Great show dedicated to Gian Lorenzo Bernini on the occasion of twenty years of reopening of the Borghese Gallery after the important renovations of two decades ago.
The exhibition, curated by Andrea Bacchi and Anna Coliva, sees the collaboration of prominent scholars and specialists - Maria Giulia Barberini, Anne-Lise Desmas, Luigi Ficacci, Sarah Mc Phee, Stefano Pierguidi - who have long been concerned with the great artist or specific aspects of his production or even his figure within the great Baroque season.
The main theme of the exhibition is the Borghese Gallery as a privileged sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture: Cardinal Scipione, his first client, wanted him to create autonomous marble groups to give a "figure of imagination" to the space of each room; the next commissioner, Pope Urban VIII Barberini, wanted him a sculptor integrated into a global building of space, which was architecture but at the same time included light, color, figuration, dimensional and proportional illusions within himself.
The exhibition focuses on the Bernini sculptor of statues that are directly measured, and primarily with marble, starting from works performed in collaboration with Father Pietro until the last marbles touched by his chisel. However, a series of thematic analyzes devoted to specific aspects of its production (painting, putti, restorations, making a work from design, terracotta, marble) will allow you to sketch a portrait of Bernini 'to everything round ": virtuous inexorable of the chisel but also of the brush.
The exhibition is divided into eight sections - The apprenticeship with Pietro; The youth and the birth of a gender: the putti; Bourgeois groups; The restoration of the ancient; And busts; Painting; Bernini and Luigi XIV; The sculpture craft: the sketches - alongside the extraordinary sculpture of Santa Bibiana, restored at the exhibition and which is a case in itself.
The apprenticeship with Pietro is the object of Gian Lorenzo's youth activity (up to 1617), with a focus on works made in close dialogue or in direct collaboration with Father Pietro, in which immediately emerges the extraordinary mastery of the chisel, inherited from him.
The youth and the birth of a genus: the putti is devoted to a genre repeatedly faced by the young Bernini but then practically denied by the master, who did not want to be remembered for those juveniles. The opportunity to review the Capra Amaltea with other Goths of Gian Lorenzo (or Bernini's father and son still in co-operation) is the occasion to reflect on the attribution of the small bourgeoisie group, a piece that the recent criticism has highlighted style discrepancies compared to the language of the two Bernini.
The Bourgeois groups are centered on Bernini's monumental sculptures preserved inside the museum. The first bourgeoisie group, the Aeneas and Anchise, is approached in dialogue with the painting, depicting the same subject, by Federico Barocci (usually depicted in a picture gallery on the first floor): this painting-sculpture dialogue, which constituted one of the Gian Lorenzo's first critical goals, in a philological recovery of the first set-up of the Borghese Gallery attested by Jacopo Manilli's guide (1650). The section follows the permanent exhibition path of the Gallery, up to the last bourgeois group, the Apollo and Dafne.
On the example of his father, Gian Lorenzo also devoted himself, albeit only as a young man, and in rare cases, to the restoration of the ancient and to the integration of ancient marbles. The joint loan of his two most famous restorations (Ermafrodito and Ares Ludovisi), beside one of the great interventions in this field of Peter (Marco Curzio Borghese), allows to properly focus this fundamental aspect of the Berninian youth activity.
Another thematic study is dedicated to Busti, a genre most frequented by the Bernini marble sculptor (the main object of this exhibition), in which a long chronological career archive of the artist ranges from the early thirties to the seventies of the seventeenth century.
Beside the delicate Paolo V of the Borghese are exposed pieces rarely visible to the general public, such as the busts of the Museum of St. John of the Florentines.
The section dedicated to Painting completes the description of Bernini as an artist of all-roundness. Alongside a small number of canvases whose autograph is universally accepted, the only painting depicted as a work by Bernini already from an inventory of the early seventeenth century, Saints Andrea and Thomas Apostles of the National Gallery in London (formerly Barberini), key to the knowledge of painter Gian Lorenzo, who was not present in the 1998 exhibition.
Bernini and Louis XIV welcomes the drawing and terracotta preparatory to the realization of one of the most important committees of Bernini's entire career: a equestrian monument to French sovereign Louis XIV.
The sculpture craft: Sketches draws attention to the concrete practice of sculpting, with a diachronic show of works dating back to several moments of Gian Lorenzo's career. These are all autograph pieces, but realized not so much in marble, the medium on which the specificity of the exhibition is set, especially in terracotta and bronze.