Bernardino Ludovisi

Bernardino Ludovisi (c. 1693 – 11 December 1749), also called Bernardo, was an Italian sculptor.

Angel bearing Lilies, Altar of S Luigi Gonzaga in Sant'Ignazio, Rome; c. 1748.

Life and workEdit

Little is known of his life. The Ludovisi were an ancient Italian family, originally from Bologna. Bernardino seems to have spent most, if not all, of his career in Rome. He is an example of a working sculptor of his time, proficient in his craft but largely forgotten today.

Ludovisi participated in several prominent sculptural projects of his day, such as the Trevi Fountain, the ongoing sculptural works of St Peter’s, and the façade of St John Lateran. He was one of six Italian sculptors allotted subsidiary tasks to the French masters Pierre Le Gros and Jean-Baptiste Théodon working on the Chapel of St Ignatius in Il Gesù.[1] He was also one of the sculptors commissioned by King João V of Portugal to supply sculpture to his palatial complex at Mafra. Towards the end of his life he was employed by the Colonna family, prominent patrons of the arts, for whom he completed the funerary monuments of Filippo II Colonna and Maria Rospigliosi Salviati (the latter commissioned by her relative, Caterina Salviati Colonna), as well as a portrait bust of Pope Benedict XIV (a gift from Monsignor—later Cardinal—Marcantonio Colonna to the Pontiff).

Ludovisi began in the vein of Baroque classicism, but as he matured he began to lean toward the French style of Le Gros and the Rococo, exemplifying a later, gentler variation of Italian Baroque which Enggass named barocchetto. His work is characterised by an attention to detail, an effective use of colour, and a painterly manner in his reliefs.

List of known worksEdit

Angel bearing Lilies, Altar of S Luigi Gonzaga in Sant'Ignazio, Rome; c. 1748.


  1. ^ Wittkower (435-436) views the work of these Italians in the chapel as more distinguished than that of the more highly regarded French masters
  2. ^ Said to be the largest single piece of lapis in existence - Augustus J. C. Hare, Walks in Rome (1871) pp. 106f


  • Sergei Androsov, "Two Unknown Works of Bernardino Ludovisi", paper presented at the Vladimir F. Levinson-Lessing Memorial Conference, State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, 23 October 2002, afternoon session.
  • Robert Enggass, “Bernardino Ludovisi – I: the Early Work” The Burlington Magazine. CX (1968): 436, 438–444.
  • Robert Enggass, “Bernardino Ludovisi – II: the Later Work” The Burlington Magazine. CX (1968): 494–501.
  • Robert Enggass, “Bernardino Ludovisi – III: His Work in Portugal” The Burlington Magazine. CX (1968): 613–619.
  • Robert Enggass, “Bernardino Ludovisi: a New Attribution” The Burlington Magazine. CXX (1978): 229–231.
  • Robert Enggass, “Ludovisi’s Tomb for a Colonna Prince” The Burlington Magazine. CXXXV (1993): 822–824.
  • Vernon Hyde Minor, “A Portrait of Benedict XIV by Bernardino Ludovisi,” Antologia di Belle Arti, nn. 59-62 (2000): 52-55.
  • Rudolf Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750 (Pelican History of Art). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980.

External linksEdit