Subject: Re: Art - my favourites

I'm so sorry I haven't finished on the subject of art yet! (The rest of you probably have after my last posting - but it touched a nerve!)

My other favorite artist of all time is not a painter. He is a sculptor. An architect. A painter. His is the son of a sculptor. He was a major innovator in the Baroque movement. He rose to prominence under the patronage of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. His name was Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Bernini's work's of architecture are impossible to miss in Rome. He decorated the Pont Sant'Angelo. He designed the collonades of Piazza San Pietro at the Vatican. He decorated Piazza Navona.Bernini was nothing if not prolific.

Of Bernini work, my personal favorites (both of which are on display at the Villa Borghese in Rome) are the Rape of Prosperine and Apollo and Daphne.

The Rape of Prosperine is not merely impressive in it's size, although it's size definitely adds to the violence of the scene, the attention to detail is the by far the most impressive aspect of the work. The terrified look on Prosperines face, the anger and aggression of her attacker is almost real, the beads of sweat on Prosperine's breast, the indentation of the attackers' hands on Prosperine's thighs bring to life a brutality, a demonstration of humanity's aggressions and desire. And it's propensity to fight.

Apollo and Daphne also display conflict. As Apollo pursues Daphne, Daphne appeals to her mother (the goddess Peneus) who ensure her transformation into tree. The sculpture depicts the moment at which Apollo touch Daphne and the moment at which the transformation begins. The detail in he bark that begins to surround Daphne is incredible. The fineness of the leaves that now surround Daphnes fingers is difficult to imagine made from marble. It has to be seen to be believed.

IMO, however, it the Bernini's work of David that is most highly commendable. It shows remarkable talent for one so young. Carved from a single piece of marble, the work of David is regarded as a masterpiece. The work clearly displays the moment at which David dispatches his stone at the might Goliath. The expression of David, with a furrowed brow and pursed lip, is thought to be a self-portrait of Bernini himself (as Caravaggio saw himself as the head of Goliath in an earlier painting also displayed at Villa Borghese.) Self-portrait or not - the tension of the moment is clearly written on the face and the tension in muscular torso of David.

The Villa Borghese website is at

A Wikipedia Entry on Bernini is at:

Mark Zuerich