The Easel

4th October 2022

How an Architect’s Endless Pursuit of Artistic Perfection Drove Him To Despair

A love letter to the Baroque master Borromini, and to Rome. In 17th century Rome, Borromini and his fierce rival Bernini vied for architectural commissions from the Pope. Bernini got the best, producing designs of “dramatic simplicity”. Borromini, in contrast, loved “complexity”. His small San Carlino church has a geometric floorplan but a façade that is a “lusty carnival of curves”. Once it was finished, Borromini committed suicide. San Carlino is a key part of his legacy, widely seen as “the icon of the Roman baroque”.