Leisure Letters

→ Peruse the Letters Archives

Leisure performance: Bernini's Spectacles

(Added 8 October 2007)

Gianlorenzo Bernini Ecstasy of St. Teresa Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Marble, 11’ 6” (1647-52)

Best known for his sculptural and architectural achievements, Gianlorenzo Bernini was also an interdisciplinary artist , creating events and awe inspiring sets. These spectacles were almost like happenings and blended reality and fantasy.

He created moving landscapes and skyscapes with twinkling clouds and stars. He orchestrated rivers on stage that burst into watery floods stopping just short of drenching his audiences, at one event the stage was set on fire controlled and transformed into a beautiful garden just as the audience was turning to flee.

Bernini’s spectacle the Dawn Machine, which created the impression of a sunrise, made a great impression on Louis the Sun King, who commissioned his own version for Versailles.

Less Recent:
More Recent: