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

Bust of Louis XIV

Marble, height 80 cm
Musée National du Château, Versailles

With his bust of Louis XIV Bernini supplied a model for all Europe in the Baroque period. The heroic note is set by the bust, no longer a truncated half-bust with funerary allusions, but vigorously alive and imperious. The cloak is swept up, as if by a gust of wind, and the king turns with resolute composure in the direction of the wind, as if calmly facing a challenge. The base too is imagined as an allegorical complement; originally it must have included trophies of war and a globe, over which the Sun King's power allegorically shone.