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Pulcino della Minerva; Bernini's Elephant
Pulcino della Minerva; Bernini's Elephant
Other Title(s)Pulcino della Minerva; Bernini's Elephant
TitlePulcino della Minerva
Record Typework
Type of WorkSculpture
Creator (Artist/Architect)Bernini, Gian Lorenzo (1598-1680)
Ferrata, Ercole (1610-1686)
LocationItaly; Rome; Piazza S. Maria sopra Minerva
Period17th c
CultureItalian; Egyptian
Description/NotesObelisk: Early 6th c. BCE - Egypt Located behind the Pantheon in front of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. "The obelisk mentions the pharoah Apries, who is also mentioned as Hophrah in an oracle in Jeremiah 44:30. The obelisk was removed from the remains of the Isaeum Campense (a nearby temple of Isis). The elephant comes from the second half of the seventeenth century and is attributed to Bernini." See: For the Sculpture itself, see: Obelisk was "found in the Dominicans' garden. It is the shortest of the eleven Egyptian obelisks in Rome. The accompanying Latin inscription states it as an illustration that a strong mind is needed to support solid knowledge. The inspiration for the unusual composition came from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili ("Poliphilo's Dream of the Strife of Love"" an unusual 15th century novel probably by Francesco Colonna. The novel's main character meets an elephant made of stone carrying an obelisk, and the accompanying woodcut illustration in the book is quite similar to Bernini's statue. The sturdy appearance of the statue earned it the popular nickname of "Porcino"""Piggy"" which eventually transformed in the more polite Pulcino, the Romanesco (Roman dialect) equivalent of 'Chick'."
Rights - Deposited ImageCharles K. Growdon and Marcia Cohn Growdon
UNR Accession #06-MCG-0083-IT

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