Religious Themes: Vital to Sculpture in the 17th Century

Topics: Pope, Rome, Pope Urban VIII Pages: 4 (1402 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Analyse 3 17th century sculptural representations of religious themes made by one or more artists and show how religious purpose is conveyed in each work.

Religious themes were vital to sculpture in the 17th Century due to the Baroque style becoming popular. Bernini was one of the great sculptors and three sculptures by him which are religious are; ‘David’ 1624 (part of a commission to decorate the Borghese Villa), ‘Monument to Urban VIII’ (a work which took 19 years to complete) 1647, and ‘Ecstasy Of St Teresa’ (the work which furthered his career after the death of his key patron Urban VIII) 1652 which all have strong ties to religion and religious purpose through their composition, figure handling, materials, size and subject matter. Bernini managed to make his pieces unique with interesting poses and intense drama which conveyed religious themes in a new way and gave the public renewed religious purpose. Bernini was a great practitioner of the Baroque style which was about high drama, clear narrative, and involving the audience so that they would be inclined to be more religious, these ideas were drawn up by the Council of Trent in 1545 and 1563.

Bernini’s version of ‘David’ from the Biblical story of ‘David and Goliath’ was a revolutionary because of the high drama and the way that it captured attention and made you think about the story. Bernini’s composition is complex to draw the viewer into the piece and capture their attention making them think of God. The intense frown upon David’s face stares out as if Goliath was before him and makes the viewer feel as if the story is happening now, bringing the religion alive and conveying religious purpose. The dramatic angle of David’s twisted, muscular form makes the piece exciting and shows his strength from God to the viewer, inspiring them to think about God. The arc of David’s arm and back combined with the extended left leg which stretches back make him appear to be moving through the air and...
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