Promenade européenne dans Bordeaux 4
St. Bruno’s Church.
The place occupied by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) in the history of European art is itself an almost unique phenomenon. Gian Lorenzo Bernini worked first with his father, Pietro Bernini (1562-1629), before becoming the master of Italian baroque. He moved to Rome in 1605 and became chief architect of St. Peter’s in 1629, where he served seven successive popes and many cardinals.
St. Bruno’s Church was the first baroque church built in Bordeaux, in 1611, before St. Paul’s Church and the Church of Notre Dame. It is the only element remaining of the former Carthusian monastery. It once overlooked a small Italian-style square surrounded by constructions. It has a unique nave that contains a retable dating back to 1676 and numerous masterpieces, including a painting by Philippe de Champaigne and a sculpted group. The panels that extend on either side are dug from niches sheltering two white marble statues, one representing the annunciation, the Virgin Mary, sculpted by Pietro Bernini, and the other the Angel Gabriel, probably by his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Cardinal François de Sourdis stayed for more than a year in Rome, from 1622 to 1623, and commissioned two statues and a bust there. These were sculpted in Rome between 1620 and 1622, at the request of Cardinal of Sourdis who was staying in the Italian capital at the time, by the Berninis. Pietro created the Virgin, and Gian Lorenzo, his son, the Angel. The sculptures did not join the marble retable of St. Bruno’s until under the episcopate of his brother, Henri de Sourdis. The bust of the cardinal, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, remained in the chapel to the left of the entrance for a century. Found and restored, having been thrown into a well during the Revolution, it can now be seen at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Many thought it was created by Pietro, the father, but Filippo Baldinucci’s Vita di Bernini, published in 1682, is quite clear: it is the son, Gian Lorenzo, who sculpted the bust of Cardinal Serdi, sent to France.
Upon entering St. Bruno’s Church in March 1838, Stendhal, apparently unaware of the identity of the famous artists, was harsh about Bernini’s Angel, speaking of “the quite pretty head of the angel of the annunciation,” while adding “the body is quite pitiful.” He considered the cardinal’s bust, bursting out of its conical marble cope, “excellent or at least very good,” but positioned “too high.”… …
G.L. Bernini. Dessin pour l'Ange de la Chapelle du Saint Sacrement à Saint Pierre, Leipzig, Stadtbibliothek.
G.L. Bernini, Tête de l'ange de l'Extase de Sainte Thèrèse, Madonna de della Vittoria, Rome.
Return to the short route
via Rue Georges Bonnac and
continue to Place Gambetta.