Baldassarre Longhena was born in Venice in 1598. He began his career as a sculptor in his father’s workshop, where he met Scamozzi and became his pupil.
In 1630 his design for the church of Santa Maria della Salute was chosen among all the submitted designs; the church was commissioned by the senate of Venice ex voto for the end of the plague epidemic which had ravaged the city in that period.
In the church, which has a central octagonal plan with a transversal elliptical apse, Longhena follows Palladio’s and Sansovino’s baroque ideas on movement and sumptuous decorations. Statuesque decorations enrich every part of the church and particularly worthy of attention are the radial vaults which connect the lower part of the church with the grandiose dome above.
In 1640 he finished the Procuratie Nuove that Scamozzi had been unable to finish. He then set to work on the library and the main staircase in the convent of St Giorgio Maggiore.
From 1656 to 1663 he worked in the Scalzi church, from 1670 to 1672 he built the facade of the chiesa dell'Ospedaletto and in 1668 he worked on the facade of the Chiesa dei Carmini.
Not all the buildings he worked on were religious buildings: he worked on Ca' Pesaro and Ca' Rezzonico (the latter’s facade was executed at a later date by Massari).
His works of sculpture include the Pesaro Monument in the church of Friars (1669).
Baldassarre Longhena died in Venice in 1682.