ST PETER'S IN THE VATICAN
Bernini at St. Peter's
by Irving Lavin, 2005

From the book "St. Peter's in the Vatican," edited by William Tronzo, Cambridge University Press 2005
This text is in copyright. No reproduction of any part may take place without
written permission of Cambridge University Press.

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Altars
Monuments
Chronology

Preamble
ST PETER'S AS SUMMA ECCLESIARUM
THE APSE AND CROSSING
THE HIGH ALTAR

BALDACHINS AND CIBORIA
THE BALDACCHINO (1624-35)
BORROMINI AND THE BALDACCHINO
A NEGLECTED PROTOTYPE OF BERNINI'S BALDACCHINO

PAIRED TOMBS
THE TOMB OF URBAN VIII (1627-47)
THE CROSSING PIERS (1627-41)
THE NAVE: CONTINUITY
"FEED MY SHEEP" (1633-46)

MATILDA OF TUSCANY (1633-44)

THE NAVE DECORATION (1647-8)
INGRESS AND EGRESS
THE PIAZZA AND COLONNADES (1656-67)
CATHEDRA PETRI (1657-66)
THE CONSTANTINE AND SCALA REGIA (1662-70)
THE TOMB OF ALEXANDER VII (1671-78)
THE PONTE SANT'ANGELO AND
CASTEL SANT'ANGELO (1667-71)
PREHISTORY

The Plague
BERNINI'S WAY OF SALVATION
List of Angels on Ponte Sant'Angelo

CONSUMMATION
THE SACRAMENT ALTAR (1673-5)
THE CHURCH, THE CITY, AND THE ARTIST
ROMA ALLESSANDRINA: URBAN UNITY, PUBLIC WELFARE, AND UNIVERSAL CHRISTIAN CHARITY

THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (1669-70)
APPENDIX 2 - LIST OF POPES DURING BERNINI'S LIFETIME

 

 

 

BERNINI AT ST. PETER'S

Singularis in Singulis, in Omnibus Unicus

Irving Lavin

Notes

This essay is a revised and expanded version of one published in Pinelli 2000, where full biography and a detailed catalogue by various authors will be found. The text of this version has benefited from the attentive editing of Mary Elizabeth Lewis and the exemplary research assistance of Uta Nitschke-Stumpf.

1
Baldinucci 1966, 10f. "Avvenni un giorno, ch'e' si trovo col celebratissimo Anibal Caracci ed altri virtuosi nella basilica di S. Pietro e gia avean tutti soddisfatto alla lor divozione, quando nell' uscir di chiesa quel gran maestro, voltatosi verso la tribuna, cosi parlo: 'Credete a me, che egli ha pure da venire, quando che sia, un qualche prodigioso ingegno, che in quel messo e in quel fondo ha da far due gran moli proporzionate alla vastita di questo tempio.' Tanto basto e non piu, per far si che il Bernino tutto ardesse per desiderio di condursi egli a tanto; e non potendo raffrenare gl'interni impulsi, disse col piu nella sua propria persona si avvero cosi appunto come noi a suo tempo diremo, parlando delle mirabili opere, che egli per quei luoghi condusse" (Baldinucci 1948, 75f.).
2
The sometimes fractious and surprisingly arbitrary operations of the administrative authorities in the naming and decoration of the altars of the new basilica may now be savored in the careful study by Rice 1997. The fiasco of Bernini's bell towers has been exposed in detail by McPhee 2002.
3
Motto of a portrait medal of Bernini commissioned in 1674 in his honor by Louis XIV (Baldinucci 1948, 126f.; Bernini 1713, 147; see Tommaso Montanari in Bernardini and Fagiolo dell'Arco 1999, 302f.). I have taken the liberty of transposing to the multiplicity and unity of Bernini's work at St Peter's the sense of the motto on the reverse of the medal, where it is accompanied by emblems of the three arts, painting, sculpture, and architecture (and mathematics). Bernini excelled in all three, but was considered the first to have merged them into a "bel composto" (for which we see p. 230)
After this preamble was written I (re)discovered the following passage in Rudolph Wittkower's fundamental monograph on Bernini's sculpture (1997, 120f.): "during the execution of this extraordinary amount of work, covering the span of almost two generations and for its physical extent alone, probably unmatched in the history of art ... Though undertaken without a premeditated comprehensive programme, Bernini's work in and around St Peter's embodies more fully the spirit of the Catholic Restoration and, implicitly, that of the Baroque age, than any other complex of works of art in Europe." An overview of Bernini's work at St Peter's by Damian Dumbrowski (2003) appeared too late to be taken into account here.
4
A tradition universally accepted since the Middle Ages held that the bodies of both St Peter and St Paul had been divided; half of each had been deposited at Saint Peter's, the other two halves at Saint Paul's Outside the Walls (Lavin 1968, 1).
5
On this understanding of the Cathedral of Florence and its relevance for St Peter's, see Lavin 1999b.
6
This phenomenon has been amply studied by Hall 1979
7
Paul's solution at St Peter's - a "temporary" baldachin over the tomb altar and a ciborium toward the apse - took up proposals made under Clement VIII fo the Lateran, where the matter of visibility, mainly of the new Sacrament tabernacle and altar in the transept, was also paramount. See Lavin 1984, 407ff., and Frieberg 1995, 52f.,181f., 310.
8
On this metaphorical sense of the material and process of bronze casting, see the illuminating paper by Cole 1999.
9
The passage is quoted and discussed in Lavin 1968, 11ff.
10
On Urban's election, see Lavin, "Bernini's Bumbling Barberini Bees" (1999), 63. The subject has been admirably explored in these connections by Scott 1991, 180-6, who scrupulously acknowledges (185n28) my calling his attention to the miracle of the bees and its relevance to the vault fresco by Pietro da Cortona.
11
The use of full-scale models, especially by Bernini, has been the subject of a series of excellent studies by Bauer, most recently, "Bernini and the Baldacchino" and "Arguing Authority in Late Renaissance Architecture" (both 1996).
12
Baldinucci 1966, 17: "Bernini used to say that it was by chance that his work came out so well, implying that under such a great dome and in such a vast space and among such massive piers, artistic skill alone could never arrive at suitable dimensions and proportions, although, on the contrary, the artist's genius and mind could envisage the appropriate dimensions without the help of any rules." (Baldinucci 1948, 83: "Soleva dire il savaliere che quest'opera era riuscita bene a caso, volendo inferire che l'arte stessa non poteva mai sotto una si gran cupola ed in ispazio si vasto, e fra moli di eccedente grandezza dare una misura e proporzione che benne adeguasse, ove l'ingegno e la mente dell'artefice, tale quale essa misurea doveva essere, sens'altra regola concepire non sapesse.")
Bernini 1713, 39, repeats the same phrase about chance, and adds, p. 40: "Considero, che in un tratto cosi smisurato di spazio, vana sarebbe stata la diligenza delle misure, che malamente potevano concordare col tutto di quel Tempio; onde facendo di mestiere uscir dalle Regole dell'Arte, difficilmente vi acconsentiva per timore di perdersi senza guida. Tuttavia accordo cosi bene quelle repugnanze, che nel dar loro la proporzione, seppe uscir dalle Regole senza violarle, anzi egli stesso da se trovo quella misura, che invano si cerca nelle Regole."

