St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, it has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. St. Peter's is famous for its liturgical functions; the Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists Michelangelo; as a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral. St. Peter's is a church built in the Renaissance style located in the Vatican City west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian's Mausoleum, its central dome dominates the skyline of Rome.
The basilica is approached via St. Peter's Square, a forecourt in two sections, both surrounded by tall colonnades; the first space is the second trapezoid. The façade of the basilica, with a giant order of columns, stretches across the end of the square and is approached by steps on which stand two 5.55 metres statues of the 1st-century apostles to Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. The basilica is cruciform in shape, with an elongated nave in the Latin cross form but the early designs were for a centrally planned structure and this is still in evidence in the architecture; the central space is dominated both externally and internally by one of the largest domes in the world. The entrance is through entrance hall, which stretches across the building. One of the decorated bronze doors leading from the narthex is the Holy Door, only opened during jubilees; the interior is of vast dimensions. One author wrote: "Only does it dawn upon us – as we watch people draw near to this or that monument, strangely they appear to shrink.
This in its turn overwhelms us."The nave which leads to the central dome is in three bays, with piers supporting a barrel-vault, the highest of any church. The nave is framed by wide aisles. There are chapels surrounding the dome. Moving around the basilica in a clockwise direction they are: The Baptistery, the Chapel of the Presentation of the Virgin, the larger Choir Chapel, the altar of the Transfiguration, the Clementine Chapel with the altar of Saint Gregory, the Sacristy Entrance, the Altar of the Lie, the left transept with altars to the Crucifixion of Saint Peter, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas, the altar of the Sacred Heart, the Chapel of the Madonna of Column, the altar of Saint Peter and the Paralytic, the apse with the Chair of Saint Peter, the altar of Saint Peter raising Tabitha, the altar of St. Petronilla, the altar of the Archangel Michael, the altar of the Navicella, the right transept with altars of Saint Erasmus, Saints Processo and Martiniano, Saint Wenceslas, the altar of St. Jerome, the altar of Saint Basil, the Gregorian Chapel with the altar of the Madonna of Succour, the larger Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the Chapel of Saint Sebastian and the Chapel of the Pietà.
At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, is the Confessio or Chapel of the Confession, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom. Two curving marble staircases lead to this underground chapel at the level of the Constantinian church and above the purported burial place of Saint Peter; the entire interior of St. Peter's is lavishly decorated with marble, architectural sculpture and gilding; the basilica contains a large number of tombs of popes and other notable people, many of which are considered outstanding artworks. There are a number of sculptures in niches and chapels, including Michelangelo's Pietà; the central feature is a baldachin, or canopy over the Papal Altar, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The apse culminates in a sculptural ensemble by Bernini, containing the symbolic Chair of Saint Peter. One observer wrote: "St Peter's Basilica is the reason why Rome is still the center of the civilized world. For religious and architectural reasons it by itself justifies a journey to Rome, its interior offers a palimpsest of artistic styles at the
The Palazzo Montecitorio is a palace in Rome and the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The palace's name derives from the slight hill on which it is built, claimed to be the Mons Citatorius, the hill created in the process of clearing the Campus Martius in Roman times; the building was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the young Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, nephew of Pope Gregory XV. However, with the death of Gregory XV by 1623, work stopped, was not restarted until the papacy of Pope Innocent XII, when it was completed by the architect Carlo Fontana, who modified Bernini's plan with the addition of a bell gable above the main entrance; the building was designated for public and social functions only, due to Innocent XII's firm antinepotism policies which were in contrast to his predecessors. In 1696 the Curia apostolica was installed there, it was home to the Governatorato di Roma and the police headquarters. The excavated obelisk of the Solarium Augusti, now known as the Obelisk of Montecitorio, was installed in front of the palace by Pius VI in 1789.
