St. Peter's Baldachin
St. Peter's Baldachin is a large Baroque sculpted bronze canopy, technically called a ciborium or baldachin, over the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave surrounded by Rome, Italy; the baldachin is at the center of the crossing, directly under the dome of the basilica. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it was intended to mark, in a monumental way, the place of Saint Peter's tomb underneath. Under its canopy is the high altar of the basilica. Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, the work began in 1623 and ended in 1634; the baldachin acts as a visual focus within the basilica. The form of the structure is an updating in Baroque style of the traditional ciborium or architectural pavilion found over the altars of many important churches, ceremonial canopies used to frame the numinous or mark a sacred spot. Old St. Peter's Basilica had had a ciborium, like most major basilicas in Rome, Bernini's predecessor, Carlo Maderno, had produced a design with twisted Solomonic columns, less than a decade before.
It may more allude to features drawn from the funerary catafalque and thus appropriate to Saint Peter, from the traditional cloth canopy known as a baldacchino, carried above the head of the pope on Holy Days and therefore related to the reigning pope as the successor of Saint Peter. The idea of the baldachin to mark Saint Peter's tomb was not Bernini's idea and there had been various columnar structures erected earlier; the old basilica had had a screen in front of the altar, supported by 2nd century Solomonic columns, brought "from Greece" by Constantine I. These were by the Middle Ages believed to have come from the Temple of Jerusalem and had given the rare classical Solomonic form of helical column both its name and considerable prestige for the most sacred of sites. Eight of the original twelve columns are now found in pairs halfway up the piers on either side of the baldachin; the bronze and gilded baldachin was the first of Bernini's works to combine sculpture and architecture and represents an important development in Baroque church interior design and furnishing.
The canopy rests upon four helical columns. The columns support a cornice. Above this, four twice life size angels stand at the corners behind whom four large volutes rise up to a second smaller cornice which in turn supports the gilded cross on a sphere, a symbol of the world redeemed by Christianity; the four columns are 20 metres or 66 feet high. The base and capital were cast separately and the shaft of each column was cast in three sections, their helical form was derived from the smaller marble helical columns once thought to have been brought to Rome by the Emperor Constantine from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem and which were used in the Old Saint Peter's Basilica. From the cornice hangs a bronze semblance of the scalloped and tasselled border that trimmed the papal baldacchino; the structure is decorated with detailed motifs including heraldic emblems of the Barberini family such as bees and laurel leaves. The underside of the canopy and directly above the officiating pope is a radiant sun – another emblem of the Barberini – within, the Holy Spirit.
The source of the bronze to make the structure was an issue of contemporary controversy as it was believed to have been taken from the roof or portico ceiling of the ancient Roman Pantheon, though Urban's accounts say that about ninety percent of the bronze from the Pantheon was used for a cannon, that the bronze for the baldachin came from Venice. A well-known satirical lampoon left attached to the ancient ‘speaking’ statue of Pasquino on a corner of the Piazza Navona, said: Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini or ‘What the barbarians did not do, the Barberini did’. At this early stage in their careers, before the bitter rivalry between the two ensued, Bernini worked in collaboration with Francesco Borromini who made drawings of the structure and who may have contributed to its design. Various other artistic colleagues were involved including his father Pietro Bernini, his brother Luigi Bernini, Stefano Maderno, François Duquesnoy, Andrea Bolgi and Giuliano Finelli who contributed to the sculptural decoration.
There remained an issue that Bernini was not to resolve until in his career. In a Latin cross church, the high altar should be placed in the chancel at the end of the longitudinal axis and yet in St. Peter's it was located in the centre of the crossing. Bernini sought a solution whereby the high altar above the tomb of the first Pope of the Catholic Church could be reconciled with tradition. With his design for the Cathedra Petri or Chair of Saint Peter at the apsidal end of the chancel, Bernini completed his visual concetto or design idea. Four marble plinths form the basis of the columns; the two outer sides of each plinth are decorated with the Barberini family's coat of arms. This series of eight, nearly identical coats of arms forms a narrative that has attracted ov
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes used carving and modelling, in stone, ceramics and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast. Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, represents the majority of the surviving works from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, this has been lost. Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were an expression of religion or politics; those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.
The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, Greece is seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith; the revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, the presentation of found objects as finished art works. A basic distinction is between sculpture in the round, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached to any other surface, the various types of relief, which are at least attached to a background surface. Relief is classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are difficult to accomplish in the round, is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, attached to buildings, for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery and jewellery.
