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Borromini, Francesco

 San Carlo

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Roma, Italy

San Carlo

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Roma, Italy

Francesco Borromini, (1599–1677), major Italian baroque architect. A keen student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of Antiquity, Borromini developed an inventive and distinctive, if somewhat idiosyncratic, architecture employing manipulations of Classical architectural forms, geometrical rationales in his plans and symbolic meanings in his buildings. He seems to have had a sound understanding of structures, which perhaps Bernini and Cortona, who were principally trained in other areas of the visual arts, lacked. His soft lead drawings are particularly distinctive. He appears to have been a self-taught scholar, amassing a large library by the end of his life. His first independent commission (begun 1634) was San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, one of the masterpieces of the Roman baroque. The church is noted for its undulating rhythm of architectural elements within a basically geometric plan. In 1642 he began the designs for Sant' Ivo della Sapienza, Rome, a dynamic hexagonal structure. He was also entrusted with the reconstruction of St. John the Lateran, as well as the completion of Sant' Agnese in the Piazza Navona and Sant' Andrea della Fratte. Borromini's innovations in palace as well as church design had a tremendous influence in Italy and northern Europe.

The church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (Saint Charles at the Four Fountains), is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. This was Borromini's first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. He received the commission in 1634, under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose palace was across the road. 

Exterior

The concave-convex facade of San Carlo undulates in a non-classic way. Tall corinthian columns stand on plinths and bear the main entablatures; these define the main framework of two storeys and the tripartite bay division. Between the columns, smaller columns with their entablatures weave behind the main columns and in turn they frame niches, windows, a variety of sculptures as well as the main door, the central oval aedicule of the upper order and the oval framed medallion borne aloft by angels. Above the main entrance, cherubim herms frame the central figure of Saint Charles Borromeo by Antonio Raggi and to either side are statues of St.John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois, the founders of the Trinitarian Order.

The plan and section show the layout of the cramped and difficult site; the church is on the corner with the cloister next to it and both face onto the Via Pia. The monastic buildings straddle the site, beyond which Borromini intended to design a garden.

Interior

The church interior is both extraordinary and complex. The three principal parts can be identified vertically as the lower order at ground level, the transition zone of the pendentives and the oval coffered dome with its oval lantern.

In the lower part of the church, the main altar is on the same longitudinal axis as the door and there are two altars on the cross axis. One altar is dedicated to Saint Michael de Sanctis, the other dedicated to Saint John Baptist of the Conception. Between these, and arranged in groups of four, sixteen columns carry a broad and continuous entablature. The arrangement seems to refer to a cross plan but all the altars are visible as the two central columns in each arrangement of four are placed on the oblique with respect to the axial ordering of the space. This creates an undulating movement effect which is enhanced by the variation in treatment of the bays between the columns with niches, mouldings, and doors. Architectural historians have described how the bay structure of this lower order can have different rhythmic readings and the underlying geometric rationale for this complex ground plan, as well as discussing the symbolism of the church and the distinctive architectural drawings of Borromini.

The pendentives are part of the transition area where the undulating almost cross-like form of the lower order is reconciled with the oval opening to the dome. The arches which spring from the diagonally placed columns of the lower wall order to frame the altars and entrance, rise to meet the oval entablature and so define the space of the pendentives in which roundels are set.

The oval entablature to the dome has a 'crown' of foliage and frames a view of deep set interlocking coffering of octagons, crosses and hexagons which diminish in size the higher they rise. Light floods in from windows in the lower dome that are hidden by the oval opening and from windows in the side of the lantern. In a hierarchical structuring of light, the illuminated lantern with its symbol of the Holy Trinity is the most brightly lit, the coffering of the dome is thrown into sharp and deep relief and light gradually filters downwards to the darker lower body of the church.

Flanking the apse of the main altar is a pair of identical doorways. The right door leads to the convent through which the crypts below may be accessed. The door on the left leads to an external chapel known as Capella Barberini which contains a shrine to blessed Elisabeth Canori Mora.

Major Architectural Work:

Source

http://www.infoplease.com/biography/architects.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Carlo_alle_Quattro_Fontane

 

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Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and I reside in Stevensville, Michigan my wife and two children. I have been interested in Architecture since my boyhood days; however, because of my families business—a lumberyard—I never really got a chance to pursue my dream until later in my career. Read more...

 

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