With the Unification of Italy in 1861 and the transfer of the capital to Rome in 1870, Montecitorio was seized by the Italian government and chosen as the seat of the Chamber of Deputies, after consideration of various possibilities. The former internal courtyard was roofed over and converted into a semi-circular assembly room by Paolo Comotto; the Chamber was inaugurated on 21 November 1871. But the building proved wholly inadequate: the acoustics were terrible, it was cold in winter and hot in summer; as a result of extensive damage from water seepage, the palace was condemned in 1900. An attempt to build a new palace for the Chamber of Deputies on the Via Nazionale failed, a provisional meeting hall was built on the Via della Missione. Only in 1918 was the Chamber definitively returned to the Palazzo Montecitorio; the return of the Chamber of Deputies to the palace followed extensive renovations, which left only the facade intact. The architect, Ernesto Basile, was an exponent of Art nouveau, known in Italy as the "Liberty" style.
He reduced the courtyard, demolished the wings and rear of the palace, constructing a new structure dominated by four red-brick and travertine towers at the corners. Basile added the so-called Transatlantico, the long and impressive salon which surrounds the debating chamber and now acts as the informal centre of Italian politics; the debating chamber is characterized by numerous decorations in the Art Nouveau style: the impressive canopy of coloured glass, the pictorial frieze entitled The Italian People which surrounds the chamber, the bronze figures flanking the presidential and government benches, the panels depicting The Glory of the Savoy Dynasty by Davide Calandra. Palazzo del Quirinale Palazzo Madama Palazzo Chigi Palazzo della Consulta Palazzo di Giustizia Virtual Tour Very short history of the palace Panoramic virtual tour of the Palace & the sundial obelisk
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Domenico Fontana was an Italian architect of the late Renaissance, born in today's Ticino. He worked in Italy, at Rome and Naples, he was born at Melide, a village on the Lake Lugano, at that time joint possession of Swiss cantons of the old Swiss Confederacy, presently part of Ticino and died at Naples. He went to Rome before the death of Michelangelo, to join his elder brother, he won the confidence of Cardinal Montalto Pope Sixtus V, who entrusted him in 1584 with the erection of the Cappella del Presepio in Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a powerful domical building over a Greek cross. It is a marvellously well-balanced structure, notwithstanding the profusion of detail and overloading of rich ornamentation, which in no way interferes with the main architectural scheme, it is crowned by a dome in the early style of S. Mario at Montepulciano. For the same patron, he constructed the Palazzo Montalto near Santa Maria Maggiore, with its skilful distribution of masses and tied decorative scheme of reliefs and festoons, impressive because of the dexterity with which the artist adapted the plan to the site at his disposal.
After the cardinal's accession as Sixtus V, he appointed Fontana Architect Of St. Peter's, bestowing upon him, among other distinctions, the title of Knight of the Golden Spur, he added the lantern to the dome of St. Peter's and proposed the prolongation of the interior in a well-defined nave. Of more importance were the alterations he made in Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, where he introduced into the loggia of the north facade an imposing double arcade of wide span and ample sweep, added the two-story portico the Scala Santa; this predilection for arcades as essential features of an architectural scheme was brought out in the fountains designed by Domenico and his brother Giovanni, e.g. the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, or the Fontana di Termini planned along the same lines. Among secular buildings his strong restrained style, with its suggestion from Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, is best exemplified in the Lateran Palace, in which the vigorous application of sound structural principles and a power of co-ordination are undeniable, but the utter lack of imagination and barren monotony of style.
It was characteristic of him to remain satisfied with a single solution to an architectural problem, as shown in the fact that he reapplied the motif of the Lateran Palace in the part of the Vatican containing the present papal residence, in the additions to the Quirinal Palace. Fontana designed the transverse arms separating the courts of the Vatican. In 1586 he erected the 327 ton obelisk in the Square of St. Peter's; this feat of engineering took the concerted effort of 900 men, 75 horses and countless pulleys and meters of rope. He gives a detailed account of it in Della transportatione dell'obelisco Vaticano e delle fabriche di Sisto V; the astronomer Ignazio Danti is known to have assisted Fontana in this work. Fontana used his knowledge of statics, which aroused universal astonishment at the time, in the erection of three other ancient obelisks on the Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano. After his patron's death, he continued for some time in the service of his successor, Pope Clement VIII.