Relief sculpture may decorate steles, upright slabs of stone also containing inscriptions. Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; the term "sculpture" is used to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture, large, or, attached to a building. But the term properly covers many types of small works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for small carvings in stone that can take detailed work; the large or "colossal" statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.
The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Small forms of sculpture include the figurine a statue, no more than 18 inches tall, for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Modern and contemporary art have added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, street art sculpture, kinetic sculpture, land art, site-specific art. Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion. Cult images are common in many cultures, though they are not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia; the actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were evidently rather small in the largest temples.
The same is true in Hinduism, where the simple and ancient form of the lingam is the most common. Buddhism brought the sculpture of religious figures to East Asia, where there seems to have been no earlier equivalent tradition, though again simple shapes like the bi and cong had religious significance. Small sculptures as personal possessions go back to the earliest prehistoric art, the use of large sculpture as public art to impress the viewer with the power of a ruler, goes back at least to the Great Sphinx of some 4,500 years ago. In archaeology and art history the appearance, sometimes disappearance, of large or monumental sculpture in a culture is regarded as of great significance, though tracing the emergence is complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains; the ability to s
The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun
The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun is the earliest known work by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Produced sometime between 1609 and 1615, the sculpture is now in the Borghese Collection at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. According to Filippo Baldinucci before Pietro Bernini moved his family from Naples to Rome, eight-year-old Gian Lorenzo created a "small marble head of a child, the marvel of everyone". Throughout his teenage years, he produced numerous images containing putti, chubby male children nude and sometimes winged. Distinct from cherubim, who represent the second order of angels, these putti figures were secular and presented a non-religious passion. Of the three surviving marble groups of putti that can be attributed to Bernini, The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun is the only one, dateable. In 1615, a carpenter was paid for providing a wooden pedestal for the sculpture group; some writers date the work as early as 1609, based on stylistic grounds and an interpretation of the 1615 pedestal invoice indicating that the base was a replacement.
The sculpture shows Amalthea as a goat, the infant god Jupiter, an infant Faun. Notes Bibliography Web Gallery of Art
Bust of Giovanni Vigevano
Bust of Giovanni Vigevano is a marble sculptural portrait by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The bust was produced between 1617 and 1618, was inserted into the tomb for Vigevano after he died in 1630; the tomb is in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. Notes Bibliography
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was and more prominently, the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture; as one scholar has commented, "What Shakespeare is to drama, Bernini may be to sculpture: the first pan-European sculptor whose name is instantaneously identifiable with a particular manner and vision, whose influence was inordinately powerful...." In addition, he was a painter and a man of the theater: he wrote and acted in plays, for which he designed stage sets and theatrical machinery. He produced designs as well for a wide variety of decorative art objects including lamps, tables and coaches; as architect and city planner, he designed secular buildings, churches and public squares, as well as massive works combining both architecture and sculpture elaborate public fountains and funerary monuments and a whole series of temporary structures for funerals and festivals.
His broad technical versatility, boundless compositional inventiveness and sheer skill in manipulating marble ensured that he would be considered a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation. His talent extended beyond the confines of sculpture to a consideration of the setting in which it would be situated. Bernini was born in Naples in 1598 to Angelica Galante and Mannerist sculptor Pietro Bernini from Florence, he was the sixth of their thirteen children. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the definition of childhood genius, he was “recognized as a prodigy when he was only eight years old, he was encouraged by his father, Pietro. His precocity earned him the admiration and favor of powerful patrons who hailed him as ‘the Michelangelo of his century’”. In 1606 his father received a papal commission and so moved from Naples to Rome, taking his entire family with him and continuing in earnest the training of his son Gian Lorenzo. Several extant works, dating from circa 1615-20, are by general scholarly consensus, collaborative efforts by both father and son: they include the Faun Teased by Putti, Boy with a Dragon, the Aldobrandini Four Seasons, the discovered Bust of the Savior.
