Material Bernini  book cover
1st Edition

Material Bernini

ISBN 9781138353060
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
248 Pages 77 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Bringing together established and emerging specialists in seventeenth-century Italian sculpture, Material Bernini is the first sustained examination of the conspicuous materiality of Bernini’s work in sculpture, architecture, and paint. The various essays demonstrate that material Bernini has always been tied (whether theologically, geologically, politically, or in terms of art theory) to his immaterial twin. Here immaterial Bernini and the historiography that sustains him is finally confronted by material Bernini. Central to the volume are Bernini’s works in clay, a fragmentary record of a large body of preparatory works by a sculptor who denied any direct relation between sketches of any kind and final works. Read together, the essays call into question why those works in which Bernini’s bodily relation to the material of his art is most evident, his clay studies, have been configured as a point of unmediated access to the artist’s mind, to his immaterial ideas. This insight reveals a set of values and assumptions that have profoundly shaped Bernini studies from their inception, and opens up new and compelling avenues of inquiry within a field that has long remained remarkably self-enclosed.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations vii

Contributors xiii

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxi

Abbreviations xxiii

Obstacles in the Path to a Material Bernini (1900–Present) 1

Evonne Levy


The Matter of Metaphor: Truth, Sculpture, and the Word 23

Maarten Delbeke

Im/material Bernini 39

Fabio Barry

Bernini scultore pittoresco 69

Carolina Mangone

Body and Clay: Material Agency from an Early Modern Perspective 105

Joris van Gastel


What Is a Bozzetto? 123

Michael Cole

Bernini’s Bozzetti and the Trope of Fire 147

Steven F. Ostrow

The Concept of Bernini’s “Calculated Spontaneity”:

A Critical Reassessment 169

Tara L. Nadeau

vi material bernini

Bernini/Not Bernini: Reflections on the Role of Technical

Evidence in the Attribution of Bernini’s Terracottas 187

C.D. Dickerson III and Anthony Sigel

Bibliography 219

Index 239

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Evonne Levy is Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Carolina Mangone is Assistant Professor at Princeton University, USA.


'...a timely, stimulating, and significant contribution to scholarship on Bernini and to the study of seventeenth-century European sculpture more generally.' Estelle Lingo, University of Washington, Seattle, USA