Portrait of a Young Gentleman Gian Lorenzo Bernini Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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"The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions". Portraits tend to portray many traits in one representation: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an Italian artist who was popular as a sculptor and architect, but also considered other mediums.

He was focused on his art and long, ambitious career. Portrait of a Young gentleman is a classic piece of self-portrait art.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini used Baroque as the style for the painting. He painted the young gentleman portrait when he was still in Rome where it was a centre for innovation along with Venice and Florence. These were the places regarded as being the centre of the early Renaissance taking the European art ultimately in a new direction. He applied to oil paint to create the superb piece of the portrait. The style of Gian Lorenzo Bernini is mostly compared to styles used by Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio.

This portrait was simple for it used only oil paints and canvas. Bernini had some time to prepare for this since he had his Chambers in the pope’s courtyard. He had experience in sculpturing and architecture. Thus gained drawing and design skills to paint this portrait properly. He was enthusiastic and determined to try new things when he was at his strongest and still young to the thirties. This is why you notice in his self-portraits he seems young.

This painting of portrait representation was painted during the period 1655-1665. It was a painting Pietro da Cortona. Bernini decided to draw the portrait of his friend who was a sole painter. He had worked during the time of Palazzo Barberini who was under Carlo Maderno.

The portrait of a young gentleman measuring 400 × 516 is not well known who owns it. However, it was last seen in a portrait gallery in The J. Paul Getty Museum, North America. Bernini being a sculpture genius, he was inspired by the ability of art to display intense physiological states. Masters of his period and previous Renaissance world would persistently research on other people’s works to develop their ideas and craft.

Bernini's style has been frequently compared to styles used by Caravaggio and Carracci. Caravaggism was a period well known, where Caravaggio's work, would influence artists all over Europe. He was a master well known for the use of light and dramatic scenes gotten from the Bible. Bernini experienced influence from these masters’ work in other regions. These regions were part of a section known as the Papal States knew today as Italy.

Though Gian Lorenzo Bernini had earned his name as a master sculptor, his special love for a portrait is seen in other pieces he did. He was able to understand most skills and techniques as a young boy thus had vast knowledge and experience in both sculpture, architecture and portrait painting. Caravaggism had major impact on art during Bernini’s time making him have an interest in painting.