Borromini, Francesco


Borromini, Francesco
(1599-1667)
   Francesco Borromini was one of the leading architects of the Baroque era. He was a distant relative of Carlo Maderno and began his career in the latter's workshop as a stone-carver and draughtsman. Borromini had a difficult personality. He was ill tempered, extremely envious of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and he suffered from hypochondria and bouts of melancholy. His eccentric mode of dressing, lack of restraint, and states of depression were only tolerated by his patrons because these were then considered a sign of genius. As he had a reputation for providing innovative designs at reasonable cost, Borromini received a number of commissions from religious orders that could not afford the sumptuous marble constructions carried out by other masters. His San Ivo della Sapienza (1642-1650) is the church he incorporated into the courtyard of the University of Rome. Here, Borromini created a biomorphic plan (some see it as the Barberini emblematic bee) by juxtaposing two superimposed triangles to form a six-pointed star, probably as reference to the star of Solomon, known for his wisdom—appropriate for a university setting. Borromini here played with convex and concave forms, one of his greatest interests. The result is a structure with rhythmic forms that seem to expand and contract. The same features appear in his Oratory of St. Philip Neri (1637-1650), next to the Chiesa Nuova, the Collegio di Propadanda Fide (1654-1667), and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (beg. 1665), all in Rome. Borromini committed suicide by impaling himself with a sword. Twenty-four wax models of his buildings were listed in his death inventory, which demonstrates that he approached architecture like a sculptor, hence their organic, movemented forms.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • Borromini, Francesco — • Architect and sculptor; born 25 September, 1599, at Bissone; died by his own hand 1 August, 1667, at Rome Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Borromini, Francesco — orig. Francesco Castelli born Sept. 25, 1599, Bissone, Duchy of Lombardy died Aug. 2, 1667, Rome Italian Baroque architect. Though he worked with Gian Lorenzo Bernini on the design of the famous baldachin in St. Peter s Basilica, the two later… …   Universalium

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