An avid student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of Antiquity, Borromini developed a inventive and distinctive architecture, although somewhat idiosyncratic, employing manipulations of classical architectural forms, geometric foundations in its plans and symbolic meanings in its buildings.
He appears to have had a strong understanding of structures, perhaps lacking in Bernini and Cortona, who were formed primarily in other areas of the visual arts. His soft lead drawings are particularly hallmarks. He appears to have been a self-taught scholar, amassing a large library by the end of his life.
His career was limited by his personality. Unlike Bernini, who easily adopted the mantle of courtly charmer in his pursuit of important commissions, Borromini was brooding and quick-tempered, making caused him to withdraw from certain jobs, and his death was by suicide.
Probably because his work was idiosyncratic, his later influence was not widespread, but is evident in the Piedmontese works of Guarino Guarini and, as a fusion with the architectural modes of Bernini and Cortona, in the late Baroque architecture of Northern Europe.
Out of curiosity, comment that later critics of the Baroque, such as Francesco Milizia and the English architect Sir John Soane , were particularly critical of Borromini's work. From the late nineteenth century, interest by the works of Borromini it has been revived and its architecture has become appreciated for its inventiveness.