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Algardi, Alessandro (1598–1654)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0027

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Algardi, Alessandro (1598–1654). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Italian sculptor, the leading sculptor under Pope Innocent X. He moved to Rome in 1625. During the pontificate of Innocent X, when Bernini was out of papal favor, Algardi replaced him at the papal court. Cardinal Ludovici, a fellow Bolognese, was able to secure Algardi his first commission for two stucco statues of Magdalene and St. John the Evangelist in Silvestro al Quirinale. He became a prolific sculptor of portrait busts and ranks as the greatest portrait sculptor of all time. In 1634 he completed his Three Martyr Saints in terracotta for SS. Luca e Martina. His mastery of bronze is shown in his Urn for the Magdalene in St. Maximin in southern France and the relief Ecstasy of St. Mary Magdalene in the church of Santi Luca e Martina in Rome. His three finest commissions were the Tomb of Leo XI and the huge relief Pope Leo Driving Attila from Rome, both in St. Peter's, and the Decapitation of St. Paul in S. Paolo in Bologna. In 1635 he carved the marble S. Philip Neri with an Angel for Sta Maria in Vallicella. Working mainly in marble and stucco, Algardi did many carvings for tombs, such as the Mellini tombs (1633–1634), and the Frangipani tombs (1637).


  • algardi, alessandro (1598–1654);
  • prolific Italian sculptor;
  • three martyr saints, in terracotta;
  • mastery of bronze, urn for the magdalene;
  • mellini tombs, frangipani tombs