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

The Rape of Proserpina

Marble. height 295 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

The sculpture was commissioned by Scipione Borghese (together with other sculptures, among them the David, Apollo and Daphne) for decorating the halls of Villa Borghese.

There are several interpretations of the composition. One is based on the two-line verse of Pope Urban VIII incised into to base of the sculpture. This interpretation sees the group as a warning of the shortness of life and the danger of death. According to another interpretation this is an allegory of the passing summer and approaching winter.

The composition creates unity in a masterly way between the dragging and repulsive movements of the figures.