(b. 1556, Capolago, d. 1629, Roma)

Exterior view

Palazzo Barberini, Rome

In 1625 Cardinal Francesco Barberini bought the palace at 'Quattro Fontane' in Rome. A year later Cardinal Francesco presented the palace to his brother Taddeo. Pope Urban VIII (original name Maffeo Barberini) commissioned Maderno to redesign the existing palace and to enlarge it. Maderno died in 1629, and the Pope appointed Bernini his successor. To all intents and purposes the palace was completed in 1633, but minor work dragged on until 1638. It is clear from the data that Bernini (who was assisted by Borromini) was responsible for almost the entire work of execution.

Maderno's design survives in a drawing at the Uffizi, which shows a long front of fifteen bays, fashioned after the model of the Palazzo Farnese, and an inscription explains that the design was to serve for all four sides of the palace. In fact, with some alterations, it was used for the present north and east wings. At this stage, in other words, Maderno made a scheme that by and large corresponded to the traditional Roman palace, consisting of a block with four equal sides and an arcaded courtyard.

In the present palace, the plan of which may be likened to an H, the traditional courtyard is abandoned and replaced by a deep forecourt. The main façade consists of seven bays of arcades in three storeys, linked to the entirely different system of the projecting wings by a transitional, slightly receding bay at each side.

Although it is not documented, it can be assumed that Maderno's original design was modified by Maderno himself. On the other hand, it is certain that adjustments of Maderno's design outside as well as inside were made after Bernini had taken over.

View the ground plan of Palazzo Barberini, Rome (before rebuilding of c. 1670).