Architecture Baroque Design

Francesco Borromini, by name of Francesco Castelli (25 September 1599 – 3 August 1667) was a Swiss Italian architect who, with his contemporaries, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure of the Roman Baroque architecture. Fascinated from the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of the Antiquity, Borromini developed a distinctive manipulations of Classical architectural forms. His soft lead drawings are particularly distinctive as his career was constrained by his personality. From the late nineteenth century onwards, interest has revived in the works of Borromini and his architecture has become appreciated for its inventiveness.

Borromini masterworks


Sant’Agnese in Agone
The Master reverted the original plan of Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi. The fa├žade was expanded to include parts of the bordering Palazzo Pamphilj, gaining space for the two bell towers each of which has a clock, as in St. Peter’s, one for Roman time, the other for the European time.

San Carlino
Borromini’s first major independent commission was the reconstruction in 1634-37 of the interior spaces of the church and adjacent buildings of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane also called San Carlino. The small church is considered by many an iconic masterpiece of Roman Baroque. Borromini avoided linear classicism and eschewed a simple circular shape in favor of a corrugated oval, beneath an oval dome that is coffered in a system of crosses and octagons that diminishes towards the lantern, source of all the light in this dark interior.

Perspective Gallery
Cardinal Spada in 1632 commissioned Borromini to modify his Palace, and he created the masterpiece of trompe-l’oeil false perspective in the arcaded courtyard, in which diminishing rows of columns and a rising floor create the optical illusion of a gallery 37 meters long (it is 8 meters) with a lifesize sculpture in daylight beyond: the sculpture is 60 cm high. Borromini was aided in his perspective trick by a mathematician.

From 1640-1650, he worked on the design of the church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza and its courtyard, near the University of La Sapienza palace. Inside, the nave has an unusual centralized plan circled by alternating concave and convex-ending cornices, leading to a dome decorated with linear arrays of stars and putti. The geometry of the structure is a symmetric six-pointed star; from the center of the floor, the cornice looks like a two equilateral triangles forming a hexagon, but three of the points are clover-like, while the other three are concavely clipped.



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