Il Marmo Spirante

Sculpture and Experience in Seventeenth-Century Rome

Joris van Gastel

Il Marmo Spirante

Joris van Gastel

Distributed for Leiden University Press

328 pages | 80 color plates | 6 3/5 x 9 2/5 | © 2013
Cloth $125.00 ISBN: 9789087281793 Published December 2013 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
The sculptors of the Roman Baroque, including masters such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Alessandro Algardi, and Giuliano Finelli, managed to achieve unprecedented vivaciousness in their works. Yet, the apparent life of these sculptures is persistently obscured by their materiality. Soft, undulating flesh and fluttering draperies are captured in hard and lifeless marble. Taking the manner in which the beholder’s engagement with sculpture plays out in contemporaneous poetry and other sources as a point of departure, this study explores the various ways contemporary viewers dealt with sculpture’s double character, introducing ideas from modern-day psychology along the way.  


Sculpture and Experience

Sculpture through Poetry

Sculpted Life

Effects on the Spectator/Poet

Poetry and Other Sources

Between Beholder, Artist, and Art

Likeness and Recognition: The Portrait Bust

To Create a Likeness

Portraiture and Caricature

The Lifelikeness of Portraiture

Plurality or the Bust as Construct

Azioni, Affetti, and Fantasia

Creating the Plural Bust

Looking at Bernini with Guidiccioni

Moving Sculpture Moving the Beholder

Moments and Movement


Movement Styles and Caricatures

The Portrait Bust

The Moving Beholder

Touch and Sculpted Flesh

Titian as a Sculptor of Flesh

Nursing the Putto

Ambiguities of the Flesh

Touch and Flesh

Franchezza or the Sculptor’s Traces

Franchezza and Connoisseurship

The Sculpture as Connoisseur

The Dynamics of Observation

The Prominence of the Fold

Bernini’s Metamorphosis

‘Per una statua di Dafne’

The Active Spectator

The Petrified Spectator

Life to Stone



Appendix 1: A Letter to Bernini

Appendix 2: Fulvio Testi’s ‘Lusso di Roma’



List of Illustrations


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