(41) The Death of the Genius Bernini: Learning from the Master who Lived and Died as a Good Catholic

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

Travels in Rome] (41) The Death of the Genius Bernini: Learning from the Master who Lived and Died as a Good Catholic

Bernini (1598-1680)Wikipedia.

We have finally come to this point. We have been tracing Bernini's life and looking at his works so far, but Bernini ended his life in 1680 at the age of 81.

That was quite a long life for those days. Moreover, he had the amazing vitality to produce works until the very end of his life.

And, after all, his end was no ordinary one either. He was an overwhelming figure right up to the moment of his death.

In this article, we will look at Bernini's journey to death.

Bernini preparing for a good death.

Thus, Bernini came to his death's door. In his death, Bernini's person, his life, and the society and times in which he lived are all expressed in a concentrated manner. In other words, even in death, Bernini is a perfect embodiment of his time. He accepted death as the most solemn of human destinies, which is why he listened to the teachings of the Jesuits, and why he himself pondered death. But not only that, he prepared everything for a good death. His death as a literal Catholic is the opposite of that of Borromini, who committed suicide on August 2, 1667, by stabbing himself in the side with a sword. It is unfortunate that we do not have time here to discuss the death of Boㇽ Romini in detail, but the deaths of these two geniuses seem to me to be the most striking example of the contrast between the two in every respect.

Once, when Bernini's plans for the Louvre were cancelled, rumors spread, probably from France, that Bernini was contemplating suicide. At that time, Queen Christina wrote in a letter that she did not think Bernini was such a person, and she was absolutely right. She was absolutely right, for Bernini's death was the furthest thing from the concept of suicide.

The death of Bernini was reported in detail by his son Domenico. Domenico was twenty-three years old when his father passed away, so his account seems reliable enough. According to the account, Bernini fell ill in November of 1680, and after suffering from a persistent low-grade fever, he suffered a stroke and died in the early hours of the morning of November 28 of the same year. This is all that can be objectively said about Bernini's death. However, the process of his death had begun long before.

According to Domenico's account, for 40 years, Bernini traveled to Jesu, the headquarters of the Jesuits, to participate in the weekly Friday prayer services organized by the Society of the Good Shepherd and to receive the Eucharist once a week. This association of believers was founded in 1644, and its organization is said to have been influenced by the book "On the Art of Dying a Good Death," published in 1620 by Bellarmino, who was a Jesuit and a renowned theologian (Bellarmino had written a book on the art of dying a good death in his youth in the Jesuits). (As a young man, Bernini created a portrait of Bellarmino for his tomb in the Jezrez. (I did not mention this, but it is a masterpiece of early portraiture, along with the portrait of Montoya.)

It is believed that Bellarmino's book is a reconsideration and reappraisal of The Art of Dying Well, a book that circulated widely throughout Europe from the late fifteenth century onward. There is no doubt that Bellarmino was aware of this 15th century book, which contained both spiritual and practical advice on how to die well, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Moreover, Domenico reports that he often invited his nephew Francesco Marchese, a priest of the Oratorio Society founded by St. Filippo Neri, for in-depth discussions about death. Francesco Marchese was an educated man who wrote more than 20 books, including one titled "Preparation for a Good Death. Bernini was also very perceptive in his responses to religious issues, as Fr. Oliva, the Jesuit chancellor, himself admitted. He thought long and hard about death, discussed it with his nephew, and prepared for his own death by seeking the advice of the Pope himself, Fr.

That Bernini's preparations for death had already reached maturity 10 years before his actual death in 1670 can be inferred from the copperplate engraving "The Blood of Christ" used as the frontispiece for Marchese's "The Sinner's Only Hope," published in the same year. This print depicts Christ on the cross floating in the air, and in this print, His blood is pouring down endlessly, spreading out in an ocean, and the Virgin of Sorrows is also depicted in the image. Although the print looks quite fanatical to our eyes, it is said to be consistent with the religious views of the Good Death Society and his nephew Francis, who emphasized the Eucharistic Mysteries and the Virgin of Sorrows, as well as with the advice in "The Art of Dying a Good Death".

In other words, it is thought that Bernini's production of these prints was part of his preparation for death. In fact, it is said that when he was on his deathbed, he had a painting depicting "The Blood of Christ" placed beside his bed as if it were an altar. It is thought that this work was based on this print. In addition to preparing these paintings, Bernini also attended Mass and, as the advice in "The Art of Dying Good" suggests, worked in charity. But the most astonishing aspect of his preparations for death is that he devised, in consultation with his nephew Francesco, a method of communicating by hand gestures and eye movements in the event that he lost his speech on his deathbed. In fact, Domenico notes that this was used when he was no longer able to speak, and it astonished people. It has been interpreted that Bernini went to such lengths to express his feelings in preparation for his final interrogation, in which he explained the importance of "the art of dying well" for salvation.