13
Burbaum 1999, 279, 283.
14
Thelen, Zur Entstehungsgeschichte (1967) and Borromini (1967); Burbaum 1999, 71. It is indicative that in his monograph on the high altar of St Peter's and the Baldacchino, Thelen nowhere cites the crucial statement by Borromini himself (see n. 17 below) in its entirety and in its context; and that the author of another recent monograph on the Baldacchino has taken the incredible step of dividing between the two artists a sheet of sketches showing an organic evolution of the design for the crown (our Fig. 128 is the recto), which has universally been regarded as Bernini's handiwork, by both Bernini and Borromini scholars (Kirwin 1997, 161). An important contribution to the whole subject of the conceptualization and realization of the Baldacchino is that by Bauer, "Bernini and the Baldacchino" (1996).
15
One drawing by Borromini that might be described as a study but in no sense a sketch, confirms the principle, since it was made, as the inscriptions indicate, not for purposes of design but in preparation for the perspective renderings that are justly famous: at the left of the sheet is a perspective grid giving the distance from the projected point ("distanza dal centro della vista"), at the right a longitudinal section of the choir and crossing, with dimensions (Thelen, Borromini, 82-4).
16
D'Onofrio 1969, 13, 14, 15, 57, 67, 69, 80, 220, 282.
17
Fioravante Martinelli, Romma ornata dal'architettura, pittura, e scoltura, Rome, Bibl. Casanatense, MS 4984, 201 (D'Onofrio 1969, 158, incomplete; for identifications, corrections, and discussion of this passage, see Lavin 1968, 11f., 47):
It was the thought of Paul V to cover with a baldachin the high altar of St Peter's, with a richness appropriate to the opening made to the confession and sepulcher of the saint. Whereupon Carlo Maderno presented a design with spiral columns; but the baldachin did not touch the columns or their cornice. After the death of Paul the project remained on paper until the pontificate of Urban VII, who instructed Carlo to allow Bernini to execute the work. Celio, perhaps not fully informed, published that it was the invention of Divine judgment (that is, the Pope), carried out by Bernini. Vincenzo Berti, in a manuscript in the possession of Monsignor Landucci, Sacristan of Our Father Alexander VII, and one who for his eminent virtues is very worthy of a higher position, has written that the design was by Bernini's brother-in-law Ciampelli; I do not know if this is true; but he did not agree with Bernini about the decoration, etc., and said that baldachins are not supported on columns but on staves, and that the baldachin should not run together with the cornice of the columns, and in any case he wanted to show that it was held up by angels. And he added that it was a chimera.
The passage occurs as a marginal correction to the original text, canceled but decipherable, which attributes the design to Bernini: "The metal ciborium with twisted spiral columns is the design of the Cav. Bernini, and the casting by Gregorio de Rossi of Rome. But the Cav. Celio writes that it is the invention of Holy Judgment carried out by Bernini. Vincenzo Berti, in a manuscript in the possession of Monsignor Landucci, Sacristan of Our Father, wrote that it was the design of Bernini's brother-in-law Ciampelli." (Ciampelli was certainly not Bernini's brother-in-law.)
Fu pensiero di Paolo V coprire con baldacchino l'altar maggior di S. Pietro con ricchezza proportionata all'apertura fatta alla confessione e sepolcro di d.o Onde Carlo Maderno gli presento un disegno con colonne a vite; ma it baldacchino non toccava le colonne, ne il lor cornicione: sopragionse la morte di Pauolo, e resto l'op.a sul disegno sin al ponteficato di Urbano VIII. il quale disse al d.o Carlo si contentasse, che il Bernino facesse d.a opera. Il Cavalier Celio, forse non ben informato del tutto, stampo essere inventione di Santiss.o giuditio (cioe del Papa) messo in opera dal d.o Bernini. Vincenzo Berti manoscritto appresso Mons.r Landucci Sacrista di N'ro Sig.re Alessandro VII e p le sue eminenti virtudi disnissimo di grado superiore, ha scritto, esser disegno del Ciampelli cognato del d.o Bernini, il che non so se sia vero; ma si bene non concorreva con d.o Bernini circa l'abbigliam.ti et altro; e deceva, che il Baldacchini non si sostengono con le colonne, ma con l'haste, et che il baldacchio non ricor(r)a assieme con la cornice dele colone, et in ogni modo voleva mostrare che lo reggono li Angeli: e soggiongeva che era una chimera.
Il Ciborio con colonne di metallo istorte a vite dell'altar maggiore e disegno del Cav. Bernini, et il getto e di Gregorio de Rossi Rom.o Ma il Cav.re Celio scrive essere inventione di santissimo giuditio messo in opera dal d,o Cav.re. Vincenzo Berti manoscritto appresso monsig.re Landucci sacrista di N. S.re ha lasciato scritto esser disegno del Ciampelli cognato di d.o Bernini.
