By Anne Leader
Alessandro Algardi was born in Bologna on 31 July 1598. After working in Bologna, Mantua, and Venice, Algardi moved to Rome where he became one of the leading sculptors of the High Baroque period and a rival to Gianlorenzo Bernini. Following the lead of François Duequesnoy, Algardi adopted a classicizing style that offered an alternative to the high drama of Bernini. Contemporaries saw them as equals, if competitors, and this rivalry likely inspired each artist to ever greater virtuosity. Bernini had been the favorite of Pope Urban VIII, but Innocent X (r. 1644-55) preferred Algardi, which brought him the acclaim he had desired, and deserved, since his arrival in Rome.
Reference: Rudolf Preimesberger. “Algardi, Alessandro.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.
Beheading of St Paul, c. 1650, Marble, San Paolo Maggiore, Bologna
Monument of Pope Leo XI, 1634-44, Marble, New St. Peter’s, Rome
The Meeting of Leo I and Attila, 1646-53, Marble, New St. Peter’s, Rome
St Mary Magdalene, 1629, Stucco, San Silvestro al Quirinale, Rome
The Holy Family with Two Angels, black chalk on off-white laid paper. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Purchase, Fletcher Fund, and Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey, Susan H. Seidel, and Sayn-Wittgenstein Fine Art Inc. Gifts, 1997.