Ah, beauty

I’ve just returned from a curator led tour at the Met of the clay models of Bernini.  However anxious and stressed I was before encountering Bernini, I feel like I’ve just returned from a beach vacation.

 Bernini: Sculpting in Clay

No wonder.  Art in Bernini’s age was meant to elevate the soul, to raise our spirits, to inspire us to greatness.  Even these clay models work magic.

This early, less-than-lifesized marble by Bernini and his father opens the show.

Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children

I really appreciated being able to get very close to the work, to see the deft textural changes, the little jokes like the angel sticking his tongue out at the faun.

Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children

These works, like so much great art, tell us to slow down, look.  The curator did a fantastic job of pointing out the artist’s hand–literally.  Here a thumb stroke, there he used a tool to create the smile, look how he rolled up clay to make the fingers.

Look for the life-sized head of the old man.  Bernini really could breath life into stone.  I wish I could show you an image.  You’ll just have to go to the show.

If it’s possible, I fell even more in love with Bernini.  His work is so seductive anyway, but to get an intimate experience with how he crafted the full scale sculptures makes me feel like I was there with him.  Even rough, the sculptures are astonishing in emotion, power, and visual expression.  This show is a visceral experience.

And for me a calming one.  I hope I can hang on to it.  Fortunately, for now, Bernini is only a few blocks away.