A painter and architect in his own right, Bernini’s greatest architectural achievement – according to the Encyclopedia Britannica – was “Bernini’s greatest architectural achievement is the colonnade enclosing the piazza before St. Peter’s Basilica” . His self portraits as a young and mature man number among some of the most famous paintings in the world.
His fame prompted King Louis XIV of France to invite him to Paris, where he stayed from April 1655 to November of that year. He soon lost favor with the French court, however, when he praised the art and architecture of Italy over that of France. His output from his stay in Paris was thus negligible. There is of course, ample scope for scholars to impact and relevance of Bernini’s visit to France. Would a prolonged stay by Bernini have affected the movement of art in France? Did he usually flatter his hosts?
Son of Pietro Bernini and Angelica Galante, Gianlorenzo Bernini was an exceptional sculptor, painter and architect. Born in Naples in 1598, his skill as a painter was recognized by Pope Paul V when he was only seven. His father lent him the teachings to turn him into a fine sculptor, and very soon the young boy earned himself the patronage of Pope Paul V. Thus, he began sculpting under the influence of the Vatican. His sculptures depicted his strong influence from the Greek and Roman sculptures in the Vatican; as a result, for a large part of his life, Bernini’s sculptures were influenced by the Hellenistic era.
His earlier works attracted the patronage of the great Borghese family.