Borromini, Francesco (1599-1667)

"Borromini, Francesco (1599-1667)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 10th June 2011

Francesco Castelli named Borromini, Italian architect, was born in Bissone, Canton Ticino in 1599 and died in Rome in 1667. His activity begins in Milan, where he probably worked for the Fabbrica del Duomo (Milan's Cathedral) under the direction of Richini. Being in Rome since 1619 Borromini continued modest work of marble carver for Maderno, who was his distant parent, and thanks to him the young architect became a collaborator of Maderno in St Peter's and Palazzo Barberini.

Only in 1634, after the death of Maderno and affirmation of G.L.Bernini, to Borromini was entrusted the first task as to the independent architect with the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (S.Carlino) (see on the right interior of the dome of the church) (1638-41), its monastery constructions and cloister. At the same time he was busy with palaces Spada and Falconieri, and later with Oratory and Monastery of Filippini at Santa Maria della Vallicella (1637-1649). The only important work of Borromini out of Rome was the altar Filomarino in the church of Santi Apostoli in Naples.
borromini-cupola borromini-esterno borromini-interno
But his most grandiose and famous inventions and realizations were these two: restoration and reconstruction of Basilica di S.John Lateran (1646-1649), which was entrusted to him by Innocent X with the obligation to keep as it could only be possible the ancient plan and atmosphere; and creation of the church of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza (University) (see on the photos), begun in 1642.

Borromini continued to work in Palazzo Carpegna, church S.Maria dei Sette Dolori (1646), church Sant'Agnese in piazza Navona (1652-1655), transformation of S.Giovanni in Oleo; Cappella dei Magi and Collegio de Propaganda Fide (1660-1662).

The last years of Borromini's life are marked with creation of Campanile di Sant'Andrea delle Fratte and facade of S.Carlino (initiated in 1665 and finished in 1682 by his nephew Bernardo, after Borromini killed himself in 1667).

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