Luigi Vanvitelli, the Architect

Revolutionary genius with a tireless and concrete mind, and Father of the Neoclassical Architecture. He was admired by everyone, and envied by many.

 

 

Auth: Salvatore Scarfone

The bird's-eye view by Vanvitelli, with the first design of the Palace. Note the  never built Parterre due to lack of funds

SYNTHESYS

Luigi Vanvitelli (Naples, 1700 - Caserta, 1773) was an architect, engineer, scenographer and italian painter. Born from by famous landscape artist Gaspar van Wittel, he soon became popular due to his outstanding artistic talents, so as to immediately receive the praises by Filippo Juvarra, one of the main baroque architects.

He deeply renewed the architecture, he had many students, imitators and followers, so many that in time his style spread so much in Italy and Europe, to create a new style: the neoclassical architecture.

He created and restored many buildings throughout Italy. His remarkable abilities made him become the main architect of the Pope, but this attracted jealousies and dislikes. In Rome, among many works, there was also the securing of the dome of St. Peter.

The new king of Naples, Charles of Bourbon , to create the new nerve centre of his reign, asked to Vanvitelli to design the new city of Caserta, including the Royal Palace as its centerpiece. Its project, immediately printed and distributed across Europe, obtained great admiration by the sovereigns, and this admiration atttracted to him dislikes and even bullying.

After his death in 1773, the works of the Royal Palace were keeped on by his son Carlo.

 

 

Biography

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firma-vanvitelli

Luigi Vanvitelli was born Lodewijk van Wittel ( Naples , 12 May 1700 - Caserta , 1 March 1773 ), was a painter and an italian architect.

Born from a family of artists originally from Amersfoort ( Netherlands ), his original surname (van Wittel) was Italianate in Vanvitelli from his father Gaspard van Wittel ( Gaspare Vanvitelli ), who emigrated to Rome in 1674 , you played as a painter until 1736, becoming the initiator of landscape painting.

Luigi Vanvitelli began his career as a painter, following the example of his father, and later dedicated to architecture and become one of the most important Italian architects of the period between Baroque and Neoclassicism.

Piazza Navona - G. van WittelPiazza Navona - G. van Wittel

Gaspar van Wittel was the father of Vanvitelli, whose original surname was italianised

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Student of the little-known Antonio Valeri , Vanvitelli was inspired by the work of some great architects of the Baroque , as Gian Lorenzo Bernini , Francesco Borromini , Carlo Fontana , Filippo Juvarra and studied thoroughly treated and the works of the architects of antiquity and the Renaissance . In the years of education formed a lasting friendship and collaboration with Nicola Salvi and was affiliated to the Academy of Arcadia .

It is pointed out as an architect participating in the competitions for the main facade of San Giovanni in Laterano and the Trevi Fountain , contests that would mark the rebirth of the art state of the Church under the enlightened rule of Pope Clement XII ; projects Vanvitelli, who went to meet the new trends in neoclassical, were highly prized in the most educated, but the jury saw fit to reward projects which supported the Baroque style in Rome yet fully dominant.

La conchiglia: quasi un logo per vanvitelli, la si può ritrovare in numerose sue opere romane e campane, ed usata in diverse forme.The shell: almost a logo for Vanvitelli, it can be found in many works in Rome and Campania, and was used in many shapes.

The thought

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The opinion about Versailles

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The family

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Early works

Urbino

The first important work was the one in 1728 at Urbino, with the restoration of the Albani Palace at Urbino, and the built of the chapel into the church of St. Francesco Albani.

 

Works in Rome

In Rome he became the architect of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican , which he held throughout his life. His is also the redesign (1750) of the church of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs , built by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the Baths of Diocletian . In 1911 the facade was demolished vanvitellian, but the inside is still the one designed by Vanvitelli. In addition, he participated unsuccessfully in the competition for the facade of San Giovanni in Laterano .

luigi-vanvitelli-die-fontana-di-trevi

The Vanvitelli's project for the Trevi Fountain

Ancona

I suoi progetti, però, colpirono talmente gli esaminatori, tanto che a lui vennero affidate le opere da realizzare in Ancona: il Lazzaretto ed il Porto. Il progetto del Lazzaretto è del 1734. I lavori cominciarono subito ma si protrassero a lungo per varie difficoltà soprattutto di carattere politico locale.

Dopo molte polemiche i lavori di Ancona vennero sospesi nel 1740 per essere ripresi solo nel 1754, sul finire del pontificato di Benedetto XIV, ma affidati a Carlo Marchionni. Luigi Vanvitelli rimase molto amareggiato per non essere stato chiamato a completare l’opera, che, tuttavia, fu ultimata secondo i suoi disegni. In Ancona, intanto, aveva compiuto anche altri lavori: la Cappella delle Reliquie nella Cattedrale di S. Ciriaco nel 1739; la chiesa del Gesù nel 1743, in cui compare per la prima volta, come elemento decorativo, la conchiglia, che poi diventerà tipico del suo stile; la chiesa di S. Agostino, ormai trasformata in dormitorio della Marina, il Palazzo Bourbon del Monte, oggi Jona, ed altre fabbriche di cui s’è persa notizia.

 

Lazzaretto - AnconaLazzaretto - Ancona 

Chiesa del Gesù - AnconaChiesa del Gesù - Ancona 

Back to Rome

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Analisi statica della Cupola di San PietroStatic analysis of the dome of St. Peter

Biblioteca Angelica - RomaBiblioteca Angelica - Rome

Biblioteca Angelica - Roma. Notare il balcone che ricorda lo stile Liberty di 150 anni dopo.Biblioteca Angelica - Rome. Note the balcony reminiscent of Art Nouveau than 150 years later.

