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BERNINI


511


BERNIS


the "Chair of St. Peter" in the tribune of the basilica. Viewed as a sculptor Bernini is at times extreme, without force, theatrical in the pose, affected in de- tails, or over-luxuriant in phy.sical graces. He was entirely in accord with the spirit of his time and countenanced it with all the authority of his ability and fame. He attached more importance to grace of outward form than to intrinsic merit, and aimetl more at external effect than at the real artistic com- pleteness of the work. Yet among his productions a.s a sculptor are many excellent works. As exam- ples may be given the tomb of the Countess Matilda in St. Peter's, and the statues of St. Ludovica Al- bcrtoni and St. Bibiana in the niches of the colonnade of St. Peter's. In the niches of these columns are 162 statues made after designs by Bernini. In his work on the Bridge of Sant' -Angelo he shows at least wonderful richness of design. He by no means failed in designs for tombs anil in portrait busts; for example, the bust of his daughter and that of In- nocent X.

He often spoiled the pure plastic effect of liis work by two or three false conceptions. He held that the antique repose of sculpture, which, it must be ac- knowledged, at times nearly degenerates into stiff- ness, must be transformed into effective action at any cost. The naturalistic painting of the time tlrove the sculptors into this course. But in the plastic arts the reason for extreme action is often not clear and it appears weak, sentimental, and theatrical. When the work is executed in polished marble, for which Bernini had a strong predilection, over-action is apt to degenerate into the opposite of what is intended and to become an extreme ugliness, or a miscarried attempt at grandeur. On account of these misconceptions of art Bernini's work was often a failure. The style of sculpture which aims solely at outward effect is seen to best advantage when it is used in connexion with archi- tecture. The statues designed by Bernini for the fagade of St. Peter's and of the Lateran belong to tliis form of art. .\ction appears at its best in sculpture when used as decoration and on a small scale. The decorative architectural style is better suited, therefore, for relief work than for sculpture in the round.

DoMiNlcl. Vite del Pittori, SniUori ed Archiletti Napolitani ^Naple.s, 1840); Kuhn, KunslgeschichU CEinsiedeln, 1891); Idkm, Roma (Einsiedein, 1878); Dohme, Kunst und Kiinstler (Leipzig, 1879).

G. GlETMANN.

Bernini, Giuseppe M.\ri.\, a Capuchin missionary and Orientalist, b. near Carignan in Piedmont; d. in Hindustan in 1753. For many years he was a missionary in the East Indies, and acquired a remarkable knowledge of the languages and dialects of India. In his travels through the country he made a special and careful study of the manners, customs, and religious beliefs and practices of the people. The results of his studies were collected in his work: ■'Notizie laconiche di alcuni usi, sacrifizi, ed idoli nel regno di Neipal, raccolte nel anno 1747". This work has never been published, but is preserved in manuscript in the hbrary of the Propaganda at Rome, and in the museum of Cardinal Borgia. Bernini also wrote "Dialogues", in one of the Indian languages, also preserved in manuscript in the Propaganda; a translation of " Adhiatma Ramayana " ; one of " Djana Sagara", and a collection of historical studies under the title, " M^moires historiques" (Verona).

Dizionario Bwgrafico Universale (Florence. 1840). A very mediocre translation of the Notizie into English has been published in Asiatic Researches, II.

Ene.\s B. Goodwin.

Bemis, FRANfois-Jo.icHiM-PiERRE DE, a French cardinal and statesman, b. 1715 at Saint-Marcel- d'.Vrd^che; d. at Rome, 1794. The Bemis family


possessed many titles of nobility but was almost reduced to poverty. Francois, the youngest son, was destined for an ecclesiastical career and sent to St.-Sulpice. He left that institution at the age of nineteen to go into the world to retrieve the family fortune. The title of Abbe, by which he was known, meant in those days little more than the tonsure and the black gown; it certainly meant only that to him. Young Bemis was a worldling in the "full sense of the word, but success was slow in coming. His noble birth gave him access to the chapters of Brioude and Lyons; his ready wit and courteous manners opened to him the mansions of the wealthy, and the French .\cadcmy admitted him in recognition of certain literary essays whose principal merit was gal- lantry; but all this only concealed, without relieving, his poverty. It was at this time that Bemis was introduced to the future Madame de Pompadour, an acquaintance which soon meant a pension of 1500 livres and, later, the appointment as ambassador to Venice.

Once at Venice, Bemis rapidly rose. He succeeded in adjusting some differences between the Venetians and Pope Benedict XI\', and thus won the favour of the latter. The knowledge he had acquired of European diplomacy made him valuable to his Government, and partly in view of possible prefer- ment in the Church and partly through a desire of breaking with the past, Bemis received the subdea- conship at the hands of the Patriarch of Venice. In 1756 Louis XV recalled him to make him his minister of foreign affairs, but his tenure of office was short and full of trials. The alliance of France with -Austria against ICngland and Prussia resulted in the Seven Years' War in which France was the loser, and Bemis was held responsible for both the alliance and its consequences. It is true that tliis new policy had been practically inaugurated by Rouill^, Bemis's predecessor in the foreign office; that the worthless- ness of the French generals, all creatures of Madame de Pompadour, and not Bemis's carelessness or incompetency, was the true cause of the defeats of the French; that the treaty of Paris, which terminated the war, insured to the French some appreciable advantages; yet, despite this, Bemis lost the favour of the people and, along with it, the friendship of Madame de Pompadour. He tendered his resig- nation, and was, by a harsh letter of Louis XV, banished to the Abbey of ^'ic-su^-Aisne, near Sois- sons. Pope Clement XIII was the only one to re- member him. Just as the fallen minister was going into exile, he received a papal motu propria making him cardinal (175S).

Bernis profited by his six years of enforced retire- ment, receiving the diaconate and the priesthood. In 1764, after the anger of the king and Madame de Pompadour had subsided, he was sent to Albi as archbishop. His zeal there won him the esteem of all and prepared him for a still higher position, that of ambassador of France at Rome (1769). Bemis's influence in Rome was considerable. It was felt in the conclave of 1769, which elected Ganganelli, and in that of 1774, which elected Braschi. In the suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV, Bernis is far from deserving all the blame that is put on Iiiiii. It is well known that he personally regretted the measure, and that as ambassador he tried to avert it by assisting the wavering pope in securing the delays for which lie had asked. But the pressure exercised by the Bourbons of Spain, Naples, and France, and the passive attitude and tacit consent of Austria brought the negotiations to an abrupt tennination. When the French Revolution broke out, Bemis held, in the national church of St. Louis des Fran^ais, a solemn funeral for the martyred Louis XVI; he also placed his palace at the disposal of the princesses of France who had sought refuge