Roaming Rome

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontana - 1694

Section of Borromini's Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontana

Section of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane - 1694
Designer: Francesco Borromini
Artist: Simon Beausire
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


Borromini's church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, the highlight of Baroque architecture in Rome, is depicted here in this late 17th-century drawing by Simon Beausire.

In drawing a section through an existing church, Beausire had to imagine how the innovative structure was erected. Parts of the section where he was unsure of the construction method behind the walls were left unfinished or improvised. Beausire is not interested in honestly depicting the structure of the church, but in capturing the decorative qualities of its interior.

The section helps describe the relationship between the interior and exterior of the building, and more importantly explains the unique interior volume that is difficult to understand standing inside the church. He masterfully renders these varied geometries, and his inclusion of playful figures captures the spirit of the building.


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