Europe / Italy / Pic of the Week

“Pic of the Week”, December 11, 2015: Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk, Rome


My wife and I love to visit Rome!  While walking to the Pantheon from the Forum, we passed a curious and playful sculpture of an elephant and above it, an obelisk.  These were in a square very near the Pantheon, just outside a church.

After our visit, we did a little research and discovered this sculpture, named Elephant and Obelisk. was designed by the great artist, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, arguably the greatest sculpture since Michelangelo.  The elephant was probably executed by Bernini’s assistant, but it’s clear Bernini had a hand in its design.  The Egyptian obelisk was uncovered during nearby excavations — the ancient Romans were fond of bring obelisks back from Egypt.  The completed composite work of art was unveiled in 1667 in the plaza where it still stands, just outside the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

So when in Rome, be sure you visit the Pantheon.  And wander down one of the side streets to find this fun sculpture.  While there, pop into the church.  On the right side of the altar you’ll find a rare sculpture by Michelangelo himself, Christ the Redeemer (see photos below).

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