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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Model for the Lion on the Four Rivers Fountain, c. 1649-50, terra-cotta, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome (258)

Another blockbuster exhibition opens Sunday in Fort Worth.

The latest in a Cultural District schedule strewn with significant shows has the Kimbell Art Museum unveiling Bernini: Sculpting in Clay, an effective case study on the master sculptor, who is often called the Michelangelo of his age.

Navigating the show’s 40-plus terra-cotta models might strike you as a daunting undertaking. So we spoke with C. D. Dickerson, the museum’s curator of European art, who steered us toward the exhibit’s high points:

Model for the Fountain of the Moor At about two and a half feet tall, the largest and most completed piece in the exhibition displays the artist’s range of textures and details. Notice how the spiraling, twisting stance, with its sharp turn of the head over the shoulder, enables the work to be appreciated from all angles, virtually compelling you to circle around it.

Head of St. Jerome Dickerson says the “loose and expressive” elements of the figure’s face and hair speak to the immensity of Bernini’s talent.

Angels from the Ponte Sant’Angelo These nine terra-cotta models represent one of the artist’s largest urban projects. Two were sculpted by Bernini, the rest by artisans in his workshop. Together they loosely re-create the Ponte Sant’Angelo--which crosses Rome’s Tiber River--at full scale, under the vaulted Kimbell gallery. 

Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817-332-8451 or kimbellart.org; through April 14.

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