Alessandro Algardi (July 31, 1598 – June 10, 1654) was an Italian high-Baroque sculptor active almost exclusively in Rome, where for the latter decades of his life, he was, along with Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona, one of the major rivals of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He is now most admired for his portrait busts that have great vivacity and dignity.
Algardi was born in Bologna, where at a young age, he was apprenticed in the studio of Agostino Carracci. However, his aptitude for sculpture led him to work for Giulio Cesare Conventi (1577–1640), an artist of modest talents. His two earliest known works date back to this period: two statues of saints, made of chalk, in the Oratory of Santa Maria della Vita in Bologna. By the age of twenty, Ferdinando I, Duke of Mantua, began commissioning works from him, and he was also employed by local jewelers for figurative designs. After a short residence in Venice, he went to Rome in 1625 with an introduction from the