Here is a recent egregious example of tendentious obfuscation of Borromini's text, in this case by simply omitting the words that expressly interdict the author's interpretation: "Fioravante Martinelli (1660) sostiene, su indicazione del Borromini, che Carlo Maderno avrebbe suggerito la soluzione di un baldacchino sorretto da quattro colonne tortili gia negli ultimi anni del pontificato di Paolo V: 'fupensiero di Paolo V coprire con baldacchino l'altar maggiore (...) Onde Carlo Maderno gli presento un disegno con colonne a vite (...)'" (Tuzi 2003, 186).
Bernini may have been returning the chimera barb years later when, discussing Borromini and architecture, he remarked that "a sculptor or painter took the human body as his standard of proportion; Borromini must take a chimaera for his" (Chantelou 1985, 326, 22 October).
18
Ward Perkins 1952, 32 ("The bases and Ionic capitals are carved separately, but may be contemporary"; no reference to the inscribed plinths).
19
The columns were in fact willed to the church of S. Carlo by Filippo Colonna in 1639 (Tomassetti 1975-7, III, 616na).
20
Mauceri 1898, 382n2. The earliest reference to the provenance of the columns is by Teoli 1648,170f.: "Il Signor Conestabile Don Filippo Colonna ha donato a questa Chiesa [S. Carlo] due Colonne del famoso Tempio di Salomone, quali furono donate al Sig. Marc'Antonio Colonna, quando fu Generale dell'Armata Nauale per Santa Chiesa, al tempo di Pio Quinto Sommo Pontefice," followed by Piazza 1703, 228; and Tomassetti 1898, 216 (also 1975-7, III 616), who adds that they came from San Lorenzo: "Da quest'antica ed importante chiesa provengono due nobili monumenti della scultura italica del sesto secolo, cioe due candelabri marmorei scolpiti in rilievo; e che ora si ammirano nella moderna chiesa di s.Carlo ..."
21
As described by Pastor 1923-53, SVIII, 380f. The visionary motto is quoted in the crossing pier above the figure of Saint Helen, who brought back a relic of the Cross from Jerusalem, and it was a crucial feature of Bernini's later portrayal of the equestrian Constantine.
22
This acute observation was made by Sartorio 1927-8, 600; on the medal, see Lavin 1968, 13f.
23
The document was first published by Minieri Riccio 1882, 260: "Cum velimus Columpnas duas mormoreas nulli edificio adherentes sed olim in solo terre Sancte Marie di Monte iacentes ... per nos Monasterio Sancti Corporis Christi quod Neapoli cosituitur opus quidem nostrarum manuum et Sancie Regine Jerusalem et Sicilie consortis nostre carissime donates"; the order for shipment follows. The Naples columns have been discussed recently, although not in relation to Bernini's Baldacchino, by Leone de Castris (1986, 144-6; 1993) and Tuzi (2003, 94f.).
24
Gonzaga 1587, 144, describing the high altar: "...elegantissime exornatur: Praecipue vero duabus marmoreis columnis que ex amplissimo Salomonis templo allatae feruntur" (cited by Maresca 1888, 116). The Solomonic origin of the columns was repeated by the Franciscan historian Luke Wadding, describing the four-column high altar of S. Chiara.
25
Ward Perkins 1952, 26, concluded that the shafts of the Naples columns were ancient oriental imports and form a group with those at St Peter's; he does not discuss the capitals or bases, except to note that they are medieval (26n26).
26
"Cum pro castro, quod aput s.Mariam de Monte fieri volumus ..." (for the foregoing, see Huber 1997, esp. 49 and n. 31).
27
Minieri Riccio 1882, 260n4, and Mauceri 1898, 382, note the Swabian symbolism of the eagle capitals.
28
See Josephus, The Jewish War VII, 158-62. Josephus 1968, III, 550-3
29
Dell'Aja 1961, 105.
30
Ibid., Gallino 1963, 340
31
Reproduced in Carcano di Varese 1913, pls. 22, 23. The references to Corpus Domini were noted by Spila 1901, 133 n. 1.
32
"Tholos quatuor innititur columnis quorum duae anteriores ex Salomonis Templo Hyerosolimitano extructae sunt" (Wadding 1628-35, III, 124; cited by dell'Aja 1961, 104).
33
On the medal, signed by Giovanni V. Melone, see most recently Museo 1996, 296f. No. 8.143. The event is described by Pastor 1923-53, XVIII, 415.
34
The design of the medal itself distinctly anticipates that of the 1629 medal commemorating the canonization of Andrea Corsini in St Peter's, where Bernini's Baldacchino appears (Lavin 1968, fig. 32)
35
Maresca 1888, 116, suggested in passing that the Naples monument might have inspired Bernini; the idea was summarily dismissed by Fraschetti 1898, 391n1, and Mauceri 1898, 379fn3, on the grounds that such columns were also available in Rome.
36
The continuity of this world-historical, religio-imperial tradition was expressed ceremonially, as it were, in Marcantonio's victory parade, which passed through the Arches of Constantine and Titus, and in the many attendant celebrations and monuments (see Pastor 1923-53, SCII, 429-35). The subsequent history of the Naples ciborium is uncertain, except that when the church was given a Baroque transformation in the mid-eighteenth century, the two marble columns were installed flanking the choir, where they remained until the fire of 1943 (Dell'Aja 1961, 105f.).
37
