the rape of proserpina statue

The rape of proserpina statue
However, “once she realized that Pluto had abducted Proserpine,” the Getty explains, “she became angry and caused the earth to dry up, and the harvests to fail. Jupiter saw from the heavens that the earth was barren and dead. He decided to intervene, and eventually a deal was made: Proserpine would spend half of the year with her mother and half of the year in the underworld with Pluto.”
Crafted in the early 17th century, this marble sculpture illustrates several of Bernini’s strong suits, including his mastery of anatomy and ability to evoke both dynamism and drama. While these achievements continue to garner praise for the sculptor today, its unsavory subject matter has cast a controversial shadow over the work—though it remains a quintessential highlight of both the Baroque era and of marble sculpture as a whole.

The rape of proserpina statue
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]
Most critics have been quick to praise the work. Rudolf Wittkower noted: “representations of such rape scenes depended on Bernini’s new, dynamic conception for the next hundred and fifty years”. [4] Howard Hibbard makes similar comments noting the realistic effects that Bernini had achieved via carving hard marble, such as the “texture of the skin, the flying ropes of hair, the tears of Persephone and above all the yielding flesh of the girl”. [5] The choice of incident to depict the story is commonly cited as well: Pluto’s hands encircle the waist of Proserpina just as she throws her arms out in an attempt to escape. [6] Bernini’s own son and biographer, Domenico, called it “an amazing contrast of tenderness and cruelty”. [7]

The rape of proserpina statue
However, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Bernini’s reputation was at a low ebb, critics found fault with the statue. The eighteenth-century French visitor Jerome de la Lande allegedly wrote: “Pluto’s back is broken; his figure extravagant, without character, nobleness of expression, and its outline bad; the female one no better”. [8] Another French visitor to the Villa Ludovisi was equally critical, stating: “The head of Pluto is vulgarly gay; his crown and beard give him a ridiculous air, while the muscles are strongly marked and the figure poses. It is not a true divinity, but a decorative god. ” [9]
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 proserpina statue
The contorted, serpentine configurations of the figures’ bodies expand upon this dynamism; they invite the viewer to move around the sculpture, view it from every side, and become a part of the dynamic story. By forcing the audience to actively view the piece, Bernini ensures that the viewer’s experience of the sculpture is expanded and dynamic in its own right.
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 rape of proserpina statue
Naturalism:
These figures are hardly the gritty street walkers that populate Caravaggio’s paintings, but certain details are breathtaking for the verisimilitude, especially the dimpling of Persephone’s flesh as Pluto’s fingers dig into her thigh and waist.
Drama:
Bernini chooses to depict the most dramatic, “pregnant” moment in the story; the scene is filled with heart-rending emotion. Bernini is famous for portraying the most poignant moment in a story and for communicating that event in the most dramatic way possible, by means of exuberant movement, emotive facial expressions, and feats of technical mastery.

References:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Proserpina
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Proserpina
http://blogs.cuit.columbia.edu/deb2170/the-rape-of-prosperina/
http://www.artble.com/artists/gian_lorenzo_bernini/sculpture/the_rape_of_persephone
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Proserpina

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