Vanvitelli procured all this pertinent comparative material and dutifully

Vanvitelli procured all this pertinent comparative

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Louvre,Versailles, and their gardens.Vanvitelli procured all this pertinent comparative material and dutifully shaped the project according to the royal vision. In 1751, he was summoned to the Portici residence where in a private audience,Vanvitelli tells us, the king and the queen delighted over his solutions, each asking questions and voicing desires for the apartments, the gardens, the fountains and, Queen Amalia extemporized, on a whole new, orderly city to rise up around. Maestà , the courtier-architect obsequiously responded,“this lesson that you deign to give me will be kept well in mind and executed without alteration.” On 20 January 1752, the foundation stone for the Reggia at Caserta was laid with pompous ceremony.This and the entire palace project were minutely described by Vanvitelli in a lavish publication of 1756 distributed by the royals to visiting dignitaries.As the architect puts it, the fourteen engraved plates and elucidating text broadcast the sublimity of Carlos’s idea, which feared no comparison with the great palaces of Europe or antiquity.Vanvitelli’s text is a 30 the architecture of modern italy
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guide to the sculptural elements and their monumental architectural vessel. Like the founding legends of western European civilization expounded by the Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico, the rhythms, repetitions, gestures, and metaphors of Caserta are Vanvitelli’s architectural poems of the ideal of Bourbon absolutism. Vanvitelli coordinated the ongoing spectacle of construction of palace and gardens, along with the aqueduct that would serve them. A 40-kilometer conduit, the Acquedotto Carolino, passes through mountains, like the Aqua Virgo, and over valleys on arches modeled on the Roman-era Pont du Gard in France.Aqueduct building, the stuff of ancient emperors, provided aesthetic and functional benefits to the palace as well as to the city of Naples—a grand watercourse was to connect Carlos’s two great works in a single stream. The Reggia’s ground plan measures over 250 by 200 meters, a magnificent rectilinear block of stately proportions.Two ranges of state rooms bisect within to define four rectangular courtyards. Its 1,200 rooms are arranged according to a rational geometric disposition that conjoins the symmetry, distribution, and dimension of the great palaces of Renaissance reason and Vico’s notion of geometry as the visible manifestation of monarchic rule.The facade is articulated with a colossal Composite order. Its thirty-seven bays are broken up in central and terminal pavilions originally to have been accented with a cupola, corner towers, and acroterial sculpture, references to Carlos’s Farnese inheritance and boyhood homes. Unlike Louis’s Versailles, the walls of Caserta are not dissolved in windows; instead,Vanvitelli, like Galilei before him, exalts the rectilinear solidity of construction and achieves a sweeping monumentality worthy of the Sun King’s descendant.Vanvitelli has balanced Carlos’s French memories with the requisites of Italian design tradition.
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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