Bust of Alessandro Peretti di Montalto

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Bust of Alessandro Peretti di Montalto
Sculpture of Cardinal Montalto by Bernini 6.JPG
Artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Year 1622 (1622)
Catalogue 81 (7)
Type Sculpture
Medium Marble
Dimensions Life-size
Location Kunsthalle, Hamburg
Coordinates Coordinates: 53°33′18″N 10°0′11.88″E / 53.55500°N 10.0033000°E / 53.55500; 10.0033000

The Bust of Alessandro Peretti di Montalto is a portrait sculpture by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Executed in 1622 and 1623, the sculpture is currently housed in the Kunsthalle Hamburg, in Germany. Although possibly mentioned by one of Bernini's early biographers, the bust had been considered lost and therefore makes no appearance in Rudolf Wittkower's catalogue of Bernini’s sculptures of 1955. However, the bust was identified in the 1980s and is now considered an authentic work by Bernini.[1]


Bernini had already been commissioned by Cardinal Montalto to create the Neptune and Triton fountain for his gardens at the Villa Montalto on the outskirts of Rome, and was involved in the commissioning of the David statue that eventually ended up in the Villa Borghese. But the precise reason behind this bust is unclear; given that Cardinal Montalto died in 1623, it has been suggested the bust was created as part of a funerary tomb.[2] However, Montalto may well himself have commissioned the bust prior to his death [1]


The bust was recorded as being in the Villa Montalto in the early 1660s and then in the "Casa Peretti" in 1682. The bust arrived in Hamburg Kunsthalle after 1910, being donated as part of the collection of the Anglo-German Sir John Henry Schroder.[1]


Although only recently re-discovered by art historians the sculpture is well appreciated. Hess comments that "the expression of deep thought and concentration on the cardinal ... gives a great sense of animation to this bust. Bernini has included remarkably naturalistic details, such as the fine hair of his unshaven cheeks, the fleshly lower lip ... and the pockmarks flanking his nose".[1] Meanwhile, Lavin mentions the “extraordinary qualities of vitality and refinement with which Bernini suffused the conventions of formal ecclesiastical portraiture.” [2]



  1. ^ a b c d Hess, Catherine. "Ritratto del Cardinal Alessandro Damasceni Peretti di Montalto", I marmi vivi: Bernini e la nascita del ritratto barocco, pp. 230–32.
  2. ^ a b Lavin, Irving. "Bernini's bust of Cardinal Montalto", Burlington Magazine, 1985, vol. 127, pp. 32–38.
  • Avery, Charles (1997). Bernini: Genius of the Baroque. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 9780500286333. 
  • Baldinucci, Filippo (2006) [1682]. The Life of Bernini. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 9780271730769. 
  • Bernini, Domenico (2011) [1713]. The Life of Giano Lorenzo Bernini. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 9780271037486. 
  • Dempsey, Charles (2000). Inventing the Renaissance Putto. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina. ISBN 9780807826164. 
  • Mormando, Franco (2011). Bernini: His Life and His Rome. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226538525. 
  • Wittkower, Rudolf (1955). Gian Lorenzo Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque. London: Phaidon Press. ISBN 9780714837154. 

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