For much of what follows concerning the tomb of Urban, see Lavin, "Bernini's Bumbling Barberini Bees" (1999), 50-71
38
On this theme of papal succession in the arrangement of the tombs, see Borgolte 1989, 313-15, followed by Schutze 1994, 265f., who notes that the reference would have been made explicity by a depiction of Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter (repeating the subject of the medieval decoration in the apse of the old basilica) first planned for the altar in the center of the apse, between the two tombs.
39
Panofsky 1964, 94, noted the substitution in relation to the Paul III tomb of the theological virtue Charity for the moral virtue Prudence; but he failed to realize that this change implied a corresponding shift in meaning for Justice. Wilkinson 1971 recognized that the allegories on the tomb of Urban were attributes of Divine Wisdom, followed by Lavin, "Bernini's Bumbling Barberini Bees" (1999).
40
This tradition was admirably outlined by Quednau 1979, 251-4; and, with respect to Bernini's monuments to Countess Matilda and Constantine, by Kaufmann 1970, 278f.
41
It has been suggested that Urban chose to pair his tomb with that of Paul III because the Farnese pope served as a model for his own nepotistic ambitions (Scott 1991, 6). My view is that the primary motive was the demonstration of papal continuity and the complementarity of papal terrestrial and spiritual dominion.
42
On Bernini's notion of contrapposto, see Lavin 1980, 9f., and compare his busts of the Damned and Blessed Souls (Fig. 258), Lavin 1993, 101-38
43
Kauffmann 1970, 122, notes the analogy with the Pieta.
44
Ripa s.v. Giustitia: "Le bilancie significano, che la Giustizia divina da regalia a tutte le attioni, & la spada le pene de' delinquenti" (1603, 188), "Il mostrare la severita, il rigore della giustizia per una spada ignuda .. e stato trovato da moderni, i quali per dar qualche cenno all'equita vi aggiunsero ancor la bilancia" (Valeriano 1625, 565). It is tempting to think of the damascene ornament on Justice's sword as alluding to the frequent metaphor for the Turkish menace, the "cruentes gladius impiorum," as an instrument of God to test the Christian's faith and will (O'Malley 1968, 177; Patrides 1963).
45
Cartari 1626, 30 " ... la divina bonta non corre in fretta, ne con romore a castigare chi erra, ma va tarda, & lenta & cosi tacitamente, che non prima se ne avede il peccatore, che senta la pena." An ancient representation of Justice as a figure leaning on a spear signified "la lentezza, per la quale le cause si mandano in lungo piu del dovere: perchi ... significa tardanza" (Valeriano 1625, 566).
46
Ripa 1603, 188, "Giustizia Divina": "Il fasco di verghe con la scure, era portato anticamente in Rome da littori inanzi a' Consoli, & al Tribuno della Plebe, per mostrar che no si deve rimanere di castigare, ove richiede la Giustizia, ne di deve esser precipitoso: ma dar tempo a maturare il giuditio nel sciorre delle verge." On the fasces as an attribute of Justice, see the discussion by Kissel 1984, 107f.
47
Ripa specifically identifies the ancient image of victory as an "angel, with wings": "Gl'antichi dipinsero la vittoria in forma di Angelo, con l'ali ... " (Ripa, 1603, 517). Paul III's winged personification of Historia is reproduced in Gramberg 1984, 321, fig 77.
48
Wittkower 1997, 123, also notes Bernini's emphasis on the sepulchral idea, in contrast tot he commemorative and ceremonial monuments of his predecessors.
49
On the de la Marck tomb, see Lavin, "Bernini's Bumbling Barberini Bees" (1999), 34, and the references given there. Erard de la Marck (d. 1538) was an eminent cardinal prince-archbishop of that portion of the Netherlands that had remained in the Catholic faith. Until it was destroyed in the French Revolution, the gilt brass monument stood in the Cathedral of Liege. The tomb was illustrated as a frontispiece in on eof the most popular and important handbooks of the antiquities of Rome by Jean-Jacques Boissard; the engraver, Theodore de Bry was a native of Liege and must have intended to promulgate this local product in emulation of the monuments of ancient Rome.
50
Schiavo 1971 first noted that the reference was to Clement rather than Gregory; Schiavo recalled the disagreements with Gregory and Urban's debt to Clement, and also noted that Clement had dedicated the new high altar at St Peter's, while Urban had consecrated the new basilica itself. For the correct identification, see also Fehl 1982, 354 (adding a letter in each line, however), and 1987, 194.
51
Pastor 1923-53, XXIII, passim; Fehl 1987, 194, who also calls attention to Urban's several poems honoring Clement.
52
On the tomb's escutcheon, see Lavin, "Bernini's Bumbling Barberini Bees" (1999), 69.
53
