Artibus et Historiae no. 84 (XLII)

2021, ISSN 0391-9064

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IRVING LAVIN (†) - Bernini’s Barcaccia in the Piazza di Spagna. An Art-Political No Man’s Land (pp. 221–235)

There is no doubt that the history of the papacy is full of pontiffs who enjoyed a good joke. None (at least to this author’s knowledge) had ever made good humor and wit a matter of public policy before Urban VIII who commissioned Gianlorenzo Bernini to create the fountain known as ‘la Barcaccia’. This article relates the resolution of a dangerous political situation involving France, Spain, and the Papacy in the late 1620s to the expression of joy, spiritual, intellectual, and civic, in the form of a public monument in the heart of Rome.


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