Ten Artists —> 8. Gian Lorenzo Bernini(1598-1680)

Bernini is without a doubt one of the most prolific sculptors of the Baroque movement. His masterful creations of marble and terracotta created astonishingly lifelike saints, popes, and mythological figures. The carefully shaped curls, the rippling muscles reminiscent of the classical Greek canon, and startling emotion in his art have made him one of the most popular sculptors of all time. Bernini was an extremely devout Catholic, and often took commissions from prominent members of the Catholic Church, including Pope Urban VIII, for whom he created several busts. Many of his sculptures, like David and The Ecstasy of St. Teresa depict Biblical stories and later Catholic lore. He wanted his art to be an emotional, spiritual experience for the viewer, and he believed that by creating realistic sculptures, he could better convey spiritual truths to his audience. What makes Bernini such a phenomenal artist, however, is his ability to combine different genres of art — sculpture, painting, and architecture — in creations like St. Peter’s baldachinno and his work on the Triton Fountain for the Piazza Barberini. Sculptures: The Rape of Persephone (detail), La Verita (The Truth), the Medusa (detail), David.