the rape of persephone sculpture

The rape of persephone sculpture
Others have remarked on the twisted contrapposto or figura serpentinata pose of the group. While reminiscent of Mannerism, particularly Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, Bernini permits the viewer to absorb the scene from one single viewpoint. While other views provide further details, a spectator can see the desperation of Proserpina and the lumbering attempts of Pluto to grab her. This was in contrast to the Mannerist sculpture of Giambologna, which required the spectator to walk around the sculpture to gain a view of each of character’s expression. [10] [11]
The Rape of Proserpina (Italian: Ratto di Proserpina) is a large Baroque marble sculptural group by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, executed between 1621 and 1622. Bernini was only 23 years old at its completion. It depicts the Abduction of Proserpina, who is seized and taken to the underworld by the god Pluto. [1] [2]

The rape of persephone sculpture
This interest in transforming stone into skin is particularly evident in The Rape of Proserpina, a piece intended to portray a dramatic abduction (in the case of its title, the term “rape” refers to the act of kidnapping). “Pushed to the point of grazing the physical limits of marble,” Bernini’s attention to detail and interest in realism is evident in the work’s anatomical details. As the hand of Pluto (the sculpture’s male subject) grabs the thigh of Proserpina (the female figure), his grasping fingers appear to sink into her seemingly soft skin. Similarly, straining to overpower her, the muscles in his bent legs and tense arms protrude, while her flowing hair and twisting drapery suggest movement.
Measuring nearly 7.5 feet tall, the piece is carved from Carrara marble, a material derived from Tuscany and historically used by ancient Roman builders and, more recently, by Mannerist and Renaissance artists. The softness of this high-quality marble lended itself to Bernini’s craft, as he “prided himself on being able to give marble the appearance of flesh.”

The rape of persephone sculpture
Others have remarked on the twisted contrapposto or figura serpentinata pose of the group. While reminiscent of Mannerism, particularly Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, Bernini permits the viewer to absorb the scene from one single viewpoint. While other views provide further details, a spectator can see the desperation of Proserpina and the lumbering attempts of Pluto to grab her. This was in contrast to the Mannerist sculpture of Giambologna, which required the spectator to walk around the sculpture to gain a view of each of character’s expression. [10] [11]
The Rape of Proserpina (Italian: Ratto di Proserpina) is a large Baroque marble sculptural group by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, executed between 1621 and 1622. Bernini was only 23 years old at its completion. It depicts the Abduction of Proserpina, who is seized and taken to the underworld by the god Pluto. [1] [2]

The rape of persephone sculpture
This depiction captures the scene at the climax of the moment; Pluto is lifting Proserpina into the air, and she is visibly fighting back. This snapshot in time contains a considerable amount of life-like detail. These details, like the expression of fear on Proserpina’s face or the sense of overwhelming force created by the muscular form of Pluto, inform the viewer and tell an entire story with a single moment in time. This dynamic representation, a trait developed by the Baroque masters, 7 creates a vivid and believable representation of this myth.
The intricate, lifelike details with which Bernini imbued the sculpture further this story and give it an emotional depth that connects with the viewer. The way Proserpina’s hand presses into and distorts Pluto’s face, and the impression that Pluto’s hand makes in Proserpina’s leg, serve to tell the story. These details inform us of the unwanted advances, as well as the sexual nature of the scene. The fact that the bodies are partially clothed, their genitalia hidden, only adds to the sensuality of this moment. The story is told through a corporeal representation that reaches to the core passions of every human being. The emphasis on the visceral is a common expository technique in Baroque sculpture. 7

white marble, h. cm 255
The work portrays the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto, the god of the underworld.
Present in both Claudian (De raptu Proserpine) and Ovid (Metamorphoses, V, 385-424), the myth tells of the abduction of the maiden on the shores of Lake Pergusa, in the vicinity of Enna. Crazed by sorrow, her mother, the harvest goddess Ceres, caused a drought that forced Jupiter to intercede with Pluto to allow Prosperpina to return to her for six months a year. Bernini represents the culminating moment of the action. The proud and insensitive god is dragging Proserpina into Hades, his muscles so taut in the effort to hold the writhing body that Pluto’s hands sink into her flesh.

References:

http://mymodernmet.com/bernini-the-rape-of-proserpina/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Proserpina
http://blogs.cuit.columbia.edu/deb2170/the-rape-of-prosperina/
http://galleriaborghese.beniculturali.it/en/opere/rape-of-proserpina/
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Proserpina

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