Exhibition shows Bernini as universal artist

Opens November 1 through February 4 at Borghese Gallery

(ANSA) - Rome, October 30 - The universal talents of Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini - sculptor, painter, architect, and urban planner - are at the heart of a new exhibition featuring the 17th-century master, opening November 1 at Rome's Borghese Gallery and running through February 4.
    The Borghese Gallery is the permanent home of nine Bernini masterpieces, and this new show demonstrates Bernini's genius through 80 works that aim to highlight the revolutionary impact of his talents.
    "A show like this could only take place here," said Borghese Gallery Director Anna Coliva, who is also one of the exhibition's two curators, together with Andrea Bacchi.
    Coliva said the exhibition was a significant economic undertaking, with 150,000 euros in insurance premiums, 500,000 euros for transporting works, and 62,000 euros for the restoration of Bernini's Saint Bibiana sculpture.
    The investment required to put on the exhibition was covered in part by a three-year sponsorship from Fendi, and for this particular exhibition, also by Intesa San Paolo Bank. Coliva said the show is the result of an idea that came in 1998 following the reopening of Borghese Gallery after prolonged restoration work that aimed to highlight how Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned a young Bernini for his celebrated and revolutionary marble sculptures.
    She said in this show the idea is to place Bernini the sculptor alongside the majesty of his paintings and above all his role as "director" in the creation and implementation of the extraordinary architectural projects commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini. In Bernini's long career he worked with nine different popes, each of whom had his own cultural vision for 17th-century Rome, but it was Barberini as pope who wanted Bernini to be "the Michelangelo of his time", thus giving him his identity as "universal artist".
    Bernini's undeniable genius shines through in the exhibition, which covers both absolute masterpieces as well as more recently discovered studies. The show also has a stunning centerpiece in the just-restored Santa Bibiana statue, which has never before been shown in an exhibition and is on loan from Rome's Saint Bibiana Church.