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Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

A self-portrait c. 1675-80

Black and white chalks on buff paper | 41.3 x 27.1 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 905539

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The sculptor and architect Bernini was a member of the confraternity of the Bona Mors ('Good Death') in Rome, and he prepared meticulously for his own death. Self-examination – mainly of the soul, but unavoidably of the flesh too – was an important element of this, and his self-portrait is an unflinching examination of the marks of age on Bernini's face, powerful reminders of his mortality.