Bernini's Pluto and Proserpina
1621-22, marble (Galleria Borghese, Rome). Proserpina is the Latin varient of the
mythic Greek Persephone.
To get an idea of what a great sculptor Bernini was, and how he could make marble seem like human flesh, there is no better work than his early sculpture, Pluto and Proserpina. You may have noticed that there is movement, energy and drama here in a way that is very different from High Renaissance sculpture, with its distant ideal beauty. And because Bernini captures movement he also gives us a moment in time. Time and movement are important elements of Baroque art. Keep in mind that Bernini was a very devout Catholic—so much so that he reportedly went to church every day and took communion twice a week for the last 40 years of his life.