Simon Schama's The Power of Art Episode 2: Bernini

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Simon Schama's The Power of Art Episode 2: Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the greatest sculptor of the 17th century and
an outstanding architect as well. Bernini created the Baroque style of sculpture and developed it to such
an extent that other artists are of only minor
importance in a discussion of that style.

A student of Classical sculpture, Bernini possessed the unique ability to capture, in marble, the essence of a narrative moment with a dramatic naturalistic realism which was almost shocking. This ensured that he effectively became the successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation, including his rival, Alessandro Algardi. His talent extended beyond the confines of his sculpture to consideration of the setting in which it would be situated; his ability to synthesise sculpture, painting and architecture into a coherent conceptual and visual whole has been termed by the art historian, Irving Lavin, the 'unity of the visual arts'.