after Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)
17th century, Marble
Until very recently, it was believed that two of Bernini’s celebrated sculptures, the Anima Beata and Anima Dannata (Rome, Palazzo di Spagna), were commissioned by Pedro de Foix Montoya, the powerful prelate who served as a jurist at the Apostolic Signatura and who had commissioned a portrait from the brilliant sculptor as well as his funeral monument in Santa Maria in Monserrato (1622-23). The two extraordinary sculptures are related to the cult of depicting souls in purgatory, which was widespread in the Baroque era. The more intriguing of the pair, the Damned Soul, was so appealing that Bernini's collaborators and followers were asked to make copies until the 19th century; the work in question belongs to the group of such replicas and is faithful to the original, albeit with some simplifications obviously due to the much lesser talent of its maker.