Bernini and the Roman Baroque: the Language of Modernity. Artworks from the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia

15/05/2018 - 15/07/2018

The Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia and the National Gallery present 58 masterpieces of the Roman Baroque related to the oeuvre of prominent figures, from Bernini to Cavaliere d’Arpino and Mattia Preti. The exhibition, organised under the patronage of Sofia Municipality, transports us to the Italy of the 17th century in order to acquaint ourselves with the luscious and fascinating manner of expression typical of that period.

For the first time in Bulgaria, a collection of such a wealth of genres and themes favoured by those commissioning art at that time is on display: from portraits and self-portraits, landscapes and allegories of exquisite classical taste, to what we define as ‘Triumphal Baroque’ with its religious images positioned between contemplative intimism and the power of Christ’s drama.

Through the exhibits, we can also become acquainted with the genius of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, considered the greatest representative of the art of his time. An extremely talented artist, sculptor, designer of stage sets, playwright and architect, he had explored many new areas in search of his own manner of expression, which later became the universal language of Baroque. The exhibition presents an aspect of Bernini less known to the broad public, focusing on his image as an artist and designer. Next to his artworks stand the masterpieces of many of the artists gathered in Rome, attracted by the creative magnetism of Bernini, a stimulator of various energies and ingenious ideas. Thanks to the collection preserved in the Chigi Palace in Ariccia, we can admire the works of Momper, Baciccio, Cavaliere d’Arpino, Giacinto Gimignani, Borgognone, and many others.

Dedicated to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the exhibition will make us think about the significance of communication during the epoch of the Baroque art, which, owing to entirely new connotations of that time, revolutionised the aesthetics and dissemination of art.
The collection on display offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate this style in its captivating complexity and undeniable originality.