Travel to Italy: Rome: More Churches: Photo 42
Here's that "bedstead," completed in 1627. A more respectful reading would be this: "In the Baldacchino he [Bernini] solved the problem of constructing an altar which would not be dwarfed by Bramante's colossal order of pilasters by making his columns of dark bronze and giving them the twisted form of the columns which had stood in front of the altar in Old St Peter's and were traditionally believed to have come from the Temple of Jerusalem." Keith Miller reminds us that none of this spared Bernini from John Ruskin's condemnation. "It is impossible for false taste and base feeling to sink lower," Ruskin wrote, and he wasn't the first to feel that way. Winckelmann, a lover of classical Rome, wrote that Bernini "singlehandedly... introduced corruption into art." Ouch! Miller himself simply concludes that "whatever the baldacchino is, and whatever it is for, and whoever designed and made it, it is by pacing around it that the visitor may at last begin to feel he or she has begun to get the measure of St Peter's" (p. 108). Bernini, by the way, proceeded carefully by making two full-size wood models, no small undertaking.
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