Algardi, Alessandro

Algardi, Alessandro
born 1595, Bologna, Papal States
died June 10, 1654, Rome

Italian sculptor.

He trained in Bologna under the Carracci family and in 1625 moved to Rome, where he designed the stucco decorations in San Silvestro al Quirinale. He later became the most outstanding Baroque sculptor in Rome after Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He was a prolific sculptor of portrait busts, and his colossal marble relief of the Meeting of Attila and Pope Leo (1646–53) in St. Peter's Basilica influenced the development and popularity of illusionistic reliefs. His work as a restorer of antique statuary brought him some notoriety.

"Meeting of Attila and Pope Leo," colossal marble relief by Alessandro Algardi, ...

Anderson from Art Resource/EB Inc.

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▪ Italian sculptor
born July 31, 1595, Bologna, Papal States [Italy]
died June 10, 1654, Rome
 one of the most important Roman sculptors of the 17th century working in the Baroque style.

      Algardi, the son of a silk merchant from Bologna, was trained under Lodovico Carracci (Carracci, Lodovico) at the Accademia degli Incamminati, where he acquired the skills of a first-rate draftsman. After a short period of activity in Mantua (1622), he moved to Rome (1625), where he designed the stucco decorations in San Silvestro al Quirinale and gained some success as a restorer of classical sculptures. With the monument of Cardinal Millini (d. 1629) in Santa Maria del Popolo, the Frangipani monument in San Marcello al Corso, and the bust of Cardinal Laudivio Zacchia (Berlin), Algardi emerged as the principal rival of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Bernini, Gian Lorenzo) in the field of portrait sculpture. Lacking Bernini's dynamic vitality and penetrating characterization, Algardi's portraits were appreciated for their sobriety and surface realism.

 Algardi's close association with Pietro da Cortona helped establish his reputation in Rome and also familiarized him with a classicizing style in sculpture that owed a great deal to Roman attitudes toward historical accuracy and the influence of Christian archaeology. Perhaps his most important commission in the 1630s was for the marble tomb of Pope Leo XI in St. Peter's (Saint Peter's Basilica) (1644; erected 1652). Leo XI reigned as pontiff a mere 27 days in April 1605 (the commission came from the pope's great-nephew, Cardinal Roberto Ubaldini). Algardi emphasized Leo's munificence with allegorical figures of liberality and magnanimity as well as the relief sculpture Cardinal de' Medici's Legation to France. Unlike Bernini's tomb for Pope Alexander VII, which combined white and coloured marble with bronze, Algardi's papal tomb was sculpted entirely from white marble.

      After the election of Pope Innocent X (1644), Algardi superseded Bernini in papal favour. Between this date and his death in 1654, Algardi produced some of his most celebrated works, among them the seated statue of the pope now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori (1645) and a colossal marble relief of the Meeting of Attila and Pope Leo in St. Peter's (1646–53), which influenced the development and popularization of illusionistic reliefs. Although he was generally less theatrical than Bernini, Algardi in this work effectively created a larger than life-size narrative whose principal events are dramatically conveyed. With his gesture of pushing away Attila, Leo points to the miraculously airborne Saints Peter (Peter the Apostle, Saint) and Paul (Paul, the Apostle, Saint), who have come to lend divine assistance. The deep shadows, emphatic gestures, and heavy drapery patterns work together to create an arresting and convincing sense of papal power. At this time Algardi also designed the Villa Doria Pamphili and a fountain in the Cortile di San Damaso of the Vatican.

      Algardi's style is less ebullient and pictorial than Bernini's, and, even in such typically Baroque works as the tomb of Pope Leo XI in St. Peter's (1634–52) and the high altar of San Paolo at Bologna (1641), the restraining influence of the antique is strongly evident.

Additional Reading
Jennifer Montagu, Alessandro Algardi, 2 vol. (1985), includes in the second volume a complete and fully illustrated catalogue raisonné.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Algardi — Algardi, Alessandro, geb. 1602 zu Bologna, Bildhauer u. Baumeister, st. 1654. Von ihm Basrelief in der Peterskirche zu Rom, Leo mit Attila; Eros u. Anteros in der Gallerie Leuchtenberg zu München. Er baute die Villa Pamfili in Rom …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • Algardi — Algardi, Alessandro, Bildhauer u. Baumeister, geb. 1602 zu Bologna, gest. 1654. Von ihm in der Peterskirche das Relief Leo u. Attila, in der Leuchtenbergischen Sammlung Eros u. Anteros …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Algardi — Innozenz X, Musei Capitolini, Rom Alessandro Algardi (* 31. Juli 1598 in Bologna; † 10. Juni 1654 in Rom) war ein italienischer Bildhauer und Baumeister. Er gilt neben Bernini als Hauptmeister der römischen Barockskulptur. Algardi war der Sohn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Alessandro Algardi — (July 31, 1598 ndash; June 10, 1654) was an Italian high Baroque sculptor active almost exclusively in Rome, where for the latter decades of his life, he was the major rival of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.Early yearsAlgardi was born in Bologna, where at …   Wikipedia

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