Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was born in Naples, but spent most of his life in Rome, where he is commemorated by two plaques.
One plaque marks the house in Via Liberiana, in which Bernini lived with his parents and siblings from 1606 until 1642. It was there, as the plaque records, that he carved some of his earliest masterpieces, including the sculptures of David and Apollo and Daphne (now in the Galleria Borghese).
A second, and much more ornate, plaque marks the house in Via delle Mercede, in which Bernini lived with his wife Caterina Tezio (1617-73) and their many children from 1642 until his death in 1680. The plaque was erected on December 7th, 1898, the 400th anniversary of his birth. The bust is the work of the Roman sculptor Ettore Ferrari (1845-1931). The main part of the inscription reads: QUI VISSE E MORÌ GIANLORENZO BERNINI SOVRANO DELL’ARTE AL QUALE SI CHINARONO REVERENTI PAPI PRINCIPI POPOLI. (Here lived and died Gian Lorenzo Bernini, sovereign of art, to whom reverent popes, princes and peoples bowed).
Unfortunately, the plaque is attached to the wrong building. Bernini owned two properties in Via della Mercede, number 11 and number 12, but he lived and worked in the former not the latter.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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