Gabriel Fonseca's bust

Gabriel Fonseca's bust is located in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina, in Rome.
This cathedral is situated in Rione Colonna and built in the IV century.

The Church

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Fonseca's chapel was commissioned to Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1670, when he was adult, by a portoguese doctor: Gabriel Fonseca.
The old position of the altar has been modified. Once it was in correspondence of the Gabriel's look.
The altarpiece is central to the overall scheme of the chapel for which Fonseca had planned. Te later addition of Bernini’s bust, participates in the whole scene, almost seeming to face the event of the Annunciation as though paying homage to the scene.

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The italian inscription reads as follows:

"CAPPELLA DELL'ANNUNZIATA / (G.L.BERNINI, 1660-64) / ALTARE: / ANNUNCIAZIONE (L.GIMIGNANI, 1664), DA ORIGINALE DI G.RENI IN OVATO / RETTO DA ANGELI DI BRONZO / A SINISTRA: / STENDARDO CON LA MADONNA SALUS POPULI ROMANI / BUSTO DI G.FONSECA, MEDICO DI INNOCENZO X / BUSTO DI MONS. L. DE WITTEN, MINISTRO DEGLI INTERNI DI PIO IX / A DESTRA: / MIRACOLO DEL PROFETA ELISEO / BUSTI DI DUE MEMBRI DELLA FAMIGLIA FONSECA"

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The bust

The bust has been graven in the action to lean out from a window, a typical Bernini's disposition of the subjects, as if they were elements of a theatrical scenography.
The work in the chapel which is best known is associated with the name of its patron, which depicts Gabriel Fonseca dressed in a doctor’s robes, holding a rosary enrapt in a devotional pose.1
The intensification of the mociones in prayer causes a notable deformation of the physical features, which, in the case of Fonseca, serves to render his portrait unique and unmistakable.2

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Bibliography:

  • Giovanni Careri, The Life of Bernini, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1995, pp. 42-50
  • Nelson Novoa, James W., Humanismo e Ciência: Antiguidade e Renascimento, UA Editora - Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro 2015, pp. 227-248

Sitography:


  • Photos and main text by Miriam De Salvia moc.liamg|4062azzoirim#| and Federica Greco moc.liamtoh|cerg.edef#| (December 2017)
  • Locate the item on this Google Map


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