work is in Rome, with the exception of the Neptune and Triton (Victoria and Albert Mus.) and the bust of Louis XIV (Versailles).

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square), is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome.

The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St. Peter's for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke a sense of awe.

There were many constraints from existing structures (illustration, right). The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilica's façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a centre, and a granite fountain by Maderno stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ovato tondo embraced by his colonnades and eventually matched it on the other side, in 1675, just five years before his death. The trapezoidal shape of the piazza, which creates a heightened perspective for a visitor leaving the basilica and has been praised as a masterstroke of Baroque theater (illustration, below right), is largely a product of site constraints.

The colossal Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area which precedes it. The ovato tondo's long axis, parallel to the basilica's façade, creates a pause in the sequence of forward movements that is characteristic of a Baroque monumental approach. The colonnades define the piazza. The elliptical center of the piazza, which contrasts with the trapezoidal entrance, encloses the visitor with "the maternal arms of Mother Church" in Bernini's expression. On the south side, the colonnades define and formalize the space, with the Barberini Gardens still rising to a skyline of umbrella pines. On the north side, the colonnade masks an assortment of Vatican structures; the upper stories of the Vatican Palace rise above.

Major Architectural Work:

Source

http://www.infoplease.com/biography/architects.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gian_Lorenzo_Bernini

 

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Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and I reside in Stevensville, Michigan my wife and two children. I have been interested in Architecture since my boyhood days; however, because of my families business—a lumberyard—I never really got a chance to pursue my dream until later in my career. Read more...

 

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