Lucia Simonato

Bernini scultore. Il difficile dialogo con la modernità


Bernini the corrupter of art, Bernini the pretentious, Bernini painter and tyrant, Bernini the über-naturalist or the complete opposite, Bernini the Mannerist, the Bernini of Apollo and Daphne and David. And lastly Bernini, the master of Baroque art. This volume takes a completely new look at the ebb and flow of Bernini’s reputation and influence among artists, authors and critics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A scenario that explores a range of opinions, not merely those of prominent figures in art history, from Burckhardt to Wölfflin and Adolfo Venturi to Longhi, but also those of writers such as D’Annunzio and, above all, artists, from Vincenzo Vela to Boccioni and Carpeaux to Sargent.
A rich feast of illustrations highlighting the ambiguous image of Bernini the sculptor in modern art history, an intriguing mirror image that defines modern sculpting practices, from technique to theory.
The book is divided into three chapters; the first deals with 18th-century opinions on the sculptor, opinions consolidated in the 19th century which, in certain cases, influenced the vernacular of artistic critique and the development of new theoretical approaches to sculpture. The second chapter focuses on Bernini’s “naturalism”, on the fine line he walked between the sacred and the profane, between German Kunstwissenschaft and French sculpting tradition. Rome is the real protagonist of the third chapter from the 19th century to the advent of Fascism: striving to identify a new hero of a united Italy in Bernini, in his relationship with the city and the curiosity of modern artists.
Written with a healthy dose of irony vis-à-vis the contradictions of history, the elusive rhetoric and the evolution of taste, this essay serves as a privileged and innovative point of view, to encourage reflection on a great artist’s life and the historical complexity of his image.

15 x 23
paperback with flaps
Year of publication