The Bust of Costanza Bonarelli is a marble sculpture created in the 1630s by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It depicts Costanza Bonarelli, the wife of Bernini’s assistant, and is considered one of his most personal works. Bernini’s fascination with the power of sex is evident in the sculpture’s sensuality and intense emotional expression.
This uncommissioned piece was a culmination of Bernini’s experimentation in creating lifelike portraits. He used a wax model in its creation, which allowed him to capture the smallest details and nuances of the subject’s features. However, the process was not without controversy. Bernini openly insulted Costanza’s husband, which led to an altercation between the two men.
The Bust of Costanza Bonarelli is now housed in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence. Its historical significance lies in its status as one of the first uncommissioned busts in art history. Additionally, the sculpture reflects the Baroque period’s fascination with capturing the essence of the human form, particularly in their emotional expressions.