Filippo Juvarra


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A pupil of Carlo Fontana, he was arguably the most gifted architect of his time in Italy, and carried on a late-Baroque tradition evolved by Bernini. His architecture is characterized by its pellucid forms, sustained invention, and perfectly balanced massing, while his command of decorative devices was extensive and inventive.

He was appointed Architect to Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy (1675–1730) in 1714 (the Duke having assumed the title of King of Sicily and Piedmont in 1713), and proceeded to realize the monarch's ambition to elevate Turin into a Royal capital by designing and building a vast range of churches, lodges, palaces, and villas, as well as planning large new areas of the expanding city. His masterpiece is the Church and Monastery of Superga, Turin (1716–31), with its temple-portico, tall, elegant cupola, and delightful twin campanili, but the church of San Filippo Neri (1717 and 1730–6—a variation on Alberti's Sant'Andrea, Mantua) and the emphatic façade added to Castellamonte's Church of Santa Cristina (1715) are also demonstrative of his mastery of the Baroque style.

Juvarra designed the Castello at Venaria Reale (1714–26), with its spectacular chapel (1716–21), the Palazzo Birago di Borgaro (1716), the Palazzo Madama (1718–21), and the Castello Reale, Rivoli (1718–21), among others. His greatest palace for the King was the Palazzina di Stupinigi, near Turin (1729–33), with an elliptical nucleus and four radiating wings: it is the grandest hunting-lodge in Europe, with its remarkable salone decorated in the richest possible fashion. Juvarra also designed the garden-front of the La Granja Palace at San Ildefonso, near Segovia in Spain, and was working on the Royal Palace, Madrid, when he died. This last owed much to Bernini's third design for the Louvre in Paris, and was completed by Giovanni Battista Sacchetti.

Boscarino (1973);Carboneri (ed.) (1979);Cormoli & Griseri (eds.)(1995);A. Correa et al. (1998);Gritella (1992);H. Hager (1970);Millon (1984);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Pommer (1967);Rovere et al. (1973);Severo (ed.) (1996);Jane Turner (1996);Viale (ed.) (1966);Wittkower (1982)

Subjects: Architecture.

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