(b. 1611, Roma, d. 1691, Roma)


Italian architect, one of the leading architects of 17th-century Rome, noted for the scenic grandeur of his designs. He collaborated with his father, Girolamo Rainaldi (1570-1655), a distinguished architect who transplanted to Rome the north Italian Mannerist tradition of Pellegrino Tibaldi.

After his father's death Rainaldi evolved a monumental grand manner, without entirely discarding his paternal heritage. His major works, executed in the 1660s, include the façade of Sant'Andrea della Valle (1661-65) and the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Monte Santo in the Piazza del Popolo (Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Fontana also worked on them). Generally regarded as his masterpiece, Santa Maria in Campitelli (1663-67) shows a northern Italian rather than Roman influence. The use in the façade of many freestanding columns, stressing verticality, also derives from north Italian tradition.

Rainaldi's last important work was the grand façade uniting the old apse of Santa Maria Maggiore with the chapels of Sixtus V and Paul V (1673).

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.