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Bernini's fountains : an illustration of how this art-form can be said to symbolize the emotional stability of its creator- the seventeenth century genius Mather, Jane Maynard


The oft cited man on the street has never heard of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, although this great artist was perhaps the genius of the seventeenth century. Such ignorance, it is my contention in this thesis, arises from the myth that links creativity with illness, genius with insanity. The same man on the street often knows of other artists not so much, unfortunately, from their work, as from the much publicized idiosyncrasies of their personalities. Bernini, as I have endeavoured to show in this paper, was a man of outstanding stability, vitality, discipline— and a man entirely committed to, and involved in, the time in which he lived. Symbolic of this balance and involvement, it is also my contention, are Bernini's Fountains in Rome. It is generally acknowledged that Bernini brought to this art-form new unity and life, and I have endeavoured here to show how this achievement in the art-form is, more than any other of his well-known accomplishments in Sculpture, Architecture, etc., closely connected to, if not completely a projection of, the emotional stability of its creator.

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