Alessandro Algardi

1602 - 1654 Algardi was born in Bologna in 1602 in his early years studying with Carracci he showed an early talent for sculpture that was to take over his life. When we was twenty he worked for the Duke of Mantua completing several commissions during that time. He stayed in Venice for a short period of time then moved to Rome in 1625 where he was engaged by Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi who employed his talents in restoring ancient statues. Once his patron the duke died he scratched a living with these restoration commissions and he also worked for goldsmiths making items of gold and other metal work. His first major commission came along in 1635 and consisted of a wall tomb for Pope Leo XI and by 1640 he was becoming established in the art world having completed several sculptures including a colossal statue of Philip Neri, with kneeling angels, for Santa Maria in Vallicelli, and a set of figures representing the beheading of St Paul. With the accession of Pope Innocent X in 1644 Algardi was working harder than ever producing an official statue of the Pope in 1645. Many scholars are agreed that Algardi's best work is the Relief of Fuga d'Attila in St. Peter's Basilica, a marble relief of Pope Leo and Attila. Within a year of completing this relief Algardi died in Rome. Algardi was well known for his attention to detail and this can be seen in many of his sculptures which show an almost fussy attention to the small things, for example, the way the draperies hang and the expressions on the faces. But his style was more classical than emotive and the differences between his sculptures and, for example, the emotive style of Bernini can easily be seen when viewed side by side. Algardi was always seen as being in the shadow of Bernini, often Bernini won contracts that perhaps other artists, including Algardi, would have completed with more superior techniques than Bernini himself had.

beheading of st paul Algardi of St Therese Bernini

Algardi images