- Also known as
primary name: Algardi, Alessandro
- individual; sculptor/medallist; architect; Roman; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Sculptor and architect, b. Bologna 1598; trained in Bologna; to Rome c.1625; d. Rome 1654. Algardi trained in Bologna with Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619) at the Carracci Academy, and with the minor Bolognese sculptor Giulio Cesare Conventi (1577-1640). After working in Mantua and Venice, in 1625 he transferred to Rome, where he was soon afterwards employed by the Bolognese cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi as a restorer of ancient sculpture. Among his earliest independent works in Rome are the statues of 'St John' and 'St Mary' in the Bandini Chapel, S. Silvestro in Capite (before 1629). In the 1630s Algardi received several important public commissions, including the tomb of Leo XI, St Peter's, Rome (begun 1634); the 'Beheading of St Paul', the high-altar sculpture in S. Paolo Maggiore, Bologna (also begun 1634); and 'St Philip Neri with an Angel', Sacristy, S. Maria in Vallicella, Rome (1635-8). A long and fruitful collaboration with his Bolognese compatriot Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (q.v.) began in this same decade, starting with the stucco decoration of the Gessi Chapel, S.Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Algardi also worked closely with Grimaldi on the designs for the catafalque to the memory of Marchese Ludovico Facchinetti, which was erected in 1644 in the church of SS Giovanni e Petronio dei Bolognesi, Rome (see At,10.70).
During the reign of Innocent X Pamphilj (1644-55), when Gianlorenzo Bernini (q.v.) had fallen from his coveted position as Rome's leading sculptor, Algardi came into greater prominence. Among the papal commissions he received were the bronze statue of 'Pope Innocent X' in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome (1646-50); and the 'Encounter of Leo X and Attila', a marble relief in St Peter's, Rome (1646-53). Algardi was also employed by the Pope's nephew, Camillo Pamphilj, designing for him the stucco decoration of the Galleria di Ercole in the then newly erected Villa Belrespiro, outside Rome (see 1946,0713.1383; 1982,0724.4 and 1991,1005.80). Algardi excelled as a sculptor of portrait busts. He made several of Innocent X and his family, the most famous of which is that of the Pope's sister-in-law Donna Olimpia Maidalchini (Galleria Doria-Pamphilj, Rome, 1646-7).
After Bernini, Algardi was the most important sculptor of the Roman Baroque period. His style was more austere than that of his rival and owed much to the influence of the Carracci. The paintings of his friend Pietro da Cortona (q.v.) also left their mark on his work.
- Turner 1999