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Portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680)

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Portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680) About 1675


The dramatic lighting and dark background contribute to the portrait's powerful impact. The painting was made in about 1675 when Bernini was in his late seventies, and records the distinguished appearance of the brilliant and complex sculptor and architect. Baciccio, who according to his biographer, encouraged his sitters to move and talk while he painted them, has deflty captured the older artist's alertness and the animated gesture of his hand emerging from the folds of his cloak. This painting became the model for the engraved frontispiece to Baldinucci's biography of Bernini and for the official portrait of Bernini in the Roman Academy of St Luke.

Glossary Open

Academy of St Luke

An art academy founded in Rome in the late 16th century with painter Federico Zuccaro the first president. Supported by the Pope, it strove to raise the status of artists above that of craftsmen. Also the name of the first art school in Edinburgh.


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.


An illustration at the front of a book, usually opposite the title page.

Academy of St Luke, Engraving, Frontispiece


  • Acc. No. NG 2694
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 99.00 x 74.50 cm (framed: 120.02 x 95.25 x 6.35 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the aid of the Art Fund 1998