Daniel and the Lion, one of Bernini’s later artworks is a marble statue created in 1655, and was placed in the Chigi Chapel in the Church of the Santa Marie del Popolo in Rome, Italy. This statue shows a scene from the Old Testament in The Bible, the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Daniel was an Israeli, who as a young boy was captured by the Babylonians, an enemy of Israel and made a slave.
Many years later, as an adult he had become an important figure in the Babylonian government and favored by King Darius, but he had many enemies. These men were envious of Daniel’s power, wisdom, and favoritism by the king. So they concocted a plan to get rid of him. Next, Daniel was a Jew so he worshiped his people’s single God, so they convinced Darius to sign a law saying that the people could only worship him for thirty days, and the punishment was to be thrown into a lion’s den. Daniel could not follow this rule so he was later arrested and thrown into the pit of lions.
Bernini’s artwork depicts the time that Daniel spent with the lions beautifully, by showing Daniel with his hands uplifted in prayer asking for deliverance from the lions. The light shining on Daniel’s head seems to symbolize the holy light of the Lord that encircles his body forming a shield that is protecting him from the hungry lion lurking behind him. Also Bernini very skillfully uses light to illuminate his piece by placing the light on Daniel and having the lion den in shadow.
Finally, my opinion of this piece is that this piece is very good way to show the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den and teach the church friendly message of trusting in God when you are sacred and alone because he will protect you like he did for Daniel.
Bernini, Gian Lorenzo. Daniel. 1655-57. Santa Marie del Paplo, Rome. Santa Maria del Popolo. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.
Hibbard, Howard. “Gian Lorenzo Bernini.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc, 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.
Peach, David. “Daniel in the Den of Lions Bible Story Summary.” What Christians Want to Know, 27 August 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.