By Livia Lupi

Architect Carlo Rainaldi was born in Rome on 4 May 1611. He followed in his father’s footsteps, the architect Girolamo Rainaldi, becoming one of the leading architects of seventeenth-century Rome.

Carlo’s father Girolamo brought to Rome the the originally north Italian Mannerist architectural tradition of Pellegrino Tibaldi, collaborating with his son on the Palazzo Nuovo in Piazza del Campidoglio and Palazzo Pamphilj in Piazza Navona. Carlo’s major works include the façade of Sant’Andrea della Valle (1661-1665), the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Monte Santo in Piazza del Popolo in Rome, on which Berniniand Carlo Fontana also worked (1662-1675), the San Carlo Borromeo or Spada Chapel in Santa Maria in Vallicella, also known as Chiesa Nuova (1663-1679), and the main altar in San Gerolamo alla Carità. In 1660, he even sent plans to Louis XIV of France for the palace of the Louvre.

Santa Maria in Campitelli is considered Carlo Rainaldi’s masterpiece (1663-1667). It is characterised by an imposing façade with monumental columns, free and not engaged, inspired by Palladio’s buildings. Rainaldi’s last endeavor was the façade uniting the old apse of Santa Maria Maggiore and the chapels of Sixtus V and Paul V in 1673. In this same year, he was nominated principe of the Accademia di San Luca. He died in Rome in 1691.

Reference: Rainaldi, Carlo. Web Gallery of Art.

Marchegiano, Cristiano, “Rainaldi, Carlo.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Enciclopedia Treccani.

Reading: Yuri Strozzieri, Antonio Russo and Laura Marcucci. Architetture di Carlo Rainaldi: nel quarto centenario dalla nascita. Gangemi Editore, 2012.

Santa Maria in Campitelli, 1663-1667, Rome.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Monte Santo, 1662-1675, Piazza del Popolo, Rome.

Apse of Santa Maria Maggiore, 1673, Rome.  

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