Portrait of a Gentleman
Rome, c. 1670–75
This splendid marble bust is one of the last masterpieces executed by the greatest sculptor of the XVII century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The essential formal syntax of this beautiful sculpture brings out the deep and individual character and the sitter’s impressive living energy.
The bust belongs to a later period of the artist’s career, and it shows close similarities to Bernini’s portraits of the 1670s: the monumental Portrait of Pope Clement X, or to the kneeling figure of Alexander VII for the monument in Saint Peter’s Basilica. In these three sculptures, the marks of the drill, deliberately left visible on the rendering of hair, are almost identical.
These last masterpieces perfectly illustrate how far Bernini was still seeking for solutions in order to render a specific character in the marble stone without having to resort to color.