Bernini And Boromini Essay

1119 words - 5 pages

Bernini and Borromini are major names in the history of Roman art and architecture, especially in the foundation and formation of Baroque styles. They both began as child prodigies, working within Rome under experienced craftsmen as they honed their skills, and matured to become two of Rome’s greatest artists. However, despite their similarities and contributions to the Baroque, their styles were entirely distinct. While Borromini focused on architecture, Bernini hoped to create theatrical space where art, architecture, painting and light came together in a stimulating interplay. Bernini and Borromini were initially partners on several projects, but Bernini quickly overshadowed Borromini, ...view middle of the document...

In San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, despite two stories of heavy stone, the octagonal courtyard is famous for its levity. Instead of a forgotten rectangular courtyard, by chopping off the corners and creating a pattern of two rows of double columns, he transformed the space into an area renowned for its dynamism. Within the chapel, he created a perfectly geometrical and yet still energetic and interesting oval composed of circular and triangular patterns, with various cutouts as cupolas intertwined by a continuous entablature, and topped by a large seemingly levitating oval dome. The façade maintains this dynamic geometry, as sinusoidal convex and concave niches create a fluid and dominant front. Borromini’s Baroque combines classical styles in new ways that create a dynamic and powerful, yet simple, space.
While dynamism marked both artists’ styles, the simplicity of Borromini is juxtaposed to Bernini’s animated and complex Sant’Andrea al Quirinale down the street. While commentary on the artist’s comparative abilities is fruitless, Bernini’s comparative popularity indicates the people’s apparent preference for his intense, complicated, and busy style. Where Borromini focused on architecture, with complicated geometry and cutouts serving to create a dynamic space, Bernini’s strengths lay in the poignant scenes he captured in almost every facet throughout his chapel. His architecture was unpretentious; simple shapes served him better than the complex geometries of his peer. Rather than emphasizing the architecture, he utilized architecture as a backdrop to highlight the significance of Biblical and spiritual scenes unfolding throughout the church. It can be argued that the source of Bernini’s fame lay in his ability to combine art, architecture, lighting, painting and color into gigantic and meaningful scenes that tied together overarching themes of the church as a whole. He believed in the importance of movement and vivid realism, which can be seen throughout all of his works. While both Borromini and Bernini worked on the baldachin above the altar in St. Peter’s, it is mostly attributed to Bernini, and reflects more of his ornate theatrical tendencies; rather than simply creating a static top, he created a scene of symbolism and movement. His angels hold a remarkably realistic awning, balanced high above the spiraling sinewy columns. Much of Bernini’s relevance spawned from his flexibility—in addition to his architectural abilities, his sculptural and artistic abilities...

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