"Bernini had splendid precepts concerning architecture: first of all he said the highest merit lay in being able to make do with little, to make beautiful things out of the inadequate and illadapted, to make use of a defect in such a way that if it had not existed one would have had to invent it" (Baldinucci 1966, 80). "Nell'architeettura dava bellissimi precetti: primieramente diceva non essere il sommo pregio dell'artefice il far bellissimi e comodi edifici, ma il sapere inventar maniere per servirsi del poco, del cattivo e male adattato al bisogno per far cose belle e far si, che sia utile quel che fu difetto e che, se non fusse, bisognerebbe farlo" (Baldinucci 1948, 146; cf. Lavin 1980, 11, 85).
54
Lavin 1968, 20n89.
55
On this theme of medium-illusion-temporality, see Lavin 1980, Index, s.v. "Illusionism."
56
The fresco, painted in 1630-3 under Bernini's supervision (Lavin 1968, 29), makes it possible to recognize and date the Windsor drawing reproduced here in Fig. 150. With remarkable perspicuity, Harris 1977, xv, no. 24, had rejected the previous identification as a juvenile self-portrait, suggesting a date "c. 1630." A closely related drawing in the British Museum attributed to Bernini also represents the brother; see Harris 1998, 640f., and Turner 1999, Catalogue, 11, 640f., no. 14. On Luigi Bernini, who was named Supervisor of the Works at St Peter's in 1634, see Hibbard in Dizionario 1960-, IX, 9:375f.
57
On the inscriptions, see Preimesberger 1984.
58
For a recent discusion of the relief as a document of papal primacy, see Dauer 2000.
59
The classicizing style of these and related works by Bernini has been the subject of much discussion. My view (Lavin 1956, 258; 1968, 33-5, 37; 1980, 23), that the classical references are not, as has been repeatedly suggested, a condescension to current fashion but a deliberate evocation of an antique ideal appropriate to the theme and context, has been taken up and developed in connection with the Matilda monument by Scott 1985.
60
The idea seems to recall the early project, mentioned above, to install in the four niches of the crossing piers the tombs of the sainted popes named Leo.
61
On the medieval and Renaissance systems of narrative church decoration, see Aronberg Lavin 1990, chap. 1.
62
On Bernini's use of the imago clipeata, see Lavin 1980, 69f.
63
See Aronberg Lavin 1990, chap 1.
64
Alexander's suffering was graphically described in the biography by the pope's friend Sforza Pallavicion:
Fu di singolare tenerezza al popolo it modo, col quale il Pontefice comparve nella celebrita del Corpo di Cristo; imperocche non potendo egli far quella lunga funzione a piedi per la mala affezione, che ricordammo rimasagli dal taglio (per l'estrazione d'un calcolo dalla vescica, subito mentre era Nunzio a Colonia nel 1642), non volle portar l'Ostia sedendo, e coperto come avevano costumato gli antecessori, ma fe portarsi inginocchioni, ed a capo nude, e gli si vedea grondar dalla fronte il sudore, al quale egli era dispostissimo per la rarita della sua carnagione, senza che per l'impedimento delle mani potesse tergerlo
(Pallavicino 1839-40, 1, 269, cited by Incisa della Rocchetta 1932, 498). The diarist Giacinto Gigli recorded the powerful effect the pope's attitude and comportment had upon the eyewitness:
"1655 A di 27. di Maggio fu la festa del Corpus Domini, et si fece la Processione solennissima, nella qual e solito, chi il Papa e portato sopra le Spalle delli Scudieri in Sedia con maesta coronato tenendo in mano il SS.mo Sagramento, essendo scalzo, et con tanta devotione senza movere gli occhi, ne la persona, che pareva piu tosto una figura immobile, che un huomo, la qual cosa mosse tutti a gran devotione, et compuntione, che gli pareva vedere una visione in aria" (Gigli 1958, 468).
65
On the Cornaro chapel and this subject, see Lavin 1980, 95-8, 103.
66
Wittkower 1997, 129. On Bernini's use of the Doric here, see Roca de Amicis 2000, 294. Onians has discussed the ethos of the Doric order in relation to Bramante and the Dorian mode in music (1988, 235-9)
67
On this ancient theme in rhetoric and art, see expecially Gombrich 1966.
68
Del Pesco 1988
69
Holstein thought the texts refered to the three-sided piazzas, while Bernini evidently constructed the term as referring to porticoes with three passages (see Roca de Amicis 1999 and 2000). In fact, taking into account the "third arm" Bernini intended, his project incorporates both interpretations.
Bernini later again "assimilated" Bramante's tempietto to the Colosseum, in a project for a commemorative Temple to the Martyrs to be constructed in the amphitheater, which he insisted on preserving intact, for the jubilee of 1675, just as he was adopting the tempietto model for the tabernacle of the Sacrament altar in St Peter's; Di Macco 1971, 82-4, Hager 1973, 323-5. No doubt this project was in turn related to that for a hospice for the poor to be housed in the Lateran palace, which Bernini wa commissioned to refurbish the following year (Fraschetti 1900, 398n1., see Lavin 2000b).
70
The ambiguity of the phrase is evident from the English translations: Douay, "... there was a gallery joined to a triple gallery"; King James, "...gallery against gallery in three stories."
71
Lauretus 1971, 815, cited by Grunder 1985, 75.
72
