Mattia De Rossi e la decorazione architettonica di palazzo Altieri: François Mansart a Maisons e altri ricordi dei soggiorni parigini
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 66, 2017
Mattia De Rossi (1637-1695) spent two long periods in Paris: the first was from June to October 1665, together with Gian Lorenzo Bernini; he returned in the spring of the following year and stayed for about a year, with the job of perfecting Bernini’s final project for the Louvre. After returning definitively to Rome in July 1667, Mattia De Rossi continued to work as a Bernini assistant, but by the end of the decade he also had his own professional career. Immediately after the election of Pope Clement X (Emilio Altieri) in 1670, Prince Gaspare Altieri and his wife Laura Caterina Altieri, the niece of the new Pope, decided to start expansion works on their palace in Piazza del Gesù, which had initially been built by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi in the 1650s; the new building works were entrusted to the same architect, who was joined by Mattia De Rossi. Contrary to what was believed until now, the second stage of building works on the Altieri palace did not end in 1676, when Giovanni Antonio De Rossi left the project, but continued until 1679, under the direction of Mattia De Rossi. New research carried out on the Altieri Archives revealed that during this three-year period Mattia designed and built the portal on Via Santo Stefano del Cacco, as well as the decorative panoplies on the large doors leading off the large staircase to the apartments on the ground floor and second floor. It was not just the dating that led to these works being attributed to Mattia De Rossi. Both the external portal and the two internal doors are in fact completely out of character for the repertory of architects working in Rome in the second half of the 17th century, and they are extremely similar to several of Mattia’s well-known works in France. Mattia De Rossi’s contributions to the Altieri palace are therefore the first case in which, in the architectural decoration of a Roman late-Baroque building, an architect chose to import French models: a significant indication of the artistic translatio imperii that was taking place between the two capitals.