(38) Angel of Ponte Sant'Angelo by Bernini in his later years - a famous sculpture now in the collection of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte Church.

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

Travels in Rome] (38) The Angel of Ponte Sant'Angelo by Bernini in his later years - a famous sculpture now in the collection of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte Church.

I would like to introduce two angel statues installed on the Ponte Sant'Angelo in front of Castel Sant'Angelo.

Castel Sant'Angelo and Ponte Sant'Angelo

This spot is known as one of Rome's most famous landmarks, but in fact, Bernini's work was also found here.

In this article, I will talk about such angel statues by Bernini.

Let us first look at how the angel statue was created.

The new Pope Clement IX and Bernini in his later years

Bernini had served five popes, and he would spend the remainder of his life under three more. The first was Giulio Rospigliosi, or Clement IX. Like Urbanus VIII and Alexander VII, Clement IX was a Tuscan from Pistoia, and like these two popes, who became Bernini's greatest patrons, he was also a cultured man of poetic talent. He was especially famous for his operas, for which he wrote the scripts. The famous opera "San Talessio," which was performed at the Barberini Palace in February 1632, was composed by Stefano Landi from a libretto by him. He also wrote many other important plays. So, when a new pope was born, the scribes of Rome, who were always harsh in their criticism of the new pontiff, were unanimous in their praise of his enthronement and welcomed him as if he were the return of the Golden Age. Unfortunately, this "golden age" lasted only two years.

Giulio Rospigliosi was once a member of the literary group around the Barberini family. The common belief that Bellini was in charge of the stage design of his operas is denied today, and it is said that Bellini participated in only a small part of the productions. However, it is said that the Pope was naturally close to Bellini and invited his old friend of 30 years to the Pontifical Palace on the day of his accession to the throne. Clement IX, like Urbanus VIII and Alexander VII, occasionally invited Bernini to dine with him or to see his works in his studio. The following episodes show the intimacy between the two men.

At the time of his accession to the throne, the pope was not much older than sixty-seven, but he was frail and suffered from insomnia. He wanted to fall asleep by listening to the sound of water from the fountain in the courtyard of the Belvedere, so he ordered Bernini to devise a way for him to hear the sound of water. However, this was impossible, even for Bernini, so he devised a plan: he built a contraption next to the Pope's bedchamber in which a wheel struck a paper ball to produce the sound. Satisfied with the device, the Pope praised Bernini as a genius not only in big things but also in small ones, and when he met him the next day, he affectionately said, "Indeed, my Knight Bernini, I never expected to be deceived by you on the first day of my reign.
*some line breaks.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p191-192
Clement IX (reigned 1667-1669)Wikipedia.

As you can see in this portrait, he is very intelligent and brightly talented. Even after the death of his strongest patron, Alexander VII, Bernini was able to establish a good relationship with the new pope, who understood art.

It was the Ponte Sant'Angelo that was ordered by the Pope to be built.

Construction of Sant'Angelo Bridge and Bernini's Angel Statue

At the time of Clement IX's accession to the throne, work on St. Peter's Square was still ongoing. While continuing this work, the Pope's first task was the improvement and decoration of the Ponte San Tangelo. At the time, San Tangelo Bridge was the only bridge connecting the Vatican and the city. Therefore, pilgrims who came to Rome from all over the world usually crossed the San Tangelo Bridge via Via Coronari, a street lined with souvenir shops and rosary shops (coronari means rosary shop, and this street is famous today for its antique shops), and then passed through the Borgo district to visit St. Peter's. The emperor Hadrian had a long history of visiting St. Peter's. Originally, this bridge, which was named Ponte Elio and led to Hadrian's Mausoleum (later fortified and called Castel Sant'Angelo, or Castle of the Holy Angels), was once decorated with Stucco's sculptures during the visit of King Carl V in 1536.

At the time of Clement IX's accession to the throne, however, the bridge had no other decorations, except for the unsympathetic statues of St. Paul and St. Peter placed at its entrance in 1534. Clement IX, therefore, decorated the bridge with an angel worthy of its name and had the angel carry a symbol of the Passion of Christ, thus making it "the bridge of the world.the path of one's sufferingWea Crucis.Let's make it "the tomb of St. Peter," and it will bethe episcopal seatcathedraA good pilgrimage to(musical) introductionintroductionThe first thing he thought was that this must be the case.

The angels adorning the Ponte di San Tangelo were to be made in a total of 10 statues. Bernini was in charge of the entire production, creating two of the ten statues himself and entrusting the remaining eight to eight sculptors who were active in Kuchma at the time. The angels are each crowned with a pillar, a rod, and a thorn,holy face clothWirth Santo.The angel is holding a robe, dice, nails, cross, INRI inscription, a sponge, and a spear, all symbols of the Passion. Of these, Bellini produced the angel with the INRI inscription and the angel with the crown of thorns.

However, the two angels were never placed on the bridge. The reason is that the Pope, who came to see the work at Bernini's workshop, probably before it was completed, could not bear to expose it to the elements, so he had it replaced by a copy. Thus, the statue on the bridge today is a copy made by a disciple. The biographer tells us that Bernini, however, wishing to preserve some of his own work, made his own copy of the angel with the two inscriptions. In fact, this statue is more than a mere copy; it far surpasses the others, both in its general appearance and in the expression on its ecstatic face.

