* 1598 Bologna
† 1654 Rom
Together with Gianlorenzo Bernini, Alessandro Algardi is regarded a luminary of Italian baroque sculpting.
He was born at Bologna in 1598, where Carracci was already setting the course for baroque art in those days. The son of a silk merchant learned his trade from the sculptor Giulio Cesare Conventi, as well as in the famous Carracci school where Lodovico Carracci was his teacher. The classicist notions of
Carracci’s art affected Alessandro Algardi‘s powerful baroque artworks throughout his life.
Between 1620 and 1624 Alessandro Algardi was active at the Mantua court, followed by journeys to Venice. In 1625 Alessandro Algardi settled in Rome, where he was active as restaurateur of ancient sculptures until 1632, this specialization should have lasting effect on his sculptures. It was as early as in those days that Alessandro Algardi had gained some fame as a portraitist. His expressive busts were much sought-after.
In Rome Alessandro Algardi ran a flourishing workshop where artists such as Ercole Ferrata and Michel Anguier were active. Pope Innocence X. (1644 to 1654) was among the artist’s greatest patrons. The influential sculptures by Alessandro Algardi were soon so popular that copies spread all over Europe.
In persona, however, Alessandro Algardi was much happier in Italy. Even though king Louis XIII invited him to visit France twice, both in 1639/40 and 1643, the sculptor rejected hid offers.
Alessandro Algardi was not only active as sculptor, but also as architect, he made artisan designs and was a virtuous drawer. A large part of his oeuvre of drawings must be seen in connection with the sculptures and graphic works.
In 1654 Alessandro Algardi, one of the greatest baroque artists, died in Rome.