Friends, doing so much Art over the summer gives one plenty of time to mentally wander over your heroes, be they Michelangelo or his superior in marble, Bernini!

… Cold, unforgiving marble was as butter in the hands of this Italian sculptor …

Within the pre-eminent stone palace of worship, the largest in the entire World, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome’s Vatican, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s stupendous Baldacchino’s four massive bronze columns spiral some 30 metres (90 feet) to a suspended canopy, eternal guard under the divine Michelangelo’s majestic dome … hovering over the tomb of St. Peter, far below

Not only could this Italian post-Renaissance Man humble a viewer, …

As this church’s chief architect Michelangelo’s spacious square directly out front even now regularly and easily makes room for half-a-million pilgrims, whilst creating its own spectacle for audiences worldwide.

His Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, begun in the late 1640s, fairly dazzles the very mind’s eye, proclaiming a devout heart of faith in all manner godly.

A decidedly gleeful angel of God readies an arrow, yet again, poised to pierce the prostrate Spanish nun, herself in the throes of communion with heavenly forces.

The setting, too, displays Bernini’s architectural genius for first-ever combining the varied Baroque era disciplines of sculpture, architecture and painting, set as it is in the dark recesses of the Raimondi Chapel in the church of San Pietro, in Montoro.

From somewhere high above thin golden shafts miraculously carry light to illumine the two figures caught in action, fairly afloat upon thine supine gaze.

Another, The Damned Soul, portrays the last terrified human expression of a soul about to be cast into the fires of Hades, a look of both utter disbelief and horror at a past forever questioned and a future encased in doom!

Over his 81 years and before passing in 1680, Bernini left a lasting legacy of creative wonders, a number of memorable fountains … and not the least being Apollo and Daphne, at the very moment she transforms into a tree.

… too, this sculptor’s David is a study of strength held in check, … a boy about to unleash upon the giant Goliath, grim in determination, power secured.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini had a distinct knack for capturing the exact most dramatic moment in a sculpture.

Witness the started expression on Greek god Apollo’s face when he realizes that the chaste lady he pursues, Daphne, is turning into a laurel tree just as he catches her, with fingers and hair becoming leaves and sides a tree trunk … feet taking root. Surely it is this timeless, effervescent quality which sparkles so in this master’s work.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at www.mountainarts.com.

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