400 Years of Borromini Exhibition -- 15 December 1999 through 28 February 2000, Palazzo delle exposizioni: What could replace the wonderful Bernini exhibition at the Palazzo Venizia (now unfortunately finished)? Some would say nothing, because Bernini propagandists have for centuries successfully denigrated the work of his archrival, Francesco Borromini. Borromini and Bernini, in fact, worked concurrently in Rome, getting commissions from successive popes and establishing baroque architecture and decoration as the dominant style in 17th century Rome. Borromini worked for a time in Bernini's studio, and it was only when he later became a successful independent competitor that Bernini began the tradition of detraction of Borromini's work. Borromini's baroque style was more flamboyant, and thus also attracted more criticism from later conservative architects and decorators. But in his time, Borromini's architecture was at least as innovative, as popular, and as monumental as Bernini's -- you need go only as far as St. John Lateran, S. Ivo (at la Sapienza), or the Palazzo Spada to see examples. The spiral lantern on the dome of S. Ivo has never been duplicated. Borromini's splendid church of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontana should reopen soon when internal cleaning and repairs are finished.

The exhibition has it's own Internet site, also entitled 400 Years of Borromini at http://www.borromini.at/e/index.html. Follow the links to descriptions of the exhibition and of architectural masterpieces around the city. Then go to the Great Buildings Internet site, http://architects.greatbuildings.com/Frencesco_Borromini.html, where you can see interactive three dimensional computer models of S. Carlo and S. Ivo. A visit to the Human Architecture web page, http://www.mcm.acu.edu/academic/galileo/ars/arshtml/arch4.html, provides a full description of the famous tromp l'oeil perspective Colonnade of the Annunciation at Palazzo Spada, but can not compare with the illusion of the actual site.