Other Aspects of the Roman Baroque
Borromini, Bernini, and Cortona were not the only architects active in mid-seventeenth-centuryRome as any interested visitor to the city will quickly realize. The building boom in Rome was so extensive that a number of other architects were able to establish respectable careers for themselves independent of the influence of the three major masters. G. B. Soria, Martino Longhi the Younger, Carlo Rainaldi, and G. A. De Rossi, for example, designed buildings in styles that ranged from the most conservative and conventional to the most progressive and personal. 1 Together, their works reinforce one's impression of the remarkable variety and ingenuity of Roman Baroque architecture.
The oldest and most conservative member of the group was Giovanni Battista Soria ( 1581-1651), who has four Roman church facades to his credit. Soria was a versatile and ubiquitous figure, working as a wood-carver and lensmaker, publishing Montano's fanciful reconstruction of ancient temples, and at times, assisting Bernini. His most ambitious design was for the exterior of S. Caterina a Magnapoli (75), located just south of the Quirinal Hill. This was begun around 1638 and completed in 1640. As do several of his other facades, it consists of two stories of equal width, following a minor Roman tradition alternative to that of the Gesù. 2 Ignoring the double-ramped stairway, which was added in the nineteenth century, one is struck by the similarity of the arched portico to Bernini's S. Bibiana (42), a reflection of Soria's esteem for his younger and more famous contemporary. The upper story is identical to the one below, except for differences in the size and function of the arches. The arched niches above are also some-