Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/576

This page needs to be proofread.




DHausson-ville, L'Eglue romaim el le premier empire (1868); Chetinead-Joly, Histoire de la Vendee militaire; Leon Seche, Les origines du Concordat (Paris, 1895); Cochard, Mgr. Bemier, eveque d'Orleans (Orleans, 1901): Mathieu, Le Concordat de 1801 (Paris, 1903); Sevestre, L'Histoire, le texte, el la destinee du concordat de 1801 (2nd ed., Paris, 1905); CoN- SAI.VI, Memoires (1864); Theiner, Documents inedits relatifs aux affaires de VEglise de France. 1790-lSOO (1857); Idem, Histoire des deux concordats de la Republique Fran^aise (Paris, 1875); BouLAY de la Meurthe, Documents sur la negociation du Concordat et sur les autres rapports de la France avec le 5. Siege (Paris. 1891-97). I-III; Rinieri. Ladiplomatie pontificale au A'/A'e sitcle, le concordat entre Pie VII et le Premier consul 1800-1802 (French tr., Paris, 1903).

G. M. Sauvage.

Bernini, Domexico, son of the famous artist Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, lived in the early part of the eighteenth century. He became a prelate and canon of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He de- voted himself to the study of ecclesiastical history and wrote an extensive history of the heresies, "Istoria di tutte I'heresie", 4 vols. fol. (Rome, 1705- 17); also, "Memorie istoriche di cio che hanno operato i sommi pontefiei nelle guerre contra i Turchi" in quarto (Rome, 1685); "II tribunale della S. Ruota Romana (Rome, 1717).

Acta Eruditorum (Leipzig, 170S), 494; Hcrter, Nomenclator,

G. M. Sauvage.

Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo, one of the most vigorous and fertile of Italian architects and sculp- tors, b. at Naples in 159S; d. at Rome in 1680. Ber- nini in liis art is the most industrious of Roman art- ists, and his work tends largely to the baroque. In addition to liis abilities as sculptor and architect he possessed those of a painter and even of a poet. His father, a painter and sculptor of moderate skill, gave hini his first lessons in art. In 1608 the father was called to Rome and took Lorenzo with him. It is said that the boy even in liis eighth year had carved a beautiful marble head of a child; in his fifteenth year he produced the " Da^^d ■svith a Sling" which is now in the Villa Borghese. Paul V employed him, and under the five following popes he rose to great fame and importance. He was the favourite of Urban VIII (Barberini). In 1629 he became the architect of St. Peter's and superintendent of Public Works in Rome. He ruled in art like a second Michaelangelo, although his style bore little resem- blance to that of the latter. Mazarin tried in 1664 to persuade him to come to Paris, but he did not \'isit that city until 1665 when he accepted an in- \-itation from Louis XIV. A son named Paul and a numerous suite accompanied him to Paris and Versailles. Jealousy, however, prevented the carry- ing out of liis plans for the Louvre, nor was he able to maintain himself long in Paris. His pupil, Mathias Rossi, was also forced, not long after the master's departure, to leave the city. The king, however, treated Bernini with great honour during his stay and rewarded him munificently. Bernini made a bust and an equestrian statue of Louis XIV which were in a style agreeable to the taste of that monarch. Queen Christina of Sweden %isited Bernini during her stay in Rome; and on an order of King Philip IV he made a huge crucifix for the royal mor- tuary chapel. He also carved busts of Charles I of England and his wife Henrietta. Bernini triumphed over all his detractors and became in the end as rich as he was famous.

It is not necessary to speak here of his writings and of his comedies in verse. Nor need mention be made of his paintings which amount to some two hundred canvases. He owes his fame to his archi- tectural work, for which he had in Rome great and in.spiring examples. He never lacked imagination, inventive power, or courage in undertaking a task. He did not copy the simplicity of the antique and often deliberately departed from the canons of art in the hope of excelling them (chi non esce talvolta

della regola, non la passa mai). The art of this period in aiming at outward effect lost all modera- tion and went to too great an extreme. In com- pleting the church of St. Peter Bernini was naturally obliged to exert all his powers. As the seventh architect engaged in the work he gave the finishing touches to the great undertaking. With sound judgment he followed the plan of Madema — to increase the effect of the facade by means of flanking towers. He wished, however, to make the towers a more important feature than in Maderna's scheme, keeping them though in such proportion that in the distance they should appear some thirty metres below the dome. As one tower was well under way it fell down on account of the weakness of the founda- tion laid by Maderna. One of the most brilliant works of Bernini is the colonnade before St. Peter's. It proves the truth of the axiom he laid down: "An arcliitect proves his skill by turning the defects of a site into advantages". The slope of the ground from the doorway of the basilica to the bridge over the Tiber suggested the sclieme of laying out the great stairway of twenty-two steps and the great and equally well-conceived terrace. The ground available being limited on two sides by neighbouring houses, Bernini avoided the danger of coming too close to the buildings by adopting the beautiful elliptic form of the colonnade, which en- closes, nevertheless, as large a ground-surface as the Colosseum.

The avenue thus formed is perhaps the most beautiful one in the world. Wnen the piazza is approached from the distance a fine view is at first oDtained of the dome; imfortunately the dome is more and more obscured, on nearer approach, by the portico and the facade of the church. Four rows of Tuscan columns, placed to right and left and having altogether the form of an ellipse, traverse the piazza from one end to the other. Between the middle rows of columns two carriages can pass. The slope of the ground without being sharp enough to produce fatigue causes the eye to look steadily upward. In the middle of the ellipse, which is 895x741 feet, stands the obelisk, 84 feet liigli. which was placed here in 1586 by Sixtus V. Back of the ellipse rises the terrace. Two galleries unite the ellipse with the portico, the height of which is best realized by comparing it with these galleries. Everything here is on a great scale. When, how- ever, the pope gives the blessing from the balcony, the convergence of the lines in the arrangement of the piazza causes the space to appear much greater than it really is. The stairway (Scala Regia), which ascends from the portico to the Sala Regia, offers a fine perspective. Limitation was here turned into a source of beauty. Bernini had a large share in the erection of the stately Barberini palace at Rome. He built the beautiful Odescalchi palace, took part in adorning the Piazza Navona with the obelisk, and designed the pleasing statues of the river-gods for the great fountain.

In speaking of Bernini's work as a sculptor it may be said that in this field the decadence of his art makes itself apparent. The skeleton representing Death on the tomb of I'rban VIII, in the church of St. Peter, is placed in the midst of ideal and really beautiful figures. Weaker still, with the exception of the portrait, is the tomb of Alexander VII. "St. Theresa pierced by an Arrow" is exceedingly ef- fective, the "Rape of Proserpine", as well as his "Apollo and Daphne", are weak and sensuous. On the other hand, the equestrian statue of Constantine in St. Peter's suffers from its size, as the heroic pro- portions do not appear to be united \^•^th the neces- sary intrinsic worth. To-day the canopy {baldac- chino) is as universally condemned as it was then (1633) admired. Neither is approval now given tc