For a reconstruction of the Lateran fastigium, see Nilgen 1977.
73
Haus 1983-4, 305-10
74
" ... essendo la Chiesa di S. Pietro quasi matrice di tutte le altre doveva haver'un portico che per l'appunto dimostrasse di ricevere a braccia aperte maternamente i Cattolici per confermarli nella credenza, gl'Heretici per riunirli alla Chiesa, e gl'Infedeli per illuminarli alla vera fede." Biblioteca Vaticana MS Chigi H II 22, fols. 105-9v, transcribed and dated 1659-60 by Brauer and Wittkower 1931, 70n1; dated 1657-8 by Krautheimer 1985, 174. See Kitao 1974, 14 and Index s.v. "arms of the church, image of."
75
See Buonanni 1699, II, 665ff. Bernini designed for the occasion a device, a sort of prayer stool called a talamo, that evidently braced the pope, so he could in fact kneel throughout the ceremony. The procession was recorded by Carlo Ceci in an engraving dated 1655 (reproduced by Incisa 1932, 498, and Grunder 1985, 71, fig. 1), whose central portion was in turn reproduced a decade later on the medal (concerning which see Bernini in Vaticano 1981, 301, where a document of 1656 recording Bernini's talamo is cited). It is sometimes said that Bernini's device allowed the pope to appear to be kneeling while actually being seated. Sforza Pallavicino's account, quoted in n. 64 above, belies this claim, which was also denied by Cancellieri (1790, 296f.), who noted that the talamo he knew, and described, could not have been used in the seated position. By contrast, the talamo used in the early nineteenth century by Pius VII (illustrated by Incisa 1932 500) did include a seat.
76
The Protestant challenge is discussed in connection with Alexander's Corpus Domini medal by Buonanni 1699, II, 668. Council of Trent, Session XIII, chap. 5: "The Worship and Veneration to be Shown to the Most Holy Sacrament: There is, therefore, no room for doubt that all the faithful of Christ may, in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church, give to this most holy sacrament in veneration the worship of latria, which is due to the true God. Neither is it to be less adored for the reason that it was instituted by Christ the Lord in order to be received. For we believe that in it the same God is present of whom the eternal Father, when introducing Him into the world, says: And let all the angels of God adore him; whom the Magi, falling down, adored; who, finally, as the Scriptures testify, was adored by the Apostles in Galilee. The holy council declares, moreover, that the custom that this sublime and venerable sacrament be celebrated with special veneration and solemnity every year on a fixed festival day, and that it be borne reverently ans with honor in processions through the streets and public places, was very piously and religiously introduced into the Church of God. For it is most reasonable that some days be set aside as holy on which all Christians may with special and unusual demonstration testify that their minds are grateful to and mindful of their common Lord and Redeemer for so ineffable and truly divine a favor whereby the victory and triumph of His death are shown forth. And thus indeed did it behoove the victorious truth to celebrate a triumph over falsehood and heresy, that in the sight of so much splendor and in the midst of so great joy of the universal Church, her enemies may either vanish weakened and broken, or, overcome with shame and confounded, may at length repent" (Canons 1978, 76).
77
Chantelou 1985, 34, 14 June. "Il leur a dit encore qu'il serait bon qu'on y eut quelque partie qui avancat sur le devant, parce que les eglises qui sont rondes tout a fait, quand on y enter, on fait ordinairement sept a huit pas, ce qui empeche qu'on puisse pas bien voir la forme." (Chantelou 1885, 33f.).
78
"Quivi avvenne un giorno, che quel suo figlio, che presentemente scrive questo Libro, essendo per sua devozione entrato in quella Chiesa, e ritrovato havendo in un angolo di essa ritirato il Cavaliere suo Padre, che in atto di compiacenza vagheggiava con gli occhi tutte le parti di quel piccolo Tempio, ossequiosamente gli domandasse, Che facesse cosi solo, e cheto? e che gli rispondesse il Cavaliere, Figlio, di questa sola Opera di Architettura io sento qualche particolar compiacenza nel fondo del mio cuore, e spesso persollievo delle mie fatiche io qui mi porto a consolarmi col mio lavoro" (Bernini 1713, 109f.).
79
Bomenico Bernini understood the complementarity of the two works: "Le due Opere e del Portico, e della Cathedra furono per cosi dire il principio, el fine della magnificenza di quella gran Basilica, rimanendo non men attonito l'occhio nell'ingresso per il Portico, che nel termine per la Cathedra" (Bernini 1713, 111).
80
Krautheimer 1985, 73.
81
Moroni 1840-61, X, 270
82
Pastor 1923-53, XXXI, 299
83
"Petrum itaque fundamentum Ecclesiae Dominus nominavit: et ideo digne fundamentumn hoc Ecclesia colit, supra quod ecclesiastici aedificii altitudo consurgit. Une convenienter psalmus, qui lectus est, dicit: Exaltent cum in ecclesia plebis: et in cathedra seniorum laudent eum. Benedictus Deus, qui beatum Petrum Apostolum in Ecclesia exaltari praecepit: quia dignum est, ut fundamentum hoc in Ecclesia honoretur, per quod ad caelum conscenditur" (Hours 1964, 1:1796).
