FANCELLI, Cosimo
(b. ca. 1620, Roma, d. 1688, Roma)

Angel with the Sudarium

1668-69
Marble, over life-size
Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome

One of the last major projects by Bernini was the angels for the Ponte Sant'Angelo in Rome. Planned and executed between 1667 and 1669, the suite of eight, and subsequently ten, angels was designed by Bernini for Pope Clement IX as an embellishment to the ancient Roman Pons Aelius, which formed the principal link between the Vatican and the city. The major sculptors of the day were chosen to carve individual statues of the angels, each holding an instrument of the Passion of Christ, with two reserved for Bernini himself.

The degree to which Bernini's collaborators followed his intentions varied markedly, a reflection of the distance between the aging sculptor and his successors. Part of the disparity can be explained by his working method: Bernini left it to studio draughtsmen to make copies of his initial sketches.