Bernini’s self-portraits: the artist’s soul at the mirror

Bernini autoritratto

Autoritratto come Alessandro Magno, 1621

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598- 1680) painted a large number of self-portraits: he holds the record among Italian 17th-century artists, and in Europe is second only to Rembrandt.

At the age of twenty, the Neapolitan painter started to study facial expressions by observing the faces of the people around him as well as his own, which he carefully scrutinized at the mirror. Over the years, with growing eloquence, he captured and transformed into images the silent narrative of his profile, exploring every new detail added by the years.

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul” – and Bernini’s self-portraits reflect something that exists in each one of us.

June 6, 2014