Bernini and the Roman BaroqueMasterpieces from Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia
February 12 through May 8, 2022
On loan from the collection of the princely Chigi family, this exhibition celebrates the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and the brilliance of the Roman Baroque period (c. 1600-1700). Working for popes and princes, Bernini was one of the brightest luminaries in the history of art, creating theatrical sculpture, paintings, decorative arts, and architecture. His remarkable versatility and vision helped to transform the city of Rome during the early 1600s, and his artistic spirit inspired dozens of artists during his lifetime. The exhibition includes not only work by Bernini himself—embodying the Baroque ideals of intense drama, bold imagination, emotional engagement, and the activation of the viewer’s space—but by dozens of his fellow artists. Featuring over 40 splendid canvases by Pietro da Cortona, Mattia Preti, Jacques Stella, Salvatore Rosa, and Giovanni Battista Gaulli, this exhibition illuminates Bernini’s influence throughout the Baroque period. Bernini and the Roman Baroque celebrates the grand tradition of history painting, as well as portraiture, landscapes, and religious works. These rare paintings, prints, and decorative arts epitomize the period’s ultimate goal of elevating the viewer in both mind and soul, and engaging them fully with the art itself.
Bernini and the Roman Baroque features rarely seen and privately owned masterpieces from the Chigi family. A Roman princely clan of Sienese origins, they amassed a spectacular collection of art in their palace in Ariccia, to the north of Rome. Enormously wealthy bankers who gained aristocratic titles and lands, the family included cardinals and a pope among their number. The Chigis’ prominence fueled their cultural ambitions; they commissioned and collected paintings, sculptures, and buildings from the best artists of the day, eventually emerging among the major patrons of art in Rome during 1600s.
Reflecting artistic energy that pulsated throughout Europe and inspired architects, artists, and urban planners across the globe, Bernini and the Roman Baroque embodies the magnificence and innovation that transformed Rome into the capital of the art world for centuries to come.