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

Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius

Marble, height 220 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

This is the first work Bernini made for Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese. In contrast to Raphael's famous fresco of this motif in the Stanza of the Vatican Palace, Bernini's sculpture remains extraordinarily close to Virgil's text, apparent in the Phrygian headgear of Anchises, a reference to his eastern origins, as well as the fact that he is being carried on Aeneas' shoulders (Anchises had been made lame by an avenging bolt of lightning from Jupiter). Aeneas' exemplary conduct may be an allusion to the name of the work's patron, Scipione (staff, support).