Bernini's Biographies: Critical Essays by Maarten Delbeke

By Maarten Delbeke

Exact between early glossy artists, the Baroque painter, sculptor, and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini used to be the topic of 2 monographic biographies released presently after his demise in 1680: one via the Florentine gourmand and author Filippo Baldinucci (1682), and the moment through Bernini's son, Domenico (1713). This interdisciplinary number of essays via historians of artwork and literature marks the 1st sustained exam of the 2 biographies, before everything as texts. a considerable introductory essay considers each one biography's writer, genesis, and foundational position within the learn of Bernini. 9 essays combining art-historical study with insights from philology, literary historical past, and paintings and literary idea provide significant new insights into the multifarious connections among biography, artwork historical past, and aesthetics, inviting readers to reconsider Bernini's lifestyles, artwork, and milieu.

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166 With respect to the biography of his father, we can only conjecture as to why, more than thirty years after Baldinucci’s Vita appeared, he decided to publish his work. Domenico did not bring to the biography Baldinucci’s specialized art-historical knowledge. But he did possess the skills of the historian and hagiographer, whose work must be based on the sworn testimony of witnesses. In addition, and in contrast to Baldinucci, he brought to the writing of his father’s biography a firsthand knowledge of the artist and his works, and memories of his life, friends, and words.

After having written his first truly hagiographic text, Domenico turned his attention to a more strictly ecclesiastical subject. Il tribunale della S. Rota Romana (1717) is a study of the history, constitutions, and laws of the canonic and civil court of the Vatican. Also dedicated to Clement XI, it is a work based on a wealth of documentation, and illustrated with six fullpage plates depicting court ceremonies and paraphernalia. 163 Domenico’s last work, another long hagiographic text, Vita del venerabile Giuseppe da Copertino de’ minori conventuali, was published in 1722.

Domenico did not bring to the biography Baldinucci’s specialized art-historical knowledge. But he did possess the skills of the historian and hagiographer, whose work must be based on the sworn testimony of witnesses. In addition, and in contrast to Baldinucci, he brought to the writing of his father’s biography a firsthand knowledge of the artist and his works, and memories of his life, friends, and words. bernini’s biographies and literary genres One way of approaching the similarities and differences between the Bernini vite is through a consideration of the various literary genres on which these biographical texts draw.

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