March 8 marks the “International Women’s Rights Day” to remember the discrimination and violence that women suffer and have suffered in the world.
One of the figures who best embody the message of this important day is Costanza Bonarelli.
Wife of Matteo Bonarelli, an assistant of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, she was twenty-two when she met the famous sculptor forty, bachelor and very famous and became his mistress.
After a few years of passion, Gian Lorenzo Bernini learned that in Costanza’s life there was a new bond, Luigi Bernini, brother of the sculptor.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who took up his post under the house of the young woman, waited for his brother to leave, followed him.
Meanwhile, a servant of Gian Lorenzo was knocking on Costanza’s door with a gift.
Perhaps the girl didn’t even have time to smile. A razor blade etched the curve of her cheeks with the will to devastate her face, to take away her beauty forever, scarring her in the name of a frustrated possession.
The epilogue of the story saw Luigi in exile, the servant in prison and Constance condemned for adultery.
For Gian Lorenzo Bernini, on the other hand, only a sanction was ordered, which was then forgiven on condition that the sculptor took a wife..
On the occasion of the exhibition organized at the Uffizi against violence against women, Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi, about the bust of Costanza Piccolomini Bonarelli, says:
On display we look at it not only as a masterpiece by one of the greatest Baroque sculptors, but we are invited to reflect on the brutal violence of the strong against the weak. And to meditate on the unspeakable pain of survival.