BORROMINI, Francesco
(b. 1599, Bissone, d. 1667, Roma)

Interior 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 Carlo 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.

The palazzo is disposed around a forecourt centred on Bernini's grand two-storey hall backed by an oval salone, with an extended wing dominating the piazza, which lies on a lower level. Flanking the hall, two sets of stairs lead to the piano nobile, a large squared staircase by Bernini to the left and a smaller oval staircase by Borromini to the right.

The photo shows the oval staircase by Borromini.

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