Gian Lorenzo Bernini was considered a childhood genius, a prodigy that took in his father's teachings with ease and quickly surpassed his technical level
Angelica Galante and Pietro Bernini, originally from Florence would have thirteen children, of which their son Gian Lorenzo was their sixth. They had moved to Naples by the time that he arrived in 1598.
Father Pietro would immediately encourage his son to pursue his creative side, hoping that perhaps he would follow a similar artistic path. Pietro was a talented sculptor, of the mannerist art movement. It is likely that he would have also strongly encouraged other members of his offspring, but it was Gian Lorenzo who immediately showed the most promise.
Some even considered him to be the Michelangelo of the 17th century, which makes it all the most puzzling as to why for several centuries after his own passing, Gian Lorenzo Bernini was not respected to the level that he was during his own lifetime or as he his increasingly in the present day.
The entire Bernini family would relocate to Rome after Pietro received a life-changing commission, to produce some marble work for the Cappella Paolina of Santa Maria Maggiore. At this time his son was only eight years old and it was entirely necessary to continue his training whilst completing this commission. After settling for some years in the city of Rome Pietro would feel confident enough in allowing his son to contribute to his own work (around 1615-1620).
Gian Lorenzo's reputation would start to surpass that of his father, leading to an introduction to Pope Paul V. A successful interview, of sorts, led to the development of his own career across the next few decades. Rome was to become home, a home he would never leave, nor ever wish to. This extraordinary artistic talent now had all the resources he needed to make the most of his potential.