GALILEI, Alessandro
(b. 1691, Firenze, d. 1737, Roma)

Exterior view

San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

In 1632 Pope Clement XII decreed that a competition should be held for the façade of San Giovanni in Laterano. Twenty-six architects from Rome and elsewhere took part. The competition became infamous, not least for the intrigue surrounding it. Apart from all this, the ultimate selection of Galilei's design proved to be of historic significance since it served to promote classical architecture during a time that did not generally favour the style.

Galilei created a façade for San Giovanni in Laterano based on the Roman tradition of Carlo Maderno and Michelangelo. The relationship between closed and open façade sections was new and produced strongly contrasting light and dark planes which emphasized the orders. A sense of classical discipline pervades the whole design and the large-scale features are directly in the Roman tradition.

The picture shows the main façade of the church.