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

Bust of Thomas Baker

c. 1638
Marble, height 82 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Thomas Baker accompanied the famous Van Dyck triple-portrait of Charles I to Rome where Bernini was charged with making a marble portrait bust from it in 1639, but Baker bribed Bernini to make his own bust. When Pope Urban VIII heard of this, he forbade the sculptor to continue because his talents were too important to be wasted on any but papal projects. The bust as finished by the workshop. A dandified mop of hair and elaborate lace seem to be Baker's most distinguished features.