Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Artist Biography with Portfolio of Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a very important Italian artist who was best known as a sculptor but who took on other mediums as well during his long and ambitious career
Bernini was to spend much of his career in Rome which was a central hub for European art at that time, and continues to be so today. The sculptor managed to create a reputation as the leading artist to have followed on from Michelangelo with in this medium, although there were several challengers to that title whom he had to overcome during his career. Gian Lorenzo Bernini held some key technical strengths to his style which helped his sculptures to attract high levels of academic approval and keep his name at the top of Italian sculpture throughout his long career. To even be compared to the mighty Michelangelo is testimony to the consistency and high technical ability which he possessed.
Sculpture was a key part of the Renaissance and Baroque periods although there was always a greater focus on painting, which continues to be the case today. Many sculptors were able to transfer their skills across into architecture and Bernini was one such example of this. This artist was able to take on alternative projects to standard sculpture once he built a reputation for flexibility and innovation, leading to his services being highly sought after in all manner of artistic disciplines.
Art has always been dominated over extended periods by certain countries before others catch up and surpass them with newer movements which replace the old. This is particularly the case in Europe, where boundaries are so fluid and ideas travel across the continent very easily. Italy was allowed to keep its dominance for a little longer after the likes of Michelangelo had passed by thanks to the likes of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who took over his mantle into sculpture, whilst others continued the country's impressive output of paintings and sketches. Further key contributions came from Botticelli, Caravaggio, Giorgione and much earlier, Masaccio. See also the 19th century sculpture of Rodin.
Bernini was located predominantly in Rome which was one of the main centre for innovation alongside Venice and Florence, the latter of which is generally regarded as having been the centre of the early Renaissance, which ultimately helped to take European art in a whole new direction from where it had been heading around the Middle Ages. There were several competitors to Bernini who we will describe in detail with in this website and their work can help to underline what made Bernini unique as well as helping you to understand the overall situation that Italian sculpture found itself in during the time of these creative people who had the tricky task of following on after the earlier success of the Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculptures provide emotion in a way which was rare at that time as this was an artist who was very much forward-thinking and had a style which was to push sculpture onwards from what had gone before. Art history is littered with individuals such as this who came along with a new take on something which helped to develop a medium of movement into a new direction.
Sculpture and architecture have always been behind painting in terms of mainstream appeal but it is perhaps correct to suggest that during the Renaissance and Baroque periods the exponents of sculpture were the most skilled that we have seen and this medium also had a larger share of mainstream interest than it has enjoyed since. Oil painting has gone from strength to strength in recent centuries and sculpture has become more of a niche interest. Michelangelo was an ambitious artist in a similar way to Gian Lorenzo Bernini as they both took on many different challenges in their careers and saw different mediums as an opportunity for diversity rather than sticking to whatever had already proved a success. This artist was even to dabble with stage sets as commissions for his services began to flood in. See alsoBernini prints.
Italy has been a great centre for culture generally for many centuries and this provided the right setting for artists such as this to really find a receptive audience for their work, rather than having to convince people of the qualities to be found in innovative art such as this. This remains the case today with Italians remaining proud of the achievements of some of their creative citizens since around the Middle Ages. David is shown above and this character was included in many sculpture careers at that time, with this Bernini version just one of many with the likes of Michelangelo also producing a notable take on this well known figure. There are certain elements to the personality and circumstances of David which made him an ideal topic for a powerful image constructed from sculptured marble.
The art works provided here are just a brief summary of the career of Bernini and there are many more to see from the links provided in this website. At Art.com you can see much more of his career and choose from a great selection of prints and posters which capture his original work beautifully for modern days fans of the sculptor to enjoy. Few others sculptors have as much interest as Bernini and this following also spreads far beyond just his native Italy. You may notice from the links to the Art.com sculpture gallery that we work with them as an affiliate and as such we do make a small amount of commission from any purchases that you may make there after visiting this website. This helps to pay for the up keep of this website as well as its development over time as there are many additional items which we would like to add in to make this website as comprehensive as possible.
Apollo and Daphne can be seen above. Bernini produced much of his sculpture work with Marble and this material was very common in Italy at that time, being used for all manner of different artistic needs. Bernini was able to create highly accurate portraits of people in Marble and this material gave a classical finish which was very much in vogue at that time. The artist had to experiment with all manner of other mediums where different commissions came in, but Marble was always his first choice when it came to Sculpture.
Another skill of this artist was to tailor his work in order to make it suit best the location for where it was to be stored upon completion. This was a relatively novel idea at that time that only a few had done, whilst today an exhibition curator will always spend much time placing their completed works into an order which makes best sense. The things to consider in that case would be the order in which visitors see the work as well as allowing the best pieces to attract the most light and from the correct angles. The combination of the artist's very strong religious beliefs as well as his position at the forefront of the Baroque movement meant he was first in line for so many top commissions, to the point where he even had to turn some down in order to meet his existing commitments. Bernini took his career and reputation very seriously and so was never willing to employ others to carry out his work in great numbers because of the risk of it negatively impacting his legacy.
Chair of St Peter is an astounding piece of suculpture which features a wealth of detail right across this symbolic chair. It is a great example of the ingenious work of Bernini and you can see that in the photo included above. This particular photograph of the Chair of St Peter is also available as a print for fans of Bernini's sculptures. When considering the fine detail included here it is easy to see why some of his work took years to complete and would have gone through multiple iterations before Bernini was happy with his final piece. The emotions found in the sculptures here are strong and set across every character found with in his work. You may look to order a photograph of some of the art found in this website and more information on that can be found from all of the links provided with in this website. We work with Art.com in order to provide you with the very best reproductions possible, with prints, posters and stretched canvases all to be found on their website.
Italian sculpture from the Baroque period remains highly respected and marks one of the most significant periods for this art form, with oil painting having surpassed it over recent centuries in terms of popularity with the art mainstream fans. Italy has never managed to re-create the incredible success of it's artists during the Renaissance and Baroque periods and has since only had fleeting success with occasional artists such as the likes of Amedeo Modigliani. See also Romanticist artist like Eugene Delacroix, Diego Velazquez and Jacques Louis David.
A list of the most Famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini Paintings, Sculptures & Drawings
This website gives the best from the overall career of this artist, but there really is so much more to see. Below is a list of some of the most significant work from his career.
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Apollo and Daphne
Chair of St Peter
Hi, I'm Tom!
I'm the writer and founder of TheHistoryOfArt.org. I have studied different art movements for over 15 years, and am also an amateur artist myself! Read my bio here.