Mr. Bernini? A Mr. David to see you…

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"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


Brunelleschi’s Dome

For this post, I’ve chosen Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, Italy. Why this artist/piece? Honestly, I owe it all to a video game. Yes indeed, Assassin’s Creed II is set in Florence during the very time period we’ve been studying, and even incorporates real events into it’s fiction. While playing the game, I was struck by the beauty of the building in general, and the size of the dome; especially as I knew it was modeled after the real thing.

A screen capture taken from a popular video game shows the detail of Brunelleschi's Dome in Florence, Italy

Started in 1420, the dome was finally completed in 1436. A massive achievement both in prestige for Brunelleschi, and his patron Cosimo de Medici, but also for Florence. This was also a major engineering feat, as it was (and still is) the largest masonry dome in the world.

This piece of art/engineering appealed to me mostly because of the skill involved in it’s creation. Not only the dome itself, but also the ingenious devices and planning that Brunelleschi thought up. The unique herringbone design, the lifting mechanisms, even him having his workers bring their own lunch, so that they could stay up near the construction, and wouldn’t tire themselves out climbing back up from their break; these were all ideas coming from what I would call a true genius. To me, genius is not just book smarts… it’s the ability to put those smarts to practical use. So for Brunelleschi to apply his studies and knowledge to build this dome, means that I will sit back and take notice.

An interest note about Brunelleschi and his now well-established “greatness”, was that his success can be directly linked to one of the most powerful individuals, and families, in Renaissance Italy. Cosimo de Medici, as mentioned above, was the man that gave this “crazy person” his chance. Everywhere else, Brunelleschi was rejected, as his ideas were too advanced, and people thought he was just crazy. The following video is one from our class lesson, an episode of PBS’s Empires. I tried to clip just the part I needed, but as I cannot upload photos here, and it’s technically copyrighted so my own youTube channel was out of the question; I’ll just say the clip is from the appriximate 12min mark, and is about 10mins long. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the whole video, so if you have time, give it a go!

Welcome to the Grid, User.

Hey all, welcome to my ART 200 blog! I’m sure awesome discussions of images, music, and videos will take place here, so feel free to jump in!

Starting off, this is an image that I enjoy, as it is well executed with the shading and skin tones, but also because it speaks to the birth and growth of what we could call the “American Spirit”. With the title of “Lady Liberty”, Dareau conveys quite a lot with this simple image. Americans love their freedoms, and aren’t afraid to express and use that freedom.

"Lady Liberty" 2005