Bernini’s Beloved Sculpture: Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Portrait Bust of Costanza Piccolomini

Sandra Wheeler

Abstract


The portrait bust of Costanza Piccolomini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini holds a special place in Baroque art history. Art historians have referred to the singular sculpture as “Bernini’s Beloved” because he applied his virtuoso style to achieve a lifelike intimate portrait of his young lover. But the background story of his relationship with Costanza does not favour a romance when examining the realities of a women’s lives in seventeenth-century Italian society. Costanza is Bernini’s beloved only in that she reflects the thing he most loved, his art.

Keywords


Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Costanza Piccolomini, Italian Baroque sculpture, women in seventeenth-century Italy

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University of Victoria