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

Study for a Triton (recto)

Red chalk, 364 x 245 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This rough and hasty sketch by the great Baroque sculptor effectively conveys the stance and the action of Triton as he rises from the sea and raises the huge shell to his lips. The sketch corresponds closely to the finished fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome, where water gushes forth from the conch shell and spills down into the shell-shaped basin in which the Triton sits, raised aloft by intertwined dolphins.

This vigorous study represents the principal element of Bernini's Triton Fountain and it is the sculptor's only known autograph drawing for that project, which was commissioned by one of his most important and powerful patrons, Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini).

The verso contains anatomical studies in black chalk.