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Bernini: Sculpting in Clayby Ian Wardropper
Synopses & Reviews
The brilliantly expressive clay models created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598and#8211;1680) as "sketches" for his works in marble offer extraordinary insights into his creative imagination. Although long admired, the terracotta models have never been the subject of detailed examination. This publication presents a wealth of new discoveries (including evidence of the artist's fingerprints imprinted on the clay), resolving lingering issues of attribution while giving readers a vivid sense of how the artist and his assistants fulfilled a steady stream of monumental commissions. Essays describe Bernini's education as a modeler; his approach to preparatory drawings; his use of assistants; and the response to his models by 17th-century collectors. Extensive research by conservators and art historians explores the different types of models created in Bernini's workshop. Richly illustrated, Bernini transforms our understanding of the sculptor and his distinctive and fascinating working methods.
"To know and understand the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 — 1680), it is not enough to look at his finished sculptures. The thesis of this monumental art book is that Bernini's clay models and drawings reveal an even greater genius. Because Bernini was such a skilled modeler, his preparatory work shows a liveliness that is not only helpful in understanding the finished work, but also shows advanced technical and design acumen. As a scholarly study of artistic process, the book is thorough and well organized, including equal shares of history and biography, art criticism, reception studies, historiography, and curatorial practice. As a catalogue of Bernini's models, the book is equally as exhaustive, with enlarged photographs of key details, such as 'striations from dry brush smoothing' or finger marks that indicate Bernini's fast and free style. The catalogue entries go so far as to include X-ray images that reveal the interior structure and density of the models. One of the most important questions that the book attempts to answer is one of attribution — what work was done by Bernini, what work was done by assistants in his studio, and which pieces may be wrongly attributed to the artist? The detective work can be both tedious and fascinating, and this obsessive book both suffers and shines as a result. 472 illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
C. D. Dickerson III is curator of European Art at the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth. Anthony Sigel is conservator of objects and sculpture at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums. Ian Wardropper is director of The Frick Collection, New York.
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