(20) Visit the Church of Santa Bibiana, the debut work of architect Bernini! The Strongest Patron, Urbanus VIII

Travels in Rome" - Charms of the Theater City of Rome and Pilgrimage to Bernini

Travels in Rome] (20) Visit to the Church of Santa Bibiana, the debut work of architect Bernini! The existence of the most powerful patron, Urbanus VIII

In the previous articles, we have seen the genius of the young Bernini through the works of the Borghese Gallery.

From this point on, we will see the new success of the young Bernini. The catalyst for this leap forward was a new patron, Pope Urbanus VIII.

Urbanus VIII, Bernini's most powerful patron

Urbanus VIII (reigned 1623-1644)Wikipedia.

From childhood, Bernini's patron was Cardinal Sipione Borghese. His power was so great that he monopolized the young Bernini's talents, resulting in the current Borghese Museum's collection of the young Bernini's masterpieces.

Urbanus VIII had also bought Bernini before he became pope, but he was unable to become his patron because of the powerful Borghese. However, when he became Pope in 1623, his position naturally changed. From now on, he could proudly be Bernini's patron!

So the young Bernini finally had a patron, the Pope, the head of Roman Catholicism.

Now let's listen to Masumi Ishinabe's commentary.

When Urbanus VIII was elected pope, he called Bellini on the same day toknightcavaliereIt is your great fortune that Cardinal Maffeo Barberini has been elected Pope. But an even greater fortune is that the knight Bernini is still alive in our reign. For a long time he had been in love with Bellini's talent and genius, but because the powerful Sipione Borghese had monopolized his talent, he had to be content with small commissions and occasional visits to his studio to offer him poems and hold a mirror for him. But now things have changed. Now, as Peter's successor and master of the state, he could use Bernini's talents as he wished. It was then that Urbanus VIII "had the laudable ambition to produce another Michelangelo during his reign, through his efforts" (Baldinucci).

In fact, Urbanus VIII and Bernini were more than just patrons and artists. The relationship between Urbanus VIII and Bernini was reminiscent of the relationship between Felipe IV and Velázquez in Spain. Urbanus VIII, who was as fond of Bernini as he was of the cardinal, not only allowed him to come and go as he pleased, but often dined with him. The biographer tells us that Bernini would talk with the Pope until he fell asleep, then close the window and go home. On one occasion, the Pope himself, accompanied by sixteen cardinals, visited the studio of Bellini, which surprised the public as an unusual event. The pope himself seemed to be very moved by this visit, and there is a mural in his house depicting the scene in which he was later entrusted with a key by a city dignitary in Lyon, as well as this visit by Urbanus VIII. When Bernini was in trouble because of a youthful indiscretion, the Pope not only granted him a special pardon and exonerated him, but also persuaded him to get married.

Having thus gained the pope's favor, he was entrusted with almost all important art projects during the reign of Urbanus VIII, and was viewed as the pope's minister in charge of the fine arts. Urbanus VIII tried to monopolize Bernini's talents by giving him a variety of tasks. This situation continued after the reign of Urbanus VIII, and except for the first few years of Innocent X, Bernini remained an immense influence in the Roman art world. For more than fifty years, Roman artists, whether they liked it or not, were forced to admire his excellence" (Wittkauer). Naturally, there were many who were not pleased with his presence. They repeatedly lamented the fact that they could not get important work orders without Bernini's mediation, and they took every opportunity to attack him in various ways.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p44-46

The overwhelming success of Bernini, who had the most powerful patron, Urbanus VIII, can be seen here.

Bernini's success was due not only to his own talent, but also to the times and the people around him. A man of such stature who changes the history of the world must have such "overwhelming good fortune" on his side. Possessing such luck itself may be one of the conditions for a genius among geniuses.

