Bernardo Antonio Vittone


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One of the supreme masters of Piedmontese Baroque. He edited Guarini's Architettura Civile for publication by the Theatine Order (1737), but is known primarily for his churches in which the influences of Guarini, Juvarra (his teacher), and French Rococo were manifest. From 1737 to 1742 he created three of his masterpieces, the little hexagonal Cappella della Visitazione, Vallinotto, near Carignano (1738–9), the octag-onal-domed San Bernardino, Chieri (1740–4), and Santa Chiara, Brà (1741–2). At Santa Maria di Piazza, Turin (1750–4), one of his structural inventions may be seen to advantage: the gouged-out pendentive or inverted squinch (which opens the form to extra light). This recurred in his Santi Pietro e Paolo, Mondovì (1755), and Santa Croce (later Santa Caterina), Villanova di Mondovì (1755), where the pendentives were virtually eliminated. He experimented with circular, elliptical, octagonal, hexagonal, and longitudinal plans, all ingeniously and assuredly handled, and occasionally threw three vaults over the space to create a type of domical vault in which the geometries were unusually subtle and complex, creating light and airy effects. His Church of San Michele, Borgo d'Ale (1770), combined themes from Borromini (the convex wall-plans and convex porch) with elements from Guarini.

Vittone published Istruzione Elementari per indirizzo de ‘giovani allo studio dell’ Architettura Civile (Elementary Instructions Addressed to the Young for the Study of Civil Architecture) and Istruzione diverse concernanti l'officio dell'Architetto Civile (Diverse Instructions Concerning the Duty of a Civil Architect)—both 1760.

Brinckmann (1931);Carboneri & Viale (1967);Norberg-Schulz (1986a);Oechslin (ed.) (1972);Olivero (1920);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Pommer (1967);Portoghesi (1960, 1966);Jane Turner (1986);Varriano (1986);Viale (ed.) (1972);Wittkower (1982)

Subjects: Architecture.

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