First off, while it was fairly easy choosing my favorite artist for this post, choosing my favorite Bernini sculpture was not. The man was extremely talented, and produced some of the greatest examples of the Baroque era ever seen. That being said, I went with his depiction of the Biblical David.
Bernini’s David, sculpted in 1623-24 is a great example of his mastery of the sense of movement, and of his skill with conveyance of emotion. This David is in the midst of slinging the stone that would kill the giant Goliath. Bernini captures the taut muscles, the twisted torso, the furrowed brow, the characteristics that really bring this statue to life.
As we’ve seen, this piece is a great example of Baroque era art, however, Bernini’s David also is culturally significant for another reason.
During the time period that this sculpture was created, there was a pretty intense conflict between the Catholic Church and the Protestants of the Reformation. The Catholic church got together at three different meetings, that are collectively called the Council of Trent. In these meetings they established a plan to counter the Protestant Reformation. How were they going to do this? By patronizing the arts of course. By having prestigious artists create Biblical art that was easy to understand, they would bring “culture” and belief back into the fold.
This is where Bernini comes in. Widely regarded as the best sculptor of his time, he was commissioned by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese to create several masterpieces. The David being one of them. Thus this masterful sculpture is tied directly into the Catholic Church’s counter-reformation, and the Council of Trent.
Thank you for tourists with great cameras.
The Galleria Borghese