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Bernini’s Sculpture, Rome, Italy (2014)

Measurements: Black metal frame, 20” x 20”. Image: 13” x 13”

Matte & Paper: 8 ply, white. Hahnemuhle archival paper

Photo #1581


Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s elephant sculpture, known as the “Elephant and Obelisk,” is a notable work of art located in Rome, Italy. It is located in the Piazza della Minerva, near the church of Santa Marie sopra Minerva. The sculpture consists of an Egyptian obelisk, which is an ancient symbol of the sun and divine power, mounted on the back of an elephant, which is a symbol of strength and intelligence.


The sculpture was created in the early 17th century and was commissioned by Pope Urban VII, who wanted to honour the obelisk’s original purpose as a symbol of the sun. The obelisk has previously been used as a gnomon or sundial, in the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, and was later brought to Rome by the Romans.


Bernini’s sculpture is notable for it dramatic and dynamic pose, which gives the impression of the elephant straining to support the weight of the obelisk. The sculpture is also notable for its attention to detail, with the elephant’s skin, tusks, and wrinkles all rendered with great care.


The Elephant and Obelisk is considered a masterpiece of Baroque sculpture and has become popular tourist attraction in Rome. It is also important example of Bernini’s ability to imbue his sculptures with movement and emotion, and has had a significant influence on the development of Western art.


Elephant supporting Egyptian Obelisk, 6th C BC.

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