Archive for the ‘Baroque’ Category

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Saint Peter’s Square

Architect: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Location: Vatican City

Date: 1656-1667

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Baroque Neoclassical

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Saint Peter’s Square  is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).

The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed “so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace” (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St. Peter’s for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke emotions awe.

The site’s possibilities were under many constraints from existing structures (illustration, right). The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilica’s façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a center, and a granite fountain by Carlo Maderno stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ovato tondo embraced by his colonnades and eventually matched it on the other side, in 1675, just five years before his death. The trapezoidal shape of the piazza, which creates a heightened perspective for a visitor leaving the basilica and has been praised as a masterstroke of Baroque theater, is largely a product of site constraints.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Colonnades,Geometry&Floor Pattern

Colonnades

The colossal Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep,frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area which precedes it. The ovato tondo’s long axis, parallel to the basilica’s façade, creates a pause in the sequence of forward movements that is characteristic of a Baroque monumental approach. The colonnades define the piazza. The elliptical center of the piazza, which contrasts with the trapezoidal entrance, encloses the visitor with “the maternal arms of Mother Church” in Bernini’s expression. On the south side, the colonnades define and formalize the space, with the Barberini Gardens still rising to a skyline of umbrella pines. On the north side, the colonnade masks an assortment of Vatican structures; the upper stories of the Vatican Palace rise above.

Geometry&Floor Pattern

The geometry of the square is ellipsis, which has a center occupied by an obelisk, it has symmetrical and self-centered spatial quality, what’s smart about the design is that the paving is varied by radiating lines in travertine, to relieve what might otherwise be a sea of cobblestones. Circular stones were set to mark the tip of the obelisk’s shadow at noon as the sun entered each of the signs of the zodiac, making the obelisk a gigantic sundial’s gnomon.

The plan diagram with the floor patterning

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San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

Architect: Francesco Borromini

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1646

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. Designed by the architect Francesco Borromini, it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. He received the commission in 1634, under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose palace was across the road. However, this financial backing did not last and subsequently the building project suffered various financial difficulties. It is one of at least three churches in Rome dedicated to San Carlo, including San Carlo ai Catinari and San Carlo al Corso.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Interior

Interior

The church interior is both extraordinary and complex. There are three principal parts that was identified vertically as the lower order at ground level, the transition zone of the pendentives and the oval coffered dome with its oval lantern.

In the lower part of the church, the main altar is on the same longitudinal axis as the door and there are two altars on the cross axis. Between these, and arranged in groups of four, sixteen columns carry a broad and continuous entablature. The arrangement seems to refer to a cross plan but all the altars are visible as the two central columns in each arrangement of four are placed on the oblique with respect to the axial ordering of the space. This creates an undulating movement effect which is enhanced by the variation in treatment of the bays between the columns with niches, mouldings, and doors. Architectural historians have described how the bay structure of this lower order can have different rhythmic readings and the underlying geometric rationale for this complex ground plan, as well as discussing the symbolism of the church and the distinctive architectural drawings of Borromini.

The dome with its intricate geometrical pattern

The pendentives are part of the transition area where the undulating almost cross-like form of the lower order is reconciled with the oval opening to the dome. The arches which spring from the diagonally placed columns of the lower wall order to frame the altars and entrance, rise to meet the oval entablature and so define the space of the pendentives in which roundels are set.

The oval entablature to the dome has a ‘crown’ of foliage and frames a view of deep set interlocking coffering of octagons, crosses and hexagons which diminish in size the higher they rise. Light floods in from windows in the lower dome that are hidden by the oval opening and from windows in the side of the lantern. In a hierarchical structuring of light, the illuminated lantern with its symbol of the Holy Trinity is the most brightly lit, the coffering of the dome is thrown into sharp and deep relief and light gradually filters downwards to the darker lower body of the church.

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Spanish Steps

Architect: Alessandro Specchi

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1721-1725

Building Type: Stairway

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It is the widest staircase in Europe.