Soon, dissatisfaction with his style and the charge that he had misappropriated public moneys, caused him to be dismissed from his post, he was driven him to Naples. There he accepted the appointment of architect to the count of Miranda. In addition to designing canals, he erected the Palazzo Reale, he died in 1607, was buried in the church of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi. Domenico's brother Giovanni Fontana was an architect, his son Giulio Cesare succeeded him as Royal Architect in Naples. History of cranes Domenico Fontana. Della transportatione dell'obelisco Vaticano e delle fabriche di Sisto V. Rome 1590. Online edition, from New York Public Library. Online edition, from Rare Book Room
The Baroque is a ornate and extravagant style of architecture, painting and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It preceded the Rococo and Neoclassical styles, it was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well. The Baroque style used contrast, exuberant detail, deep colour and surprise to achieve a sense of awe; the style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome spread to France, northern Italy and Portugal to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and central Europe until the mid to late 18th century; the English word baroque comes directly from the French, may have been adapted from the Portuguese term barroco, a flawed pearl. Both words are related to the Spanish term berruca; the term did not describe a style of music or art.
Prior to the 18th century, the French baroque and Portuguese barroco were terms related to jewelry, An example from 1531 uses the term to describe pearls in an inventory of Charles V's treasures. The word appears in a 1694 edition of Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française, which describes baroque as "only used for pearls that are imperfectly round." A 1728 Portuguese dictionary describes barroco as relating to a "coarse and uneven pearl."The French term for the artistic style may have had roots in the medieval Latin word baroco, a philosophical term, invented in the 13th century by scholastics to describe a complicated type of syllogism, or logical argument. In the 16th century the philosopher Michel de Montaigne associated the term'baroco' with "Bizarre and uselessly complicated." In the 18th century, the term was used to describe music, was not flattering. In an anonymous satirical review of the première of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie in October 1733, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734, the critic wrote that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was unsparing with dissonances changed key and meter, speedily ran through every compositional device.
In 1762, Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française wrote that the term could be used figuratively to describe something "irregular, bizarre or unequal."Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie: "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, loaded with modulations and dissonances. The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, the movement limited, it appears that term comes from the word'baroco' used by logicians."In 1788, the term was defined by Quatremère de Quincy in the Encyclopédie Méthodique as "an architectural style, adorned and tormented". The terms "style baroque" and "musique baroque" appeared in Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française in 1835. By the mid-19th century, art critics and historians had adopted the term as a way to ridicule post-Renaissance art; this was the sense of the word as used in 1855 by the leading art historian Jacob Burkhardt, who wrote that baroque artists "despised and abused detail" because they lacked "respect for tradition."Alternatively, a derivation from the name of the Italian painter Federico Barocci has been suggested.
In 1888, the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin published the first serious academic work on the style, Renaissance und Barock, which described the differences between the painting and architecture of the Renaissance and the Baroque. The Baroque style of architecture was a result of doctrines adopted by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1545–63, in response to the Protestant Reformation; the first phase of the Counter-Reformation had imposed a severe, academic style on religious architecture, which had appealed to intellectuals but not the mass of churchgoers. The Council of Trent decided instead to appeal to a more popular audience, declared that the arts should communicate religious themes with direct and emotional involvement. Lutheran Baroque art developed as a confessional marker of identity, in response to the Great Iconoclasm of Calvinists. Baroque churches were designed with a large central space, where the worshippers could be close to the altar, with a dome or cupola high overhead, allowing light to illuminate the church below.
The dome was one of the central symbolic features of baroque architecture illustrating the union between the heavens and the earth, The inside of the cupola was lavishly decorated with paintings of angels and saints, with stucco statuettes of angels, giving the impression to those below of looking up at heaven. Another feature of baroque churches are the quadratura. Quadratura paintings of Atlantes below the cornices appear to be supporting the ceiling of the church. Unlike the painted ceilings of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, which combined different scenes, each with its own perspective, to be looked at one at a time, the Baroque ceiling paintings were created so the viewer on the floor of the church would see the entire ceiling in correct perspective, as if the figures were real; the interiors of baroque churches became more and more ornate in the High Baroque, an
Pope Clement XI
Pope Clement XI, born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 23 November 1700 to his death in 1721. Clement XI was a patron of the arts and of science, he was a great benefactor of the Vatican Library, his interest in archaeology is credited with saving much of Rome’s antiquity. He authorized expeditions which succeeded in rediscovering various ancient Christian writings and authorized excavations of the Roman catacombs. Giovanni Francesco Albani was born in 1649 in Urbino to a distinguished family of Italian and Albanian origin, his mother Elena Mosca was a high-standing Italian of bergamasque origin, descended from the noble Mosca family of Pesaro. His father Carlo Albani was a patrician descended in part from the Staccoli family, who were patricians of Urbino, in part from the Giordani, who were nobles of Pesaro, in part from the noble Albani family which had established itself in Urbino from northern Albania in the 15th century. Albani was educated at the Collegio Romano in Rome from 1660 onwards.
