ALGARDI, Alessandro
(b. 1598, Bologna, d. 1654, Roma)

Tomb of Giacomo Franzone

Santi Vittore e Carlo, Genoa

Algardi produced his greatest works during the papacy of Innocent X Pamphili (reg 1644-55). Bernini was ousted from his supreme artistic position in Rome because of his close personal connections with the Barberini, the family of the deceased Pope Urban VIII, and a circle well disposed towards Algardi dominated the papal court. This included the Oratorian Virgilio Spada, the new pope's artistic adviser, his major-domo Cristoforo Segni, who came from Bologna, and also Giacomo Franzone, whose family were notable patrons of Algardi.

Giacomo Franzone (1612-1696), who moved in 1636 to Rome, where he managed the papal finances in a variety of offices until he became a cardinal in 1660, was one of the most distinguished member of the family. He played a leading role in supervising the execution of the artistic projects in Rome commissioned by Innocent X and Alexander VII.

The family acquired a chapel, the Cappella del Crocefisso, in the Carmelite church of San Carlo (now Santi Vittore e Carlo) in Genoa. The principal sculptural decoration of the chapel, including the marble busts of the brothers Franzone, a bronze Crucifix and bronze busts of saints, has traditionally been attributed to Algardi. The quality of these works, as well as the death of Algardi in 1654, however, have led them to be partly reattributed to Domenico Guidi, who perhaps worked from terracotta models by Algardi.