The monumental stairway of 138 steps was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Urban Design, Approach

Urban Design

In urban design strategy, the Spanish Stairs were built to unite Via del Babuino, which is the easternmost of the three main arteries radiating into the city from the Piazza del Popolo with Via Felice. It is the first great street planned by Sixtus V (1585). Their junction is crossed at an approximately right angle by Via Condotti, which defines the direction toward St. Peter’s and the Vatican. The architect Alessandro Specchi’s ideas were later assimilated by the chosen architect of the Stairs, Francesco de Sanctis. The very rich and varied solution ultimately employed by De Sanctis (1723-26) is based on a simple doubling in depth of the central theme from the Ripetta: a protruding volume flanked by convex stairs and a straight flight in front. The upper unit presents the theme in its basic form; the lower constitutes an articulate and lively variation.

Plan Diagram of Spanish Steps

Approach

On the way up or down, there are three landing area to take a “break” of the long approach within the two levels, which is a brilliant idea. These three landing areas function as resting space for people.

Photograph taken at the bottom of the piazza, we can see people seating on the steps to take a rest

One of the landing area while walking up

Views from the upper-most landing area, looking towards the piazza and the main commercial street

The curve away staircase while walking up, this gesture has successfully connected the upper piazza and welcoming the circulation on a wider range

Approach and sectional diagram of Spanish Steps, which clearly shows the relationship of different levels

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Sant’Agnese in Agone

Architect: Francesco Borromini

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1652-1672

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Sant’Agnese in Agone is a 17th century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic center of the city.

The rebuilding of the church was begun in 1652 at the instigation of Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced onto the piazza and was adjacent to the site of the new church. The church was to be effectively a family chapel annexed to their residence. A number of architects were involved in the construction of the church, including Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi, and two of the foremost Baroque architects of the day; Francesco Borromini and the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini.

The name of this church is unrelated to the ‘agony’ of the martyr: in agone was the ancient name of Piazza Navona (piazza in agone), and meant instead, from the Greek, ‘in the site of the competitions’, because Piazza Navona was built on the form of an ancient Roman stadium on the Greek model, with one flat end, and was used for footraces. From ‘in agone’, the popular use and pronunciation changed the name into ‘Navona’, but other roads in the area kept the original name.

 

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baroque& Interior Decorations

 

Baroque& Interior Decorations

We are not allowed to take photos when we can to the interior, I can introduce some of the information: there are a number of large scale sculptures in this church, including the marble relief in the main altar, placed in a setting installed by Carlo Rainaldi and Ciro Ferri, that depicts the Miracle of Saint Agnes, initially commissioned from Alessandro Algardi and completed by Ercole Ferrata and Domenico Guidi in 1688, under constraints that their product must remain in conformity with the original Algardi design. The Sacred Family altarpiece (third to the right) is also by Domenico Guidi.

The altar dedicated to Saint Alexius, depicting his death, was completed by Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The stucco decoration of angels by Ferrata with the symbols of the Saint: pilgrim’s staff and flower crown. The altar depicting the Martyrdom of Sant’Emerenziana is by Ercole Ferrata. He also completed Sant’Agnese and the flame, Leonardo Retti completed the superior portions. The altar depicting the Death of Santa Cecilia was executed by Antonio Raggi. Stucco angel decorations (with musical instruments) by Ercole Ferrata with fresco designs by Ciro Ferri. The altarpiece of the Martyrdom of St. Eustace was commissioned to Melchiorre Caffà, but generally completed after Caffà’s early death by Ferrata and Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The statue of Saint Sebastian Martyr is by Pietro Paolo Campi.

Sketch of the main alter

One characteristic of Baroque architecture is ‘painterly’ color effects, I was caught by this notion when I saw the main alter of this church, also, it has fascinating detailing with free curves and romantic motion.

 

 

 

 

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Piazza Navona

Architect: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Location: Rome, Italy.

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1600s

Construction Type: Cut Stone Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans came there to watch the agones (“games”), and hence it was known as ‘Circus Agonalis’ (competition arena). It is believed that over time the name changed to ‘in agone’ to ‘navone’ and eventually to ‘navona’.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baroque Roman Architecture, Fountains,Point In Space

Baroque Roman Architecture

Today we visited the famous piazza: Piazza Navona. it was defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, the Piazza Navona was transformed into a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture and art. And I enjoyed ambling inside this Baroque pizza and I am trying to find what makes this place “Baroque”, and why it is so successful for people to use.

