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

The Throne of Saint Peter

1657-66
Marble, bronze, white and golden stucco
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

Saint Peter's throne is the last of Bernini's large monuments designed for the San Pietro. This completes and crowns his forty years long work in the decoration of the interior of the main church of the Roman Catholics. The throne symbolizes the power of the Pope. Bernini created an optical and artistic unity of the throne and the baldachin erected above the tomb of Saint Peter. The light coming from a natural source (the window of the apsis) is part of the composition, similarly than in two other great Bernini compositions, in the Saint Therese group, and in the tomb Ludovica Albertoni.

This composition became the prototype of the Baroque glories to be found in large numbers in European churches.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 21 minutes):
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Missa Brevis (Tu es Petrus)