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Truth revealed by Time

Bernini Gian Lorenzo
(Naples 1598 - Rome 1680)

Truth Revealed by Time was executed by the artist for himself and his heirs in a difficult period of his career, which culminated in the demolition of one of the bell towers he had designed for St. Peter’s basilica and the election to the papal throne of Innocent X Pamphilj (1644-1655), who preferred Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) to him as an architect.
Representing the allegory of Truth revealed by Time, the sculptural group was never finished. When the artist died, the large block of marble intended for the execution of Time in flight, the revealer of Truth, was sold by his heirs.
Seated on a boulder, the maiden is holding the sun in her right hand and resting her left leg on the Earth, in accordance with the canonical iconography set forth in the famous Iconology by Cesare Ripa (1600).
Numerous autograph drawings for the sculptural group are known. In the figure of Truth one can recognize similarities with the unfinished Allegory of Virtue by Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (1489-1534), housed in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, where Bernini must have seen it. He later regained the favour of the Pope and won the commission for the Four Rivers Fountain (1648/51).

Object Details

Medium | Carrara marble, high 277

Inventory | CCLXXVIII

Location | Room 6 – Aeneas and Anchises Room

Period | '600

Classification | sculpture

  • Provenance
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Bernini’s home on Via della Mercede (until 1852), subsequently in Palazzo Bernini on Via del Corso (until 1924), then in storage at the Galleria Borghese; acquired in 1958 by the Italian government.



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