BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo
(b. 1598, Napoli, d. 1680, Roma)

Beata Ludovica Albertoni

1671-74
Marble
Cappella Altieri, San Francesco a Ripa, Rome

One of the last sculptures made by Bernini and it can be considered as exceptional since in this late period his sculptures were executed by his coworkers after his design. Ludovica (died in 1533) was beatified in 1671 and the sculptor was commissioned by Cardinal Albertoni to make a sculpture for commemorating the event.

The sculpture of the dying Ludovica is placed above the altar of the chapel where she had been buried in the sixteenth century. The scene is rather theatrical with the lighting coming from a hidden window above the left of her head. The effect of light is multiplied by the decorative carpet dividing the dying from the believers. On her face, the pain of the suffering and the heavenly happiness are simultaneously present resulting in an extraordinary effect.