The fact that Bernini, in his later years, was constantly thinking about death is proof that he was a good Catholic. At the same time, however, we cannot help but feel how strong a life force Bernini had inside him. And when we see the way he executed his careful death plan, we are reminded of another of his god-given powers, namely, his strong willpower. In short, Bernini was a unique, baroque artist even in death. His death is like a comedy he wrote and performed himself, or a sculpture he carefully prepared with drawings and clay models. It is a death that is typical of Bernini's attempt to dissolve the boundaries between reality and fiction, and between life and art. According to Domenico, when his right hand became paralyzed on his deathbed, Bernini said, "Even before death, it is natural that this arm, which has worked so long in life, should rest a little while longer. And so it was that Bellini ended up on his sickbed for 15 days, and finally received a papal blessing from the Pope's envoy and breathed his last. He was only nine days short of his 82nd birthday on November 28, 1680. His body was found inSanta Maria MaggioreThe family tomb was placed in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where it received many farewell visits before being placed in the family tomb of the same church. The family tomb still remains today in Santa Maria Maggiore, but there is no personal tombstone of Bernini.
*some line breaks.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.P217-221

I know this is a bit long, but what do you think? There was indeed a person who died like this.

We have seen in this travelogue that some have derided Bernini's work as licentious and sensual, but this is clearly not the case when we look at the way he lived and died. In his life, "the life of a good Catholic" was clearly present as something to strive for.

He also frequented the Jesuit Church of Jez, the headquarters of the Jesuits. He also actively discussed death with the high priests there. And he originally wrote the meditation manual of Ignatius de Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus."Reimancy."and Thomas a Kempis'sIn the Footsteps of Christ."also loved and practiced it. For more on this, see.(32) Bernini, who incorporated into his sculptures the meditative techniques of the Jesuit Church of Jez and its founder Ignatius de Loyola's "Spiritual Manipulation."I will not say more here, since I talked about it in the article "The Art of the Artist," but it is clear that he was not simply making art as a business, but was devoting his life as a "good Christian" to his creative work.

and."The way in which he executed his careful death plan with such aplomb reminds us of another of his god-given powers, namely, his strong willpower. After all, even in death, Bernini was a unique and baroque artist."As he told us, "I am still amazed at his extraordinary mental strength.

It was Bernini who possessed an overwhelming scale worthy of being called the king of the Baroque.

Conclusion - "Bernini was born for Rome, and Rome was for Bernini."

In our eyes, Bernini was a truly great genius, blessed with natural skill, creative intelligence, strong will, and concentration, who remained richly creative throughout his life, and who was unparalleled in his ability to express the times in which he lived. In other words, Bernini was the reigning, truly Italian master artist of his time, just as Giotto, Donatello, and Michelangelo had been in the past.

What, then, makes Bernini stand out from other geniuses? In my opinion, it is the richness of his imagination and the excellence of his execution. In fact, his keen sense of the evocative power of images is such that he would undoubtedly have been a great filmmaker or filmmaker had he been born today. Therefore, if we approach Bernini's works without prejudice, we can understand that he was a great experimenter in the visual arts, which in a sense is also applicable to contemporary art.

Bernini also had the good fortune to work on many major projects during his lifetime, but what should be praised here is his extraordinary ability to carry them out and lead them to successful completion. Without this overflowing imagination and superhuman ability to carry out projects, Rome would not have the appeal it has today. Therefore, Bernini's name must continue to be celebrated along with that of the city of Rome. What could be a greater honor for an artist? And when we think of this deep connection between Bernini and Rome, we know that the words of Urbanus VIII were right on the mark. Bernini was born for Rome, and Rome was for Bernini.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.P225

Bernini was born for Rome, and Rome was for Bernini."

We have looked at Bernini's work in more than 20 articles. Bernini created much of Rome's architecture and sculpture, and it is under his influence that Rome as we know it today has taken shape. Without Bernini, the theater city of Rome would not exist.

When we follow Bernini's works, we are sure to see Roman Catholics. And in the distance, the presence of Protestantism, born of Luther's Reformation, can also be seen.

Why was Rome able to become a temple of beauty in the 16th and 17th centuries? The creation of art on such an overwhelming scale as that of St. Peter's Basilica is also related to social conditions on a global scale.

To study Bernini is to study Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, religion, or even human nature itself. By tracing Bernini's dramatic life as an artist, we can see the human world on an overwhelming scale.

Religion is not only religion. I have also reported a little bit about the complicated political situation in the Vatican through this travelogue. This is not only about the Vatican, but also about religion as a whole. I am a priest. As a person involved in religion, I have been thinking about the question of what religion is. In that sense, this trip was very meaningful for me to learn about the religious city of Rome.

I love Rome. Apparently, this one has completely charmed me. Even as I write this article, I am already feeling the itch to revisit.

Rome is by far a wonderful city that can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge. However, if you know the history behind the city, you will surely enjoy it even more.

If this travelogue can help in this regard, I would be more than happy to do so.

I am Masumi Ishinabe'sAs Long as St. Peter's Stands: My Guide to Rome.to accompany him on his travels around Rome. And as for BerniniBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.I read the two books over and over again, as if I were sucking on them. These two books are the best guidebooks for sightseeing in Rome. I highly recommend them to everyone.

Recommended books about Rome and the Renaissance are listed in the following category pages for those interested.

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Vatican, and Roman Catholicism
The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution of Knowledge

Now, I would like to conclude this travelogue by considering the theme of this travelogue in the next article, "What would Dostoevsky think of Rome as a theater city?

be unbroken

Next Article.

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

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

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