Giovanni Battista Quadro


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(b Lugano; d Poznań, between 10 April 1590 and 16 Jan 1591). Italian architect, active in Poland. He came to Poland by way of Silesia, and he is first mentioned in a contract that he signed on 3 March 1550 with the Poznań Town Council for the reconstruction of the Gothic town hall, which had been severely damaged by fire in 1536. In 1552 he was appointed town architect and commissioned to design and build an extension (1552–5) to the town hall, which was finally completed in 1560. In this work, which was his masterpiece, Quadro added three superimposed storeys of loggias to the short east front, transforming it into a spectacular Renaissance façade, topped by a high windowless attic that unifies the building. The loggia columns support entablatures above round-headed arches that spring from flanking pilasters; in the top loggia the rhythm of the arcading is doubled, a feature doubtless inspired by the work of the Parri family in Silesia, and the attic is surmounted by merlons to give the effect of a symbolic mural crown. A ceremonial hall at first-floor level has coffered vaulting that features elaborate figurative decoration. Quadro used free and unconventional interpretations of Lombard Renaissance forms in the building, including the earliest derivatives in central Europe from the pattern books of Sebastiano Serlio (e.g. semicircular stairs in front of the façade, loggia portals and coffers). Quadro held his post at Poznań for nearly 40 years. He erected many municipal buildings and town houses, favouring the use of brick and plaster and decorating the elevations and interiors with stucco, sgraffito and polychromy. Between June 1569 and April 1572 he worked with Giacomo Parri on a new wing for the Royal Castle in Warsaw (lower floors destr. 1944; rest. 1971–84).

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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