Bernini: Sculpting in Clay

The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

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Bernini in Action: Gesture and Technique in Clay

Program information

In conjunction with the exhibition Bernini: Sculpting in Clay (on view October 3, 2012–January 6, 2013), Anthony Sigel, Guest Curator, and Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums, outlines the research and discoveries he and his fellow curators made in preparation for the exhibition. By researching Bernini's methods, Sigel has determined which figures Bernini created himself and which ones were likely created by assistants. His lecture includes his own photographs of the models and detailed descriptions of Bernini's methods.


Sculpting in Clay

October 3, 2012–January 6, 2013

Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide

To visualize lifesize or colossal marbles, the great Roman Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) began by making small, spirited clay models. Fired as terracotta, these studies and related drawings preserve the first traces of the thought process that evolved into some of the most famous statuary in the city, including the fountains in the Piazza Navona and the angels on the Ponte Sant'Angelo. This exhibition assembles for the first time some fifty of these bozzetti and modelli, as well as thirty chalk or pen sketches alongside three small-scale bronzes and a marble group. Through connoisseurship and a comprehensive campaign of scientific examination, the selection of models addresses the issue of what separates the hand of the master from the production of his large workshop.

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