These angels of the Ponte di San Tangelo were created with the intention that people would look up at the statues as they crossed the bridge. Therefore, unlike other sculptures by Bellini, they do not have a specific point of view. These statues transform subtly and dynamically as they walk, and yetpillared corridorcolonnateThe saint's image, like that of the saints in the "Saints of the World" series, was designed to stand out against the blue sky. The fact that the effect of looking up from below was taken into consideration when creating this work is clearly shown by the fact that, for example, the columns of the angels are conical rather than cylindrical. The decoration of the Ponte di San Tangelo confirms once again Bellini's extraordinary sense of the work and its environment, or, in today's terms, his talent as an "environmental artist.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p193-194

Indeed, the undulation of the robe and the look of ecstasy in "Angel with the INRI Inscription" on the left feels like Bernini.

Ponte Sant'Angelo from Castel Sant'Angelo

Still, the term "environmental artist" that appears at the end of the above commentary is very impressive. Baldacchino and "Cathedra Petri" in St. Peter's Basilica were also works that involved the entire space, and it seems that this is exactly what can be said of this angel statue.

The quality of Bernini's angels is so high that the Pope's decision to leave them out in the open is truly wonderful. This episode truly shows the Pope's understanding of art and his affection for Bernini.

Bernini's original angel statue placed in the church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte

The two angels that were replaced by copies were supposed to be taken to the palazzo of the Pope's family, the Rospigliosi, but for some reason they remained in Bernini's family after his death, and in 1729 his descendants donated them to the church opposite his house, San Tandrea degli Fratte, where they remain today. The statues are still placed today in the nave of the church on a high pedestal. These works of art are,folds of a kimonodraperyThe surface of the statue has been carefully finished and polished. In other words, these statues were designed from the beginning to be placed indoors.

Bernini once told Chantreau that his works were the result of God's grace. In his later years, he became more religious than ever before. He tried to translate his thoughts of God into marble sculpture, his vocation, as he contemplated God's will, death, and the peace of mind that he longed for. He therefore went about his work with the same rigorous attitude as before. This is reflected in his request to the Pope for permission to do some work on the Sabbath.

Bernini's state of mind in his later years is well reflected in these two angelic figures. They dramatically express the pain of contemplating the Passion of Christ and the mystery satisfied by it, but their expression is more serene and self-contained than before.

And although it may seem somewhat surprising given their religious nature, these two works also originated from the study of ancient sculpture. As I have repeatedly said, the suggestion that ancient works should be used as models is not just a theory, but something that Bellini himself had practiced. In this case, the extant Bodgett (Clay studyclay modelFrom the drawings and the paintings, it is clear that Bernini first considered the basic form of nudes based on ancient works, and then added the folds of the garment in pursuit of a form that would suit his own will.

In the case of the angel with the inscription, the first drawing of the nude form was based on the ancient work "Antinous," which was one of his most respected works. It is to this sculpture, which became a bible, so to speak, for the sculptor who had just begun his career, that he now returns at the age of seventy. Of course, the proportions of the angel are different from those of the male figure in "Antinous," but the difference in physical expression between the two recalls something Bernini said in Paris.

In other words, he says that when drawing a model, the legs should be long, the shoulders wide for men and narrow for women, and the feet small. He also points out the importance of the so-called "contraposto," saying that "most men, unless they are very old, put their weight on only one of their legs. In other words, in creating this angelic figure, Bernini started with the proportions and contrasts of "Antinous" and gradually brought it closer to a physical expression appropriate for an angel, and then added to it the suggestion of an inner life.folds of a kimonodraperyThe procedure was to make the final form by adding

With such careful preparation, Bernini knew exactly what he had to do when he set to work on the marble. Of the two figures thus completed, the inscribed angel, in particular, is, in my opinion, one of the most deeply affecting of Bernini's many works.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p195-196

The church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, with two statues of angels by Bernini, is located in an area close to Piazza di Spagna.

And right across the street from this church is Bernini's house.

I had heard about it, but it was so right in front of my eyes that I was extremely surprised.

Now let's go inside the church.

When I first entered this church, it was just time for evening prayer, and this cathedral was filled to capacity with believers praying. I heard that this church is still a place of faith for the citizens of Rome. Therefore, the atmosphere is quite different from other touristy churches. I refrained from taking pictures at that time, so these are the pictures I took when I revisited the church later.

Two angel statues are enshrined near the central altar.

Indeed, the quality of the angel statue seen in the original was completely different. The polished finish and the vibrancy of the garments are something else. In particular, "The Angel with the Inscription of INRI" can only be described as a masterpiece. Bernini's skill has not diminished at all even in his later years. In fact, it seems that his sophistication has even increased.

And strangely enough, for some reason, these two angel statues reminded me of the Wind God and Thunder God of Sanjusangendo in Kyoto. Perhaps the miraculous rippling of the angels' robes reminded me of my favorite wind god and thunder god.

And as I was passing the time idly in this church, I suddenly had a thought.

I thought that these angels must be happy to be placed in this church, which is cherished as a stronghold of faith.

I thought that this statue, which is strongly imprinted with Bernini's religious beliefs, would be more useful in a church like this than as a work of art or as a tourist attraction.

Among Bernini's sculptures, this angel statue may have a unique position. This church is close to Plaza de España, so why not visit it?

be unbroken

*The following photos are my Bernini notes. I hope you will find them useful.

*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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