Urbanus VIII orders sculptor Bernini to study architecture

The fact that Urbanus VIII wanted to make Bernini "another Michelangelo" is evident from the fact that soon after his accession to the throne, he ordered him to study architecture and painting. Domenico tells us that Bernini immediately began to study ancient architecture and devoted two years to painting. If Baldinucci is to be believed, Bernini produced more than 150 (200 according to Domenico) paintings, but very few of them are known today. Moreover, they were painted for his personal enjoyment, and he never responded to a public order. Therefore, the importance of Bernini's paintings in his activities is relatively small. In the field of architecture, on the other hand, he became an extraordinary architect, comparable to Boㇽ Romini, and left behind important works such as St. Peter's Square.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p46

The fact that Urbanus VIII wanted to make Bernini "another Michelangelo" is evidenced by the fact that shortly after his accession to the throne, he ordered him to study architecture and painting. Bernini immediately began to study ancient architecture, while at the same time devoting two years to painting.

It was the patron, Urbanus VIII, who encouraged Bernini to become an architect. If it were not for Urbanus VIII, Bernini might not have built St. Peter's Square and many other famous buildings. When one thinks about it, one can only be amazed at the enormous role played by Urbanus VIII. Even a talent of Bernini's caliber could have flourished only because of "personal connections.

Church of Santa Bibiana, the debut work of architect Bernini

Bernini's first work as an architect was a modest one. The church of Santa Bibiana was being restored, and on March 2, 1624, during the work, the body of a saint was discovered under the main altar in two large glass vases. This led to a complete reconstruction of the church, and Bernini was entrusted with the construction of the facade and the altar. Today, the small church sits in a dreary lot by the railroad tracks and is rarely visited, except by a few specialists. But the church, with its façade, Bernini's first architectural work, and the first real religious sculpture, the "Bibiana", and the first important wall paintings by Pietro da Cortona, is the birthplace of the Baroque in its heyday, a place that will never be forgotten in the history of Baroque art.articles of the deceasedmonumentThe first is.

The façade is composed of two levels, with three arches above the loggia.palacepalazzoThe wind is above the top of the building. This form has precedents in the façade of San Sebastiano (1612), which Sipione Borghese had the architect Flaminio Ponzio restore. Comparing the two, however, Santa Bibiana is morepalacepalazzoThe character of the wind is remarkable and shows that it is unique for a church facade. Bernini probably did not take the usual form of the facade, but used an unusual form, taking into consideration the small size of the church and the need for a window to open the relics on special feast days. And in doing so, the upper level of theniche (in Western architecture)edi-colaThis new idea of placing the "B" in the center of the façade creates a sense of concentration, while at the same time bringing the entire building together. However, the first thing one notices when looking at the façade is that it is very simple, contrary to what one might expect from the name Bernini. Even at the height of its baroque effect, Bernini's architecture never loses this simplicity and simplicity.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p46-47

The Church of Santa Bibiana is located near the Roma Termini train station.

Once you exit the station building, walk straight down the road along the station building in a southerly direction, and you will be within a distance of the station in about 10 minutes.

When you are walking, you may wonder if there really is a church in such a place, but keep walking straight.

Arrive at the Church of Santa Bibiana. The church is so inconspicuous that you might pass by it if you are not careful, so I recommend that you look for the tower-like building on the left in the photo.

This is the façade designed by Bernini. As mentioned in the commentary, it is indeed simple. Baroque is often associated with luxury and excessive decoration, but this church is surprisingly simple.Even at the height of its baroque effect, Bernini's architecture never loses this simplicity, this simplicity."I think Masumi Ishinabe's commentary, "I think this is a very important point.

Bernini's "Saint Viviana" - a masterpiece that greatly influenced the later Catholic world.

Saint Viviana."Wikipedia.

More important than the façade, however, is the "Saint Viviana" that adorns the main altar. Bibiana is said to have been martyred in the 4th century by being tied to a pillar and beaten with a lead stick. The pillar and the shul, which represent martyrdom, are the most common possessions of this saint, and Bernini also included them in his conception of this statue.