First notion for me was that facing onto the piazza, there are seveal important sculptural and architectural creations: in the center stands the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini,topped by the Obelisk of Domitian. As in the center of the piazza, it function as a attracting point in space, which attracts people in order to break the scale down and define circulation. In the photograph, standing as the background of Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini, Girolamo Rainaldi, Carlo Rainaldi and others; It also add the Baroque language to the piazza and public.

Photograph of Pamphili palace, a palace facing onto the Piazza Navona also by Girolamo Rainaldi, that accommodates the long gallery designed by Borromini and frescoed by Pietro da Cortona.

Fountains

There are fabulous fountains seating on the Piazza Navona: at the southern end is the Fontana del Moro and at the northern end is the Fountain of Neptune.

La Fontana del Moro (the Moor Fountain) is a fountain located at the southern end of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. It represents a Moor, standing in a conch shell, wrestling with a dolphin, surrounded by four Tritons. It is placed in a basin of rose-colored marble. The fountain was originally designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1575 with the dolphin and four Tritons. In 1653, the statue of the Moor, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, was added. In 1874, during a restoration of the fountain, the original statues were moved to the Villa Borghese and replaced with copies.

Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) is a fountain in Rome, Italy, located at the north end of the Piazza Navona. It was once called “Fontana dei Calderari” because it was located close to a small alley with blacksmith’s workshops, makers of pots and pans and of other metal based businesses, all of them generating heat.

The restoration of the Roman Aqua Virgo aqueduct in 1570 was immediately followed by the start of work on a continuation water supply pipe towards the district of the old Campo Marzio, which following the diminution of the city’s size and importance was left as the most densely populated part of the city. Restoration of a piped water supply in turn permitted the construction of several public fountains. The basin part of the Fontana del Nettuno, (without the sculptures) was designed in 1574 by Giacomo Della Porta, who also designed the Moor Fountain at the other side of the square. It was sponsored by pope Gregory XIII. The lower part of the basin consists of white marble and the upper part of the local stone from Pietrasanta. For the next 300 years, the fountain survived without statues.

Point In Space

I think the piazza works well because the idea of “Point In Space”, the fountains play the role of “point”, distributing strategically in the space.

Analytical sketch for “point in space”. For me, this space works well for the following reasons:

1.  The “point” attracts people

2. They define “zones”

3. They define circulations

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Fontana di Trevi(Trevi Fountain)

Architect: Nicola Salvi

Location: Rome, Italy

Date: 1732-1762

Building Type: Fountain

Architecture Styles: Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 1700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings)

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy. Standing 26 meters (85.3 feet) high and 20 meters (65.6 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sketch possible renovations, but when the Pope died, the project was abandoned. Though Bernini’s project was never constructed, there are many Bernini touches in the fountain as it exists today. An early, striking and influential model by Pietro da Cortona, preserved in the Albertina, Vienna, also exists, as do various early 18th century sketches, most unsigned, as well as a project attributed to Nicola Michetti one attributed to Ferdinando Fuga and a French design by Edme Bouchardon.

Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei – but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway.[9] Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement’s death, when Pietro Bracci’s Oceanus (god of all water) was set in the central niche.

Salvi died in 1751, with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber’s unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase, called by Romans the asso di coppe, the “Ace of Cups”.

The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini, who substituted the present allegories for planned sculptures of Agrippa and “Trivia”, the Roman virgin.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baroque&Symmetry, Coin Throwing

Baroque&Symmetry

On an architecture perspective view, as a baroque fountain, Trevi fountain has the character of symmetry and free curves.It owns the nature of baroque style that exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture.


The top of the fountain was characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, which is the baroque language, it gives a richness feeling for the skyline, at the same time, under its “free form”, it has the logic of classical orders, it has rational horizontal and vertical elements to form a symmetrical order.

Unlike the classical architecture, new emphasis was placed on domes, light-and-shade effects, and the bold play of volume and void, which we can tell clearly fro the facade.

Analytical sketch of the facade, I learned how to read the baroque language and classical order from it.

Coin Throwing

A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. This was the theme of 1954’s Three Coins in the Fountain and the Academy Award-winning song by that name which introduced the picture.An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.

As the tradition manner, I throw a coin as well, hope I can be back to Rome in the future!