He became a proficient Latinist and gained a doctorate in both canon and civil law. He was one of those, he would serve as a papal prelate under Pope Alexander VIII and was appointed by Pope Innocent XII as the Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura. Throughout this time, he served as the governor of Rieti and Orvieto. Pope Alexander VIII elevated him to the cardinalate in 1690 despite his protests and made him the Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Aquiro but he opted for the Diaconia of San Adriano al Forno and as the Cardinal-Priest, for the titulus of San Silvestro in Capite, he was ordained to the priesthood in September 1700 and celebrated his first Mass in Rome on 6 October 1700. After the death of Pope Innocent XII in 1700, a conclave was convoked to elect a successor. Albani was regarded as a fine diplomat known for his skills as a peacemaker and so was unanimously elected pope on 23 November 1700, he agreed to the election after three days of consultation. Unusually, from the viewpoint of current practice, his election came within three months after his ordination as a priest and within two months after he celebrated his first Mass, though he had been a cardinal for ten years previously.
Having accepted election after some hesitation, he was ordained a bishop on 30 November 1700 and assumed the pontifical name of "Clement XI". Cardinal protodeacon Benedetto Pamphili crowned him on 8 December 1700 and he took possession of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on 10 April 1701. Soon after his accession to the pontificate, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out. In 1703 Pope Clement XI ordered a synod of Catholic bishops in northern Albania that discussed promotion of the Council of Trent decrees within Albanian dioceses, stemming conversions among locals to Islam and securing agreement to deny communion to crypto-Catholics who outwardly professed the Muslim faith. Despite holding an ambiguous neutrality in world affairs, Clement XI was forced to name Charles, Archduke of Austria, as the King of Spain, since the imperial army had conquered much of northern Italy and was threatening Rome itself in January 1709. By the Treaty of Utrecht that put an end to the war, the Papal States lost their suzerainty over the Farnese Duchy of Parma and Piacenza in favour of Austria, lost Comacchio as well, a blow to the prestige of the Papal States.
In 1713 Clement XI issued the bull Unigenitus in response to the spread of the Jansenist heresy. There followed great upheaval in France, where apart from theological issues, a strong Gallican tendency persisted; the bull, produced with the contribution of Gregorio Selleri, a lector at the College of Saint Thomas, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, condemned Jansenism by extracting and anathematizing as heretical 101 propositions from the works of Quesnel declaring them to be identical in substance with propositions condemned in the writings of Jansenius. The resistance of many French ecclesiastics and the refusal of the French parlements to register the bull led to controversies extending through the greater part of the 18th century; because the local governments did not receive the bull, it was not, technically, in force in those areas – an example of the interference of states in religious affairs common before the 20th century. During his reign as a pope the famous Illyricum Sacrum was commissioned, today it is one of the main sources of the field of Albanology, with over 5,000 pages divided in several volumes written by the Jesuit Daniele Farlati and Dom Jacopo Coleti.
