CAMETTI, Bernardino
(b. 1669, Rome, d. 1736, Rome)


Marble, height c. 500 cm
La Superga, Turin

Rome enjoyed a monopoly on the production of reliefs and statuary in the eighteenth century, furnishing products for Spain and Portugal as well as Savoy. Thus, when Vittorio Amadeo II decided to make a votive offering for the Virgin to commemorate the liberation of Turin from the forces of Louis XIV in 1706, his architect, Filippo Juvarra proposed a royal monastery, the Superga. In some respects, this was a revised version of Sant'Agnese in Rome; above all, there was provision for three large altar reliefs. It is not surprising that the choice of sculptors fell on two artists working in Rome, Bernardino Cametti and, subsequently, Agostino Cornacchini (1686-1754).

As a supremely gifted designer, Juvarra had definite ideas about the nature of the reliefs, and Cametti's Annunciation must have fulfilled them. The high relief principles established by Algardi are adhered to, and although there is much bravura in the projection of God the Father's billowing robe or the Angel Gabriel's upper torso and wings, the tenor of the composition is rather restrained, more like a painting by Carlo Maratta or Guido Reni.