84
Pastor 1923-53, XXXI, 303
85
The relationship of Bernini's "gloria" to the Celestial Hierarchy of the Pseudo-Dionysius was noted by Wittkower 1997, 58, and discussed by Minor 1989.
86
See pp. 118f
87
Many antecedents are surveyed by Kauffmann 1970, 278-89, and Marder 1997, 180-8
88
For the ancient equestrian monument types, see Brilliant 1963.
89
Voragine 1969, 271, 272
90
Eusebius 1976, 490
91
Der Nersessian 1966-70, II, 98. An exception is Ms. Paris Gr. 510, fol. 440, the earliest surviving representation of Constantine's vision (Walter 1997, 194); Brubaker (1999, 168f.) has shown that the miniature applies the imperial reference to a text in which Solomon speaks of "awakening and recovering my sight," and so leaving the pleasures of this world to pursue God's wisdom.
92
Delehaye 1975.
93
The importance of the ivory in the seventeenth century has been stressed by Fumaroli 1995, who also related it to Bernini's sculpture.
94
The relevance of the Conversion of St. Paul, though not Rufinus's text, was noted by Kauffman 1970, 282, and Marder 1997, 188.
95
Augustine is cited by Voragine 1969, 127
96
Cited by Kauffmann 1970, 282n34; Hill 1930, 225, no. 867.
97
Life of Constantine, Bk. IV, Chap. xv, Eusebius 1976, 544. "Quanta porro divinae fidei ves ac virtus in ejus animo insederit, vel ex hoc uno conjici potest, quod in aureis nummis exprimi se jussit veltu in coelum sublato, et manibus expansis instar precantis. Et hujus quidem formae nummi per universum orbem Romanum cucurrerunt. In ipsa vero regia juxta quasdam januas, in imaginibus ad ipsum vestibuli fastigium positis depictus est stans, difixis quidem in coelum oculis, manibus autem expanisis precantis in modum" (Migne 1857-1905, XX, col. 1163)
98
The Life of Constantine 1682, 611. Valesio's translation (quoted in the preceding note) and annotations were reprinted by Migne 1857-1905, XX: "Quisquis fuit interpretes hujus libri, parum attente hunc locum vertit, hoc mondo et precantis forma manus sursum tollens, cum vertere dubuisset, manibus expansis, ut precantes solent. Christiani enim inter precandum manus expandere solebant, ut crucis similtudinem hoc modo adumbrarent. Allevabant quidem manus Christiani, dum preces funderent. Sed hoc non erat proprium Chritianorum, quippe cum gentiles idem facerent, ut testautur Virgilius, Aeneid., lib. I, vers. 97, dum ait: Et geminas [duplices] tollens ad sidera palmas. Illud vero peculiare fuit Christianis, manus in crucis formam expandere. Tertullianus in lib. De oratione, cap. II: 'Nos vero non attollimus tantum, sed etiam expandimus, et Dominica passione modulamur.'" Idem in Apologetico, cap. 30 (Migne 1857-1905, XX, cols. 1163f.).
99
" ... quod est: in hoc vince. Tum vero laetus redditus et de victoria iam securus, signum crucis, quod in caelo viderat, in sua front designat et ita caelitus invitatus ad fidem, non mihi illo videtur inferior, cui similiter de caelo dictum est: 'Saule, Saule, quid me persequeris? Ego sum Jesus Nazarenus,'" nisi quia hic non adhuc persequens, sed iam consequens invitatur" (Aufhauser 1912, 4f.).
100
The Roman Breviary 1879, I, 1056-61. After centuries of debate, the feast was suppressed in 1960 (New Catholic Encyclopedia 1967, IV, 482).
101
See the many passages cited in the indexes of Chantelou 1885 and 1985. The relationship descussed here is but one among many that give the lie to those who would regard Bernini's deference to Poussin in Paris as an insincere gesture of flattery to his French patrons. Nothing could be further from the truth, if for no other reason than that he unabashedly complained about almost everything else in France. More important, the allegation betrays a baleful misunderstanding of Bernini's character and art. For another, important instance - among many that could be cited - of Bernini's profound understanding of the meaning and "authenticity" of Poussin's ideas, see his adoption and adaptation of the "non-penetrating" principle of Poussin's feigned stucco decoration of the vault of the Louvre; Lavin 198, 5n4, 45n80. In the same vein, I want to express my solidarity with Tomaso Montanari's recent, resounding affirmation of the integrity and authenticity of Bernini's art in the face of current attempts to reduce it, notably his late style, to a sor of meretricious "self-representation" (Montanari, in Angelini 1998, 409).
102
On Poussin's picture, se Rosenberg 1994, 77, where the resemblance of Bernini's Constantine is noted.
103
See Batschmann 1982.
104
The Jewish War VI, 241-66 (Josephus 1968, III, 444-55).
105
On the recently discovered early version, now in Jerusalem, see Mahon 1998. Rosenberg 194, 77, sugests that the gifts were intended to balance the two great powers.
106
The Christian interpretation is alluded to by Stanic 1994, 94, and Rosenberg 1994, 77.
107
