Alessandro Algardi

Dates1598 - 1654
BornBologna, Italy
DiedRome, Italy

Initial training under the Bolognese Lodovico Carracci decisively influenced Alessandro Algardi's art: he never strayed far from the stylistic tendencies shared by many of the artists from Bologna. Exposure to the classically tempered realism of the Carracci school underpinned Algardi's style, which embodied both classicism and the High Baroque.

After carving ivory and modeling figures and ornaments for Duke Ferdinando Gonzaga in Mantua, Algardi settled in Rome by 1625. For ten years, he restored ancient sculpture while becoming known for portrait busts that captured both inward character and details of appearance. In Rome, his constant interaction with ancient classical statuary influenced his own sculpture.

Unlike most contemporary sculptors, Algardi was an accomplished draftsman and also worked as an architect. Association with artists such as Domenichino, Nicolas Poussin, and Pietro da Cortona greatly affected his draftsmanship. His surviving drawings primarily relate to his sculptural projects or designs for engravings.

Algardi received his first major sculptural commission at age forty, the tomb of Pope Leo XI. His large, influential workshop included Domenico Guidi, Ercole Ferrata, Michel Anguier, and Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi. Copies of Algardi's sculptures spread throughout Europe, inspiring such artists as Edme Bouchardon.