By Martina Bollini

Architect Alessandro Galilei died on 21 December 1737 in Rome. Born in Florence in 1691, he was a descendant of scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei.

In 1714 Alessandro, well acquainted with English aristocrats living in Florence, decided to move to London, in the wake of previous successful experiences of Italian artists such as Giacomo Leoni. Galilei did not find the fortune he was seeking and, after 5 years, went back to Italy, where things took a more favorable turn: in 1719 Galilei was appointed Engineer of court buildings and fortresses of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and later, in 1730, he was invited to Rome by the Florentine pope Clement XII. Here Galilei built his major works: the façade of the Lateran Basilica, the Corsini Chapel in the same church, and the façade of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini. His classical, severe, style was at odds in Late Baroque Rome and anticipated the Neoclassical movement.

Reference: Elisabeth Kieven. “Galilei, Alessandro.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Lateran Basilica, Rome (1732-35).

Corsini Chapel, Lateran Basilica, Rome (1732).

Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, Rome (1734-38).

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