Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini was arguably the greatest sculptor-architect of the 17th century. He was born in Naples in 1598, the son of a Florentine sculptor by whom he was trained. He began his career as a student of his father Pietro Bernini (1582-1629), a sculptor who had himself worked at one time with Camillo Mariani. He owes his father for his accomplished techniques in the handling of marble and also an impressive list of patrons; that included the Borghese and the Barbarini families. .
After settling in Rome, Bernini came to the attention of the future Pope Urban VIII. Under the patronage of Pope Urban VIII, Bernini spent his entire career in Rome where he gained his architectural fame under Alexander VII. When Barberini was subsequently installed as Pope Urban VIII, 1623, Bernini was put in charge of building operations at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, where one of his early works, 1624-33, was the canopy [baldachin] over the high altar. Bernini originally worked in the Late Mannerist tradition but rejected the contrived tendencies of this style. By 1624 he had adopted an expression that was passionate and full of emotional and psychological energy. His figures are caught in a transient moment from a single viewpoint. In 1644, his interpretation reaches maturity in his rendition of the vision and Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. The Spanish nun swoons in heavenly rapture at the point of an angel's arrow. The work is a prime example of Bernini's vision of a decorative whole combining .
different materials and colors within an architectural space. A succession of powerful patrons in Rome and in Paris assured his reputation as an artist who captured the spirit .
of the Counter-Reformation. His extreme and intense characterizations have fallen in .
and out of favor but his Baroque legacy remains intact. Considered the creator of the Baroque style, Bernini created a fusion of architecture, painting, and sculpture that led to the generation of new, dynamic forms.