Self-Portrait as a Mature Man 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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Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the master of capturing emotions. In his Self Potrait as a Mature Man, which he created in 1635 when he was 37 years old, he painted himself with a fiery expression.

The portrait was part of a double painting that Mr Gian Lorenzo Bernini painted alongside Costanza Bonarelli's portrait. The portrait was documented as already divided when Bernini died. The rapid brushstrokes evident in the painting portray Bernini's desire to capture his expression at the time. The quick flash in his eyes compliments his fiery expression.

A man's facial expression highly reveals his individuality and that is what Bernini wanted to portray in his Self Portrait as a Mature Man. His high spirited eyes that are full of life give a piercing gaze. Most scholars say that the portrait shows that is evident that when giving orders, the artist intimated anyone into executing his orders by only his piercing gaze.

It is reported that when Bernini was working on his Self Portrait as a Mature Man, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who was Bernini’s friend and later became Pope Urban VIII, frequented the artists working studio to hold a mirror for him to capture himself in that fiery look. The artist’s biographer Baldinucci, stated that the terrifying gaze in the portrait showed Bernini’s character.

Bernini can also be described as a naturalist. His painting always perfected the reality. His Self Portrait as a Mature Man has clearly captured his character in the piercing gaze and his strict look. He was attentive to the details that bring out the true meaning in his painting. In this portrait, Bernini has paid enough attention to his gaze and his facial expression to define his own character to his viewers. He has brought his portrait to life through the noticeable gaze he gives to his viewers.

In all his paintings, Bernini communicates his intent in the most dramatic way possible. In this portrait, the artist wishes to convey his character through the strict look on his face. His facial expression i n the portrait also defines his character in all angles. To communicate his own character as a mature man, Bernini chose to paint himself in a strict look and a piercing gaze, which can be terrifying to anyone who looks at the portrait.

Bernini himself wanted to show his own character to the world and that is why he chose to create the Self Portrait as a Mature Man. He chose to paint himself to reveal his character as a mature man. He also has his self portrait as a young man. He use oil and canvas to create this painting. Cardinal Maffeo Barberini helped to hold the mirror for Bernini to capture the right facial expression which he successfully did in the Self Potrait as a Mature Man.