All the Berninis in Rome
A cheat sheet list of where to find Gianlorenzo Bernini's top sculptures, architecture, and paintings (yes, he painted) in Rome
• Context: Bernini and Borromini, Rivalry in Art
• Baroque Splendors in the Age of Bernini & Borromini
• Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery and Gardens Walking Tour
• Context: Galleria Borghese
• Context: Galleria Borghese for Families
• Private Tour: Borghese Gallery and Baroque Rome Art History Walking Tour
• Context: Evening Passeggiata
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Self-portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini c.1623 (age 25) Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680; sometimes his first name is spelled out in full as Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini) was perhaps the greatest sculptor of the baroque era—not to mention a genius architect and quite a fine painter (that's a self-portrait on the left).
Bernini's sculptures are full of life, vitality, and movement, the subjects often caught in a moment of action, the flowing robes and drapery flapping in the wind. Bernini's works are the epitome of the baroque's extravagant theatricality (against the often staid, posed, clam of the Renaissance).
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• Caravaggio's Rome Despite what Dan Brown wrote in Angels & Demons, Bernini's art does not comprise some kind of giant, Roman-spanning baroque geocaching map of clues to a dark and dangerous secret.
Bernini did, however, leave scores of works scattered all around the city, from public fountains and church interiors to exquisite sculptures in private collections and paintings in public galleries.
Here is where you can find many of Bernini's major works in Rome.
- Piazza Navona (Fountain of the Four Rivers)
- Galleria Borghese (many amazing early sculptures done in his late teens/early 20s, including David, Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Persephone, and—along with dad, Pietro Bernini—Aeneas and Anchises)
- Santa Maria del Popolo (many interior renovations, but particularly the sculptures and inlaid stonework in the Chigi chapel)
- Ponte Sant'Angelo (designs for the statues lining the bridge)
- Santa Maria della Vittoria (St. Theresa in Ecstasy)
- St. Peter's (some of the architecture, most notably the sweeping colonnades of St Peter's Square out front, and the famous baldacchino canopy over the high altar)
- San Francesco a Ripa (Beata Ludovica in Ecstasy)
- Santa Maria sopra Minerva (the baby elephant statue out front, and a bust of Giovanni Vigevano on his tomb between the third and fourth chapels on the left aisle)
- Capitoline Museums (marble head of Medusa and statue of Urban VIII in Palazzo dei Conservatori)
- Palazzo Barberini (paintings: David with the Head of Goliath and Portrait of Urban VIII)
- Spanish Steps (young Gianlorenzo probably helped his father, Pietro Bernini, craft the Barcaccia "sinking boat" fountain at the foot of the steps)
- Galleria Doria Pamphilj (bust of Innocent X)
- Sant'Agostino (design of second chapel on left aisle)
- Roman Forum (The confessio inside the church of Santa Francesca Romana)
- Take a Bernini tour: Take a tour of Bernini sights:
In the mid 1600s two artists appeared on the scene in Rome, each possessed of a particular genius and each uniquely fitted to the Baroque movement sweeping Europe. During this three-hour tour of Rome's Quirinale neighborhood, we'll look closely at the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, whose imprint on the city reflected its political vicissitudes and shaped its aesthetic sensibility...
Hardly has any man left a stronger imprint on a city than Bernini has on Rome, and his universal genius permeates the Roman landscape. However, he was by no means the only outstanding artist of the time: his contemporary Borromini vied with Bernini for the title of the most original genius of high baroque architecture. Their temperaments and personalities were quite different: Bernini was successful, self-confident, sociable and affluent, while Borromini was gloomy, solitary, depressed, often irascible and always difficult....
This walk is an in-depth examination of the Galleria Borghese taken in the company of an art historian who can unfold for you the layers of meaning—social, political, and artistic—of one of the greatest private art collections in the world. Commissions and acquisitions of pieces by the likes of Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael and Bernini made the Borghese the premier collectors of their day and their former suburban palace turned private museum is now one of the most important and certainly one of the most elegant museums in Rome...
Your walking tour with a private guide who specializes in art history starts at the Galleria Borghese, the beautiful palace where Cardinal Scipione Borghese lived with his famous art collection in the heart of Rome's most beautiful park, the Borghese Gardens. You will see Bernini's famous statues of Apollo and Daphne, David, the Rape of Proserpine and Canova's reclining nude of Paulina Borghese. Among the collection are several paintings by Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio. After touring the gallery, you'll take a walk through the gardens to reach Piazza del Popolo. Here you'll tour the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, with two of Caravaggio's most famous compositions...
During this two-hour orientation walk we'll discover Rome at its most glorious time: twilight, when Romans flood the streets to stroll some of the world's most picturesque streets and piazzas or, in Italian, to make a passeggiata. We begin in one of the most famous public spaces in Rome, Piazza Navona. The political and historical background of the piazza is discussed as well as its modern incarnation as a magnet for street performers and visitors in search of that perfect outdoor cafe seat with the direct view of Bernini's fabulous fountain...
- A Michelangelo tour of Rome
- A Caravaggio tour of Rome
- Guided art walks in Rome
- Museums and art galleries in Rome
- Churches in Rome
- Dan Brown's Angels & Demons sights in Rome
- The squares and fountains of Rome
This article was written by Reid Bramblett and was last updated in April 2013. All information was accurate at the time.
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