Bernini: His Life And His Rome by Franco MormandoBernini: His Life And His Rome by Franco Mormando

Bernini: His Life And His Rome

byFranco Mormando

Paperback | April 2, 2013

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Sculptor, architect, painter, playwright, and scenographer, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) was the last of the great universal artistic geniuses of early modern Italy, placed by both contemporaries and posterity in the same exalted company as Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. And his artistic vision remains palpably present today, through the countless statues, fountains, and buildings that transformed Rome into the Baroque theater that continues to enthrall tourists today.
It is perhaps not surprising that this artist who defined the Baroque should have a personal life that itself was, well, baroque. As Franco Mormando’s dazzling biography reveals, Bernini was a man driven by many passions, possessed of an explosive temper and a hearty sex drive, and he lived a life as dramatic as any of his creations. Drawing on archival sources, letters, diaries, and—with a suitable skepticism—a hagiographic account written by Bernini’s son (who portrays his father as a paragon of virtue and piety), Mormando leads us through Bernini’s many feuds and love affairs, scandals and sins. He sets Bernini’s raucous life against a vivid backdrop of Baroque Rome, bustling and wealthy, and peopled by churchmen and bureaucrats, popes and politicians, schemes and secrets.
The result is a seductively readable biography, stuffed with stories and teeming with life—as wild and unforgettable as Bernini’s art. No one who has been bewitched by the Baroque should miss it.

Franco Mormando is associate professor of Italian at Boston College and the author of several books.
Title:Bernini: His Life And His RomeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:456 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:April 2, 2013Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022605523X

ISBN - 13:9780226055237


Table of Contents

Preface: The First English-Language Biography of Bernini
     Website Information
     Money, Wages, and Cost of Living in Baroque Rome

1. The Neapolitan Meteor
     A Twelve-Year-Old Pregnant Bride
     We Pause to Talk about Our Sources
     Childhood in a “Paradise Inhabited by Demons”
     Moving on Up: To Rome, 1606
     Falling in Love with the Boy Bernini
     “I Beg You to Dissimulate”
     Bernini Comes of Age
     “Why Shouldn’t Cardinal Scipione’s Penis Get What It Wants?”
     The Tender and the True
     Bernini Rejoices

2. Impresario Supreme
     “Pretty-Beard Urban”
     “The Michelangelo of His Age”
     Fire Is Never a Gentle Master
     “What the Barbarians Didn’t Do, the Barberini Did”
     “The Cupola Is Falling!”
     Head of the Clan
     An Encounter with Death
     Bernini Slashes a Lover’s Face
     Bernini Purchases a Bride
     “Making What Is Fake Appear Real”
     “To Our England Your Glorious Name”
     For Whom the Bell Tolls, or Not

3. Bernini’s Agony and Ecstasy
     A Universal Father So Coarse and So Deformed
     Bernini Sinks and Teresa Floats
     “Not Only Prostrate, But Prostituted as Well”
     “Unless Moved by Something Extraordinary That They See”
     La Pimpaccia to the Rescue
     A Heroic Bust for a Mousy Princeling
     The Papal Corpse Left to Rot

4. Bernini and Alexander
     The Dream Team: Pope and Architect
     “She’s a Hermaphrodite, They Say”
     Bubonic Plague, Yet Again
     A Jewel for the Jesuits
     Final Act of the Bernini-Borromini Rivalry

5. A Roman Artist in King Louis’s Court
     Bernini Becomes a Political Pawn
     Over the Alps in a Sedan Chair
     “Speak to Me of Nothing Small!”
     Bernini Weeps
     “A Plague Take That Bastard!”
     The Long, Troubled Aftermath

6. “My Star Will Lose Its Ascendancy”
     A Brief Sigh of Relief
     The Stoning of Casa Bernini
     Sodomy behind the Statue(s)
     “That Dragon Vomiting Poison in Every Direction”
     Queen Christina Lends Her Name to a Hoax
     An Occasional Round of Applause
     “Cover Those Breasts!”
     “The Cupola Is Falling (Again)!”
     Not with a Bang, But a Whimper
     Works Cited

Editorial Reviews

"Like the finely crafted artwork, Franco Mormando's biography of Bernini is outstanding."