Gianlorenzo Bernini, the renowned Italian sculptor, created several sculpted busts of Pope Urban VIII varying in their details with assistance from other artists in his workshop. One of the most famous is the Bust of Urban VIII created between 1623-24. This bust was commissioned by who would become Bernini’s biggest patron – Pope Urban VIII himself. The bust represents a significant milestone in the artist-patron relationship as it underscores the sustained and ongoing support of Bernini by Pope Urban VIII over two decades during which time he produced some exceptional works.
The bust depicts Pope Urban VIII in his regal robes and features life-like, animated features thanks to Bernini’s attention to detail. It showcases how he brought stone alive with small touches to enhance the model’s face and clothes, as well as a sense of motion depicted through waves on his cloak reflecting movement. While historians have debated over when exactly this piece was completed, they agree that it’s among some of Bernini’s finest works.
This was not Bernini’s only work for Urbano. He designed Baroque architecture projects like Cathedra Petri (Chair Of Saint Peter) at St. Peter’s Basilica upon commission from Pope Urbano VIII.