"It is impossible for false taste and base feeling to sink lower" - John Ruskin, Victorian-era art critic

Bernini's critics were, very often, critical of the Baroque style in general. The Baroque, and Bernini's work in particular, was focused on emotion, faith and exaggeration, and the Age of Reason that followed him held none of those things in high regard. After his death, Bernini fell out of favor among art critics, and has only recently been the recipient of praise once again.

"Baroque is the art of bad taste" - Benedetto Croce, 20th Century Italian philosopher

"The Baroque is when you can draw a straight line but choose instead to draw a curve. The Baroque is when you are bored with the melody and wish to listen to the variations" - Luigi Barzini, Italian journalist

In his own time Bernini had many critics, especially concerning his failure to build bell towers for St. Peter's. Many of these men were merely jealous of all of the commissions received by Bernini and resented the fact that they had to go through him to find work during Urban VIII's papacy. Bernini's harshest critic was Francesco Borromini, one of Rome's leading architects. Borromini was the man who, with others, convinced Pope Innocent X that Bernini was a bungler and that his bell tower should be torn down.

Other critics of Bernini complain of over exaggeration. They say that the expressions on the faces of his sculptures are overdone, hackneyed, and insincere. However, many of the critics who claim that the expressions he uses are unoriginal are more modern and fail to realize that in Bernini's time what he was doing was original and has been copied and recopied over the years. Also, those who say that his work is insincere are typically not Italians and do not realize that Italians, like Bernini, are extremely exaggerated individuals who gesture more than many cultures, and Bernini was trying to appeal to them. It would be unwise to suppose that Bernini's works are insincere merely because they are as vivid and as full of expression as his countrymen.

There were, of course, people who liked his work, and many of those people were in charge of the Catholic Church.

"Our fortune is far greater in that Cavalier Bernini lives during our pontificate" - Pope Urban VIII

"[Bernini is] a rare man, sublime artificer, born by Divine Disposition for the glory of Rome to illuminate the century" - Pope Urban VIII

Even Pope Innocent X, the man who left him disgraced, could not deny Bernini's brilliance. When the Pope was looking for a design for a fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona he did not ask Bernini to submit an idea, but Bernini made a model of his fountain and had a friend secretly place the model in the Pope's palace where he would see it. When the Pope saw the design for the fountain he came to the realization that he could not help but use Bernini's design and Bernini once again fell into favor with the Pope.