Sometime after the arrival of the Bernini family in Rome, word about the great talent of the boy Gian Lorenzo got around and he soon caught the attention of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew to the reigning pope, Paul V, who spoke of the boy genius to his uncle. Bernini was therefore presented before Pope Paul V, curious to see if the stories about Gian Lorenzo's talent were true; the boy improvised a sketch of Saint Paul for the marveling pope, this was the beginning of the pope’s attention on this young talent. Once he was brought to Rome, he left its walls, except for a five-month stay in Paris in the service of King Louis XIV and brief trips to nearby towns for work-related reasons. Rome was Bernini’s city: “‘You are made for Rome,’ said Pope Urban VIII to him, ‘and Rome for you’”, it was in this world of 17th-century Rome and the international religious-political power which resided there that Bernini created his greatest works. Bernini's works are therefore characterized as perfect expressions of the spirit of the assertive, triumphal but self-defensive Counter Reformation Roman Catholic Church.
Bernini was a man of his times and religious, but he and his artistic production should not be reduced to instruments of the papacy and its political-doctrinal programs, an impression, at times communicated by the works of the three most eminent Bernini scholars of the previous generation, Rudolf Wittkower, Howard Hibbard, Irving Lavin. As Tomaso Montanari's recent revisionist monograph, La libertà di Bernini argues and Franco Mormando's anti-hagiographic biography, Bernini: His Life and His Rome, illustrates and his artistic vision maintained a certain degree of freedom from the mindset and mores of Counter-Reformaton Roman Catholicism. Under the patronage of the extravagantly wealthy and most powerful Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the young Bernini rose to prominence as a sculptor. Among his early works for the cardinal were decorative pieces for the garden of the Villa Borghese such as The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun. Other allegorical busts date to this period, including the so-called Damned Soul and Blessed Soul of circa 1619, which may have been influenced by a set of prints by Pieter de Jode I but which were in fact unambiguously cataloged in the inventory of their first documented owner, Fernando de Botinete y Acevedo, as depicting a nymph and a satyr, a paired duo in ancient sculpture.
By the time he was twenty-two, Bernini was considered talented enough to have been given a commission for a papal portrait, the Bust of Pope Paul V, n
Sesto Fiorentino, known locally as just Sesto, is a municipality in the Metropolitan City of Florence, central Italy. The oldest known human settlement in the area dates from the Mesolithic; the Etruscan presence is known from the 7th century BC, but the town proper was created by the Romans as Sextus ab urbe lapis. The first churches were built in the early Middle Ages, among which the most important became the Pieve of San Martino. Sesto Fiorentino was subject to the Archbishop of Florence, it was under the Florentine Republic, which dried the plain and boosted the area's economy starting from the Renaissance age. In 1735, Marquis Carlo Ginori founded one of the first porcelain plants in Europe, the Manifattura di Doccia. Now under the name Richard-Ginori, the company is still located in Sesto, is the largest porcelain manufacturer in Italy. Toward the end of the 19th century, craftsmen, trained at Richard-Ginori began to start their own pottery studios, some of which grew into factories. There are over one hundred producers of pottery in Sesto Fiorentino, a state school for teaching pottery, now called L'Istituto Statale d'Arte.
Sesto Fiorentino was annexed by plebiscite to the newly unified Kingdom of Italy in 1860. The town was a protagonist in the late 19th century workers struggle, in 1897 it elected the second socialist member of the Italian Parliament, Giuseppe Pescetti. In 1899 it was the first town in Tuscany to have a socialist mayor. Pieve di San Martino, known from around the year 1000; the interior has the inner part dating from the 12th century. On the high altar is a Crucifix by Agnolo Gaddi. Palazzo Pretorio. Santa Maria a Quinto, mentioned in the 11th century but rebuilt in the 18th century, it houses a notable triptych by Spinello Aretino and Annunciation from 1410. Villa Guicciardini Corsi Salviati Villa Paolina Villa Villoresi Park of Villa Gamba, known as Parco del Neto, an English-style garden built in 1853. Etruscan findings include the Tomba della Montagnola, the Tomba della Mula and the Necropolis of Palastreto. Sesto Fiorentino is twinned with: Wieliczka, Poland El Ayoun, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Bagnolet, France Sesto Fiorentino and its surroundings inspired the setting for the book The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Sherlock Holmes scholars determined that the unnamed Italian town in "The Adventure of the Empty House" was Sesto, a bust of Holmes stands in the town. Poet Alberta Bigagli was born in Sesto Firorentino in 1928. Official website
Saint Sebastian (Bernini)
Saint Sebastian is an early sculpture by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Executed in 1617 and 1618, it features the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian pinned to a tree, his flesh filled with arrows, it is smaller than life size. The sculpture is part of the Carmen Cervera's private collection and is shown in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Notes Bibliography