Since this work was produced between 1624 and 1616, it seems to coincide with the period when Borghese was putting the finishing touches on "Apollo and Daphne. However, there is no dynamic movement or dramatic expression here as in Borghese's work. The saint raises her right hand lightly, tilts her face to the left, looks up to the heavens, and seems to be uttering some words. Her face, hands, and body are all filled with sweetness and bliss. In other words, this work captures the moment of martyrdom. In other words, Bernini tried to capture the moment of martyrdom as a psychological and mystical drama, rather than as an actual act, as in Borghese's sculpture.

As a result, he created an image of the saint that represented the religious sentiment of the 17th century. The image of "Saint Bibiana," which combines sensuality and mystery, is precisely the image of religious devotion inspired by the Counter-Reformation. Therefore, the image of this saint created by Bernini was to be circulated in the Catholic world for more than 100 years. For example, if one compares Bernini's work with that of the Madonna of Murillo in Spain, a well-known Madonna image, one cannot help but notice the striking similarity between them.
*some line breaks.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p47-48

This commentary is extremely important in considering Bernini. Unlike the works in the Borghese Gallery, which we have already discussed in the previous articles, Bernini began to depict "psychological and mystical dramas" here.

The Borghese Gallery is home to some of Bernini's early masterpieces, among which "Apollo and Daphne" and "David" can be said to be particularly "realistic" images that "capture the actual action. In contrast, "Sainte Viviana" is clearly a figure in which the movement is restrained.

Murillo, The Immaculate Conception, c. 1678,Wikipedia.

The image of the saint created by Bellini was to circulate throughout the Catholic world for more than 100 years. If one compares, for example, the works of Bernini with those of Murillo of Spain, known for his Madonna, one cannot help but notice the striking similarity between them." This is certainly true when we look at Murillo's painting above. Bernini was to have a tremendous influence on the Catholic world at this point in his career.

Let us continue to look at this statue.

On the other hand, in terms of sculptural technique, "Saint Bibiana" gives the impression that this is what one would get if one were to transform a sharp and excellent Hellenistic sculpture into a statue of a saint. In this respect, it is certainly an extension of Borghese's work, and here, too, we can see that the study of ancient sculpture is the foundation. However, as the content of the work changes, the technique gradually moves away from antiquity and the Renaissance. For example, one of the most striking elements of this workfolds of a kimonodraperyIn the "Saints of the Renaissance," the artist's intention is not to show the volume and reality of the human body as in ancient and Renaissance sculptures, but to create a sense of mystery, bliss, and elevation of the saints. This was the first time that Bernini created clothed figures in this work, and it would be the first time that he would create a sculpture of a saint in the same manner.folds of a kimonodraperyThe "I" in the name of the person becomes an important means of expressing the inner life of the person.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p49

One of the most striking things about this work,"folds of a kimonodraperyThe sculptures of the Renaissance and the Ancient Ages are not intended to show the volume and reality of the human body, as in the ancient and Renaissance sculptures, but to create a sense of mystery, bliss, and elevation of the saints.

This is another important point. It is synonymous with Bernini's later works.folds of a kimonoThe "Hellenistic Sculpture" was born from here. Since we are here, let's look at them side by side with Hellenistic sculptures. The two photos on the right were taken at the Louvre.

The folds of the garment are used to depict interiority and mystery. This imaginative technique, which is a great leap forward from realism, is clearly different from Hellenism. We can only be amazed at the innovative sculptural techniques Bernini created one after another in his twenties.

A further leap forward for Bernini! Bernini, the creator of comprehensive visual art

In addition, there are two important things that Bernini is attempting to do with this work. First, as already mentioned in "Neptune and Triton," Bernini considers the sculpture and the place where it is placed as an integral part of the work, in other words, the place where it is placed is also part of the work. He placed this statue of the saint at the back of the archway.niche (in Western architecture)edi-colaThe size of each of these parts has been carefully considered, and great care has been taken to ensure that the overall balance is maintained when viewed from the nave. The dark color of the niche is used to make the statue stand out, and the repetition of the large arch and the arch of the niche is designed to strengthen the overall sense of unity and pictorial effect. The saint, on the other hand, looks up to the heavens and calls out to God the Father, and this very God the Father is depicted in fresco on the ceiling of the arch as an explanation of this mystical drama of martyrdom. Through these devices, Bellini visually clarifies the content of the sculpture, and at the same time, gives meaning to the space in which it is placed.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p49-50

Bernini's art is such that the space in which the sculpture is placed is itself a part of the work.

