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Bernini, the Pope and Death

Exhibition May 28 − November 21, 2021
Dresden Old Masters Art Gallery holds an exhibition "Bernini, the Pope and Death".

The great sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) left an indelible mark on Rome with his buildings and fountains. His famous sculptures became the epitome of Baroque. During his life, Bernini worked for eight popes, but his ties with Alexander VII of Chigi were particularly close. For him he created not only the colonnades of St. Peter's Square or his monumental tomb, but also very intimate works of art. One of these was previously thought to have been lost, but it has now been rediscovered in the sculpture collection, a fascinating find with a fascinating history.

An unusual masterpiece is an extremely impressive life-size skull made of white Carrara marble. It is designed so realistically that it could almost be mistaken for a real human skull. This skull was commissioned by Bernini to Alexander VII immediately after his election as Pope in 1655 and has remained with him on his desk ever since to remind him of the fragility of human existence. After Alexander VII's death, the skull passed into the possession of his nephew, who was an important collector of antiquities. In 1728 this collection, which remained in the possession of the Chigi family, was bought by Augustus the Strong. Thus 164 ancient sculptures and four modern works came to Dresden.

Prepared according to the materials of the website Old Masters Picture Gallery.