Born Naples 1598, Died Rome 1680. He is considered the most outstanding sculptor of the 17th century and a formative influence on the development of the Italian Baroque style. His father Pietro was renowned for his skill in marble cutting. He taught his son, and introduced him to a group of powerful patrons, the Borghese and the Barberini who fostered his creative genius. He became the principal artist in the papal court of Urban VIII. In 1620 he was appointed architect of St Peter’s. His genius found its highest expression in projects in which he combined sculpture, painting and architecture with daring and deep religious conviction to express the spiritual vision of the Catholic Counter-Reformation Church.