20 the architecture of modern italy the challenge of tradition 17501900 14

20 the architecture of modern italy the challenge of

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20 the architecture of modern italy
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the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900 1.4 Giovanni Battista Nolli, La Nuova pianta di Roma , 1748
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alessandro galilei and san giovanni laterano One of the contemporary monuments featured in Nolli’s vignettes was a new facade for the church of San Giovanni Laterano.The basilica, along with its baptistery, was erected by the Emperor Constantine in the year 315. It was, and still is, the pre-eminent liturgical seat in the Christian capital, where the relics of Saints Peter and Paul—specifically, their heads—are preserved.The popes resided at the Lateran through the Middle Ages and it remains today the cathedral of the city of Rome, though it does not enjoy a pre- eminent urban position or architectural stature; indeed its peripheral site along the city’s western walls and eccentric orientation facing out across the open countryside make the maintenance of its rightful stature, let alone its aging physical structure, extremely difficult.The Church of Saint Peter’s, on the other hand, also Constantinian in origin, had been entirely reconceived under Pope Julius II in the Renaissance and became the preferred papal seat. Meanwhile, the Lateran remained in constant need of repair, revision, and reform. Pope Sixtus V reconfigured the site by adding an obelisk, a new palace and benediction loggia on the side and later Pope Innocent X set Francesco Borromini to reintegrate the body of the church, its nave, and its double aisles, but his plans for the facade and eastern piazza were left unexecuted. Dozens of projects to complete the facade were proposed over the next seventy-five years until Pope Clement XII announced in 1731 an architectural competition for it. Clement XII’s idea of a competition was a novelty for Rome, with a published program and projects presented anonymously before an expert jury. It would indeed provide an opportunity for exposure of new ideas and for stimulating discussion. In 1732, nearly two dozen proposals were put on display in a gallery of the papal summer palace on the Quirinal Hill.All the prominent architects of Rome participated, as well as architects from Florence, Bologna, and Venice. Participants drew up a variety of alternatives ranging, as tastes ran, between a stern classicism to fulsome baroque images after Borromini. Jury members from the Accademia di San Luca found the projects that followed Borrominian inspiration excessively exuberant and preferred the sobriety of the classical inheritance, and Alessandro 22 the architecture of modern italy
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Galilei emerged the winner.These expressed opinions delineated a polemical moment dividing the baroque from a new classicism. Galilei was a remote relation of the famous astronomer and followed the papal court from Florence to Rome. Galilei had been active in the rediscovery of classic achievements in the arts and letters in the eighteenth century re-examining Giotto, Dante, and Brunelleschi with renewed appreciation. For example, when asked in 1723 for his opinion on a new baroque-style altar for the Florentine
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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