Poussin may well ahve been stimulate by the open-armed gesture of the standing figure of Titus in an engraving of the Destruction by Phillip Galle, designed by Maarteen van Heemskerck, as part of a series illustrating the disasters of the Jews (Veldman and Luijten 1993, 203, no. 258)
108
Sulpitius 1976, 111. "Fertur Titus adhibito consilio prius deliberasse, an templum tanti operis everteret. Etenim nonnullis videbatur, aedem sacratam ultra omnia mortalis illustrem non oportere deleri, quae servata modestiae Romanae testimonium, diruta perennem crudelitatis notam praeberet. At contra alii et Titus ipse evertendum in primis templum censebant, quo plenius ludaeorum et Christianorum religio tolleretur: quippe has religiones, licet contrarias sibi, isdem tamen ab aouctoribus protectas: Christianos ex ludaeis extitisse: radice sublata stirpem facile perituram" (Latin text cited after Thackeray, in Josephus 1968, I, xxv).
109
"Capta eversaque urbe Hierosolymorum ... extinctisque Iudaei Titus, qui ad vindicandum Domini Iiesu Christi sanguinem iudicio Dei fuerat ordinatus, victor triumphans cum Vespasiano patre Ianum clausit ... iure enim idem honos ultioni passionis Domini inpensus est, qui etiam navitati fuerat adtributus" Hist. VII, iii, 8 and ix, 9; quoted after Singleton in Dante 1970-5, Purg. 512f.
110
"... il talento che / divina giustizia, contra voglia, / come fu al peccar / pone al tormento ... pero sentisti il tremoto e li pii / spiriti ... render lode ... Nel tempo che'l buon Tito, con l'aiuto / del sommo rege, vendico le fora / ond'usci 'l sangue per Giuda venduto, ... era io di la, ... ma non con fede ancora" (Purg. XXI, 62-4, 82-7; Dante 1970-5, Purg. 228, 229, 230, 231.) In Paradiso VI. 92-3, Dante speaks of Titus's vengeance as the effect of "living justice" (viva giustizia).
111
This development of the art of horsemanship as a distinction of nobility may be followed in Liedtke 1989.
112
" ... Colosso condotto a fine dell'Imperador Costantino a Cavallo, Opera veramente grande per il Soggetto che rappresenta, per il luogo ov'era destinato a collocarsi, e per la materia, in cui doveva scolpirsi. In un Masso dunque di Sasso (per usare i termini proprii) di trenta Carrettate simile al quale rari ne ha veduti entro le sue mura anche negli antichi tempi la Citta di Roma" (Bernini 1713, 106-7).
113
Interestingly, Bernini's comment on the manageability of marble was made in response to a criticism of the complex and perforated mane and tail of the horse of his equestrian monument of Louis XIV, commissioned after and in specific emulation of the Constantine. In this work he actually accomplished the feat of carving a fully free-standing, rearing equestrian group in a still larger block (see Lavin 1993, 172-4). Bernini described the relation between the two works in a letter to Colbert: "Questa statua sara del tutto diversa a quella di Costantino, perche Costantino sta in atto d'amirare la Croce che gl'apparve, e questo del Re stara in ato di maesta, e di commando ..." (30 December 1669, Wittkower 1961, 521, doc. 24).
114
"Passo piu oltra e manifestamente intimo, anche oue mancano intaccature di Passioni esercitate, oue abbondano fregi di virtu ottenute, bisognare tolleranza di chi ci lauori e sofferenze d'emende. Per non vscire dal Palazzo, oue discorriamo, l'ammirabile Colosso di Costantino, che si repulisce per immortalare e la Basilica di S. Pietro e la reggia de'Pontefici; sarebbe non Simulacro d'vn Cesare tanto Benefico della Chiesa, ma vn informe sasso de'Monti Ligustici, quando la prodigiosa Mano di chi lo forma, con piu ferite non lo scarnasse, e con durezza di scarpelli non ne perfettionasse le sembianze. Ne'quali prodigij d'amirata maestria, si osserui, non troncarsi dal Marmo, per farlo Statue d'infinito valore, o selci rusticane, o tegoli disprezati, o neri carboni. Si tolgono al Masso parti totalmente omogenee e vniformi a quelle, che si lasciano, perche rappresentino vn'Augusto trionfante" (Oliva 1674, 278).
115
The example from Ecouen was cited by Marder 1997, 195.
116
On Arnolfo's horseman, see Carli 1993, 124, and the study by Pace 1991, esp. 349-51, who noted the relationship to Roman sarcophagus reliefs.
117
On the dual points of view and treatment of the relief, see Marder 1997, 165, 188-90
118
There was a certain tradition for this idea: markedly similar is Parmigianino's fresco of St. Secundus in S. Giovanni Evangelista in Parma, whre the hoof of the saint's rearing horse projects beyond the painted niche on a projection of molded, painted stucco (see Lavin 1980, 54f., Fig. 94; Rossi 1980, pl. VII).
119
Lavin 1980, 67-70
120
NISI COELVM CREASSEM OB TE SOLAM CREAREM ("If I had not created heaven I would create it for you alone"). On this floating "label" see Lavin 1980, 139f.
121
The tabernacle was made in Rome when Bernini was working on the Theresa chapel. On this work and the metaphorical relationship between mathematical perspective and the Sacrament, see Lavin 1980, Index, s.v. Perspective.

 

 

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