Bernini and Charles I (3)

The source of the story about Bernini’s comments about the physiognomy of Charles I has now been solved, thanks to Per Rumberg.   Long before Evelyn’s Numismata was published, Edmund Ludlow, a parliamentarian MP and regicide, wrote an autobiography, called A voyce from the watch tower, in which he described how the King ‘was very desirous to have his statue cut in stone by that famous ingraver Barnardino at Rome, had sent severall pieces drawne by choice hands, as Vandike and others, for his better direction therein, the said Barnardino delayd the dispatch thereof till, upon letters from England complayning thereof, he was pressed thereunto by the Pope and Cardinall Barbarino, who was entituled the Protector of the English.   And when, upon much importunity, he gave an account to those who had set him on worke that he had finished it, hee said, There are so many cross-angles in the physiognomy of him for whom it’s cut, that he would come to some ill end’.   Ludlow adds that when the statue arrived in the Queen’s House in Greenwich, a bird flew through the window and blood ran down the King’s face.

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