The Influence of the Laocoon in Bernini's Neptune and Triton Name: Institution: The Influence of the Laocoon in Bernini's Neptune and Triton Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a highly influential architect in Rome. He was the most creative and brilliant Baroque sculptor whose art was rated as high as Michelangelo’s art…
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For this reason, his influence was widespread in the 17th and 18th century. Apart from being a sculptor, Bernini was also gifted as a stage set designer, an architect, funeral trappings and painter among others1. Bernini’s art was highly influenced by the ancient Roman and Greek art and the Italian masters of the 16th century. Among some of his most celebrated sculptures include the Ecstasy of St. Theresa in Santa Maria Della Victoria, the Neptune and Triton sculptor and the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni in San Francesco among others. In 1622 to 1623, Bernini created the Neptune and Triton, which portrays the life-size figure of Neptune and the sea-god Triton (Pollitt, 1990) 2. Thus, this paper will examine the influence of Laocoon on the carving technique of Bernini’s Neptune and Triton sculpture, and how this sculpture has an emotional power through facial expression and body language. Bernini began learning art at an early age from his father who was also a sculptor. At seven years, his family moved to Rome where they worked for the Barberini and Borghese families. This gave him a chance to learn to sculpt even further, and at the age of eight, he made his first authenticated work: The Goat Amalthea with an infant Jupiter and a Faun, which was a considerable achievement for a boy his age. Boardman states that Bernini was able to absorb the realism of Caravaggio that was the basis of all his art, and always sought full verisimilitude in his figures, which retained the classical art features of the previous period 3. The great influence of Greek art in his work was such that one of his works was classified as Hellenistic from 300 BC. Bernini expected so much from himself as well as his assistants. His work shows a level of virtuosity in his ability to carve marble, and to assemble it together from several blocks in order to produce an effect of realism. Additionally, he thought in terms of settings just like Michelangelo and intended his art to be seen from one viewpoint only. Thus, Virgil argues that Bernini made his marble appear real through shouting, speaking, laughing, screaming and even sighing4. For instance, the statue of the damned soul, which is a three dimensional horror from a Caravaggio scene of terror, appears to emit blood which shows fear2. Moreover, Bernini’s statue of David is portrays how David was able to use every muscle in the body to slay the giant. The grim of his jaw reflects how he is straining and sweating as he tries to slay the giant. Thus, these features make Bernini’s statue of David quite distinct from those created by Verrocchio, Donatello and Michelangelo. It portrays sculptural realism taken to greater heights by Bernini. During his youth, Bernini studied the works of Raphael and Michelangelo, but his work was influenced more by the Hellenistic sculpture and the Roman sculpture in the Hellenistic tradition. This classical art helped him to develop a more powerful dynamic and fluid style that characterized his art. According to Boardman, his stylistic work in art was inspired by contemporary paintings such as the Guido Reni and the carraci that were made by Caravaggio 5. Bernini’s art was based entirely on the baroque style in which he was able to achieve a maximum drama and movement of change. Baroque art was influenced and inspired by political and social factors, as well as exploration and discovery of the
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