Commentary.Bernini is trying to visually clarify the content of the sculpture and at the same time to make sense of the entire space in which it is placed."I think this is a very good description of the essence of Bernini's art.

I embarked on this journey after reading this commentary, which led me to encounter a sculpture to the same effect in Baden-Baden, Germany, a city completely unrelated to Bernini.

The statue was erected in 2004 by Moscow sculptor Leonid Baranov.

Dostoevsky stayed in this city in 1867 and spent nightmarish days in a gambling frenzy. This statue represents such a Dostoevsky. His gaze is on the city of Baden-Baden with its casinos.

I stand by him and look in the same direction. What a sad view. He was placed in a very bad place, in a very bad way. I wished he would at least turn his back to the casino. But it had to be this way. This is why it is so meaningful. It is a horrible sculpture.

Is there any statue in which the drama of Dostoevsky's life is so beautifully expressed in its humanity?

The statue is a stage space for Baden-Baden itself. The city itself, beyond the statue itself, is also incorporated into the art form. It is because of my study of Bernini that I was able to realize this. If you would like to know more about the statue, please refer to the following(13) Touring Dostoevsky-associated sites in Baden-Baden, Germany: Walking in one of Europe's most famous recreation areas, famous for its casinos."Please refer to the article in the following section.

Let's continue to look at the explanations.

The second point that Bernini is attempting is the lighting from a hidden light source. Looking at the ceiling of the arch, one notices square frames cut into the sides of the tondo depicting God the Father. The right-hand frame depicts angels, while the left-hand one is a window. In other words, Bernini intended to illuminate the sculpture from the upper left. Needless to say, light is a very important element in sculpture. Unlike paintings, which are painted with color on a flat surface, sculpture, especially marble sculpture, is all about light and shade, or in other words, its nuances. It goes without saying that the same sculpture can give different impressions depending on the light. It is only natural that Bernini, who placed great importance on the effects of light on sculpture, would consider light coloring to be a part of his work. In the case of "Saint Viviana," light enters the painting from above the altar, so Bernini's control of light is incomplete. Nevertheless, as the first attempt by Bernini to enhance the effect of a sculpture by providing a light source that the viewer does not notice, this work should be considered groundbreaking. This idea of comprehensive visual art, in which the sculpture's location and the light it receives are considered part of the sculpture, is the essence of Bernini's art, and he would go on to pursue a variety of possibilities from this position.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p50

Indeed, we can see that there is a window at the top of the sculpture for lighting. In the absence of electricity, the only light sources were fire and sunlight. In such an environment, Bernini succeeded in creating dramatic effects on his sculptures by bringing in outside light. Bernini had already discovered the effect of the spotlight, which is commonplace today. Bernini's overwhelming foresight and imagination are mind-boggling. This lighting effect would later become synonymous with Bernini. This technique is also significant in the sculptures and architecture to be introduced later, so please keep it in your memory.

Bernini began his architectural career with this church. But even from the very first step, he had accomplished a tremendous feat. This church is a must-see to enjoy the first church architecture of the genius Bernini. The church is a bit plain and unobtrusive, but that is why it has its own flavor. Since few tourists visit this church, you can enjoy the wonderful world of Bernini. If you are in Rome, why don't you visit this church?

be unbroken

*The list of articles in the "Rome Travel Journal" can be found atCategory page hereindicates direction or goal (e.g. "to")

*Please visit this category page for recommended books to learn about Rome and Italy.
The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Vatican, and Roman Catholicism."
The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution in Knowledge."

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