The remarkable technique of Finelli gave him a distinctive approach to portraiture. In the bust of Maria Barberini Duglioli, Urban VIII’s niece, he made the lace collar a ‘tour de force’, indeed, this bust was originally kept in a wire cage to protect the perforations of the lady’s collar, the flower in her curly hair, her ropes of pearls and her clasp with the Barberini family’s armorial bee. Portrait busts of women have always been comparatively rare, and Finelli’s work in this case conformed to the accepted formula by focusing on the accessories, leaving the expression vague and the eyes blank. Apparently, Bernini subcontracted this bust to his assistant in 1626, promising to recommend Finelli to the Pope for future employment. None was forthcoming, but the bust raised the standard for female portraits, becoming a touchstone for subsequent works.
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