Bernini: Sculpting in Clay

The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

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Terracotta in Seicento Rome: Bozzetti, Modelli, Models, and Copies

Program information

In conjunction with the exhibition Bernini: Sculpting in Clay (on view October 3, 2012–January 6, 2013), Jennifer Montagu, Honorary Fellow, The Warburg Institute, London University, outlines the history of bozzetti, modelli, and copies by various sculptors, including Bernini. Preliminary models were used by sculptors to sketch their designs, but sometimes, artists used the work of assistants or even other artists in order to create their full-scale sculptures.


Sculpting in Clay

October 3, 2012–January 6, 2013

Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide

To visualize lifesize or colossal marbles, the great Roman Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) began by making small, spirited clay models. Fired as terracotta, these studies and related drawings preserve the first traces of the thought process that evolved into some of the most famous statuary in the city, including the fountains in the Piazza Navona and the angels on the Ponte Sant'Angelo. This exhibition assembles for the first time some fifty of these bozzetti and modelli, as well as thirty chalk or pen sketches alongside three small-scale bronzes and a marble group. Through connoisseurship and a comprehensive campaign of scientific examination, the selection of models addresses the issue of what separates the hand of the master from the production of his large workshop.

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