Clement XI made a concerted effort to acquire Christian manuscripts in Syriac from Egypt and other places in the Middle East expanding the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana's collection of Syriac works. Clement XI was key in the decision to allow cats back into Christian homes after they were seen as overtly Pagan symbols. Clement XI extended the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary to the Universal Church of the Roman Rite in 1716. Clement XI confirmed the cultus of Ceslas Odrowaz, Jakov Varingez, John of Perugia, Peregrine Laziosi, Peter of Sassoferrato, Buonfiglio Monaldi, Pope Gregory X and Humbeline of Jully, he formally beatified a number of individuals: Alexis Falconieri, Bartholomew degli Amidei and Benedict Dellantella, John Francis Régis. He canonized Andrew Avellino, Catherine of Bologna, Felix of Cantalice and Pope Pius V on 22 May 1712, Humility on 27 January 1720, Sancha of Portugal on 10 May 1705, Theresa of Portugal on 20 May 1705, Ste
Francesco Borromini, byname of Francesco Castelli, was an Italian architect born in today's Ticino who, with his contemporaries Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture. 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 Bernini and Cortona, who were principally trained in other areas of the visual arts, lacked. His soft lead drawings are distinctive, he appears amassing a large library by the end of his life. His career was constrained by his personality. Unlike Bernini who adopted the mantle of the charming courtier in his pursuit of important commissions, Borromini was both melancholic and quick in temper which resulted in him withdrawing from certain jobs, his death was by suicide.
Because his work was idiosyncratic, his subsequent influence was not widespread but is apparent in the Piedmontese works of Camillo-Guarino Guarini and, as a fusion with the architectural modes of Bernini and Cortona, in the late Baroque architecture of Northern Europe. Critics of the Baroque, such as Francesco Milizia and the English architect Sir John Soane, were critical of Borromini's work. From the late nineteenth century onwards, interest has revived in the works of Borromini and his architecture has become appreciated for its inventiveness. Borromini was born at Bissone, near Lugano in the Ticino, at the time a bailiwick of the Swiss Confederacy, he began his career as a stonemason himself. He soon went to Milan to practice his craft, he moved to Rome in 1619 and started working for Carlo Maderno, his distant relative, at St. Peter's and also at the Palazzo Barberini; when Maderno died in 1629, he and Pietro da Cortona continued to work on the palace under the direction of Bernini. Once he had become established in Rome, he changed his name from Castelli to Borromini, a name deriving from his mother's family and also out of regard for St Charles Borromeo.
In 1634, Borromini received his first major independent commission to design the church and monastic buildings of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. Situated on the Quirinal Hill in Rome, the complex was designed for the Spanish Trinitarians, a religious order; the monastic buildings and the cloister were completed first after which construction of the church took place during the period 1638-1641 and in 1646 it was dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo. The church is considered by many to be an exemplary masterpiece of Roman Baroque architecture. San Carlino is remarkably small given its significance to Baroque architecture; the site was not an easy one. Borromini positioned the church on the corner of two intersecting roads. Although the idea for the serpentine facade must have been conceived early on in the mid-1630s, it was only constructed towards the end of Borromini's life and the upper part was not completed until after the architect's death. Borromini devised the complex ground plan of the church from interlocking geometrical configurations, a typical Borromini device for constructing plans.
The resulting effect is that the interior lower walls appear to weave in and out alluding to a cross form to a hexagonal form and to an oval form. The area of the pendentives marks the transition from the lower wall order to the oval opening of the dome. Illuminated by windows hidden from a viewer below, interlocking octagons and hexagons diminish in size as the dome rises to a lantern with the symbol of the Trinity. In the late sixteenth century, the Congregation of the Filippini rebuilt the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella in central Rome. In the 1620s, on a site adjacent to the church, the Fathers commissioned designs for their own residence and for an oratory in which to hold their spiritual exercises; these exercises combined preaching and music in a form which became immensely popular and influential on the development of the musical oratorio. The architect Paolo Maruscelli drew up plans for the site and the sacristy was begun in 1629 and was in use by 1635. After a substantial benefaction in January 1637, Borromini was appointed as architect.
By 1640, the oratory was in use, a taller and richer clock tower was accepted, by 1643, the relocated library was complete. The striking brick curved facade adjacent to the church entrance has an unusual pediment and does not correspond to the oratory room behind it; the white oratory interior has a ribbed vault and a complex wall arrangement of engaged pilasters along with freestanding columns supporting first level balconies. The altar wall was reworked at a date. Borromini’s relations with the Oratorians were fraught. By 1650, the situation came to a head and in 1652 the Oratorians appointed another architect. However, with the help of his Oratorian friend and provost Virgilio Spada, Borromini documented his own account of the building of the oratory and the residence and an illustrated vers