Bernini and the Idealization of Death: Blessed Ludovica Albertoni and the Altieri Chapel
Tracing the history of the cult of Ludovica, the Altieri Chapel, and the statue, Shelley Perlove illuminates Bernini's contribution, both artistically and iconographically, to the chapel and proposes an interpretation of the precise nature of the experience the beata is undergoing in the sculpture. This interpretation is developed from an examination of the statue in the full context of other works of art in the chapel, medieval and Renaissance tomb sculpture, contemporary accounts of Ludovica's life and cult, and devotional Catholic literature undoubtedly known to Bernini. Woven into an iconographic scheme whose layers of meaning are mutually independent, the statue and the other elements in the chapel convey a unified conception.
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