Gianlorenzo Bernini personified the style and era that we call the Baroque. He dominated almost the entire seventeenth century, with Rome being his primary stage. "In Marble, travertine, stucco, and gilt; in painting, through glass and shimmering water, sculptured space and channeled light, Bernini left his imprint on the Catholic capitol, the indelible stamp of genius" (Scribner, 7). Throughout his many masterpieces Bernini was able to create another realm, one of excitement and imagination, yet one that was highly naturalistic and emotional. Bernini was also a very pious Catholic and his world was one of religious fervor, this also being seen in his masterpieces. He wanted his audience to see and feel the greatness and passion of the Catholic religious experience, the experience that he felt within his religion.
Gianlorenzo Bernini was born in Naples on December 7, 1598. His father, Pietro, was a Florentine sculptor who had moved to Naples to practice painting. There he met Angelica Galante, a young Neapolitan girl. Pietro Bernini was considered on of the best sculptors of his time and was thought to be highly creative (Wallace, 13). Pietro's style exemplified the refined passionless style of late Mannerism that soon led into the Baroque style (Scribner, 7). .
In 1605 Pietro Bernini and his family moved back to Rome and settled near the ancient basilica that was at the time being restored in response to the Counter-Reformation. The dawn of the Baroque period had begun in the Eternal City of Rome (Scribner, 7). In growing up in the great city of Rome Bernini was able to grow in and admire the most celebrated works of ancient and modern painters and sculptors as well as the precious remains of ancient architecture. Thus it was made easy for Bernini to closely study the great works of artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael. It was through this close study that Bernini was able to grasp the essence of all of the perfection and distinction that he could in accordance with his ability, portray his own unique, passionate, and very naturalistic style (Baldinucci, 9).