Il progetto di restauro della basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli - RomaThe restoration project of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli - Rome

Interno della basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli - RomaInterior of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli - Rome

Il progetto per la facciata del duomo di MilanoThe design for the facade of the Duomo in Milan/em>

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Cappella San Giovanni Battista, chiesa di S. Rocco - LisbonaChapel of St. John the Baptist, Church of St. Rocco - Lisbon

Cappella San Giovanni Battista, chiesa di S. Rocco - LisbonaChapel of St. John the Baptist, Church of St. Rocco - Lisbon

Cappella San Giovanni Battista, chiesa di S. Rocco - LisbonaChapel of St. John the Baptist, Church of St. Rocco - Lisbon

From Rome to Naples

The Royal Palace of Caserta

In 1750 the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon took Vanvitelli in the design of a new royal palace that was designed for the city of Caserta , easily accessible from the capital , but differs from it, as it was Versailles from Paris . The palace, which was to be built near a new city (which was later made in later times, in a chaotic way, without taking into account the ideas of Vanvitelli), was supplied with water from the monumental Carolino Aqueduct , designed by Vanvitelli on the model of hydraulic works of ancient Rome .

The Reggia di Caserta , defined as the last great creation of the Italian Baroque, is surely his most important work. Curatissima in detail and covers four monumental courtyards, the building is fronted by a spectacular park that takes advantage of the natural slope of the land to be articulated in a gigantic man-made waterfall, punctuated by a series of fountains and marble statues. The most scenic parts are the whole atrium and the monumental staircase and the chapel. Remarkable is the court theater, the room where a horseshoe is rounded rather solemn made by ' giant order of columns, which conceals the typical frail wooden structure with boxes. Devoid of the four corner towers and central dome, which should have movimentarne the mole, the palace is a kind of synthesis between the original Palace of Versailles and ' Escorial .

After his death the work at the palace was continued by his son Carlo ( Naples , 1739 - 1821 ).

 

Foro Carolino (odierna piazza Dante) - NapoliForo Carolino (today called Piazza Dante) - Naples

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata Maggiore - NapoliSantissima Annunziata Maggiore basilica - Naples

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata Maggiore - NapoliSantissima Annunziata Maggiore basilica - Naples

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Villa Campolieto - ErcolanoVilla Campolieto - Herculaneum

Prestige and bullying at the Court

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The last works

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Monumento a Vanvitelli nella città di CasertaThe monument for Vanvitelli in the city of Caserta 

Other works

Biographers remembers the works made in Macerata for Gualtiero Marefoschi; in Pesaro, where he left the construction management to his disciple Antonio Rinaldi, who after became famous at the russian court of the Tsars; in Loreto, where he completed the loggia of the Apostolic Palace, made by Bramante, and added to the monumental bell tower. Maybe he only designed the St. Vitus Church in Recanati, the Franciscan Convent in Fano, and more. While working in Ancona, in 1739 Luigi Vanvitelli was called to Perugia to build the church and convent of the Olivetan. The project, of which there are some drawings in Caserta, was later made by Murena in 1762. The restoration of the Romanesque cathedral of Foligno is the last work in Umbria. Still in Siena, however, it documents the activities for the project of the St. Augustine Church. The many commitments in the Marches, Umbria and Tuscany, however, didn't reduced his works and relations in Rome, where he was the main architect of St. Peter's. After the aqueduct of Vermicino, the most important work of which he was in charge was, in 1741, the restoration of the Jesuit Villa Tuscolana in Frascati, also called "Rufinella" from the name of Rufino Cardinal who had owned. Two years later in Civitavecchia he erected the foutain at the harbor.

His love for scenography

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vanvitelli-sala-da-ballo-matrimonio-1Project of the ballroom for the wedding of Maria Carolina of Habsburg and Ferdinand IV of Bourbon

Pupils and followers of the time

These were the main pupils and followers of Luigi Vanvitelli, who drew inspiration from his teaching. Those who were inspired by them and by Vanvitelli, increasing over time came get to a new architectural standard: the Neoclassical.

Marche (italian region): :

  • Francesco e Arcangelo Vici,
  • Pier Francesco Palmucci,
  • Girolamo Mezzalancia
  • Paolo Soratini
  • Carlo Orazio Leopardi
  • Francesco Matelicani
  • Carlo Marchionni
  • Francesco Maria Ciaraffoni
  • Antonio Rinaldi
  • Lorenzo Daretti
  • Virginio Bracci
  • Giovanni Andrea Lazzarini
  • Tommaso Bicciagli
  • Andrea Vici
  • Giuseppe Tranquilli
  • Mattia Capponi
  • Giuseppe Lucatelli

 

 

Rome:

  • Gaetano Sintes
  • Carlo Murena (the favorite pupil)
  • Domenico Giovannini
  • Virginio Bracci
  • Andrea Vici
  • Ermenegildo Sintes

 

 

Caserta:

  • Pietro Bernasconi (master builder of the Palace)
  • Francesco Sabatini
  • Marcello Fonton
  • Filippo Retrosi (continuer of Giovannini at Caserta)
  • Francesco Collecini (the most gifted student of Vanvitelli)
  • Giovan Battista Vaccarini
  • Giuseppe Piermarini
  • Antonio De Simone
  • Carlo Vanvitelli (eldest son of Louis)
  • Martin Biancourt (head gardener of the park)
  • Antonio Rosz (carpenter and cabinetmaker)
  • Carlo, Giovanbattista and Crispino Patturelli
  • Domenico Brunelli, Giovan Battista Fontana and Leonardo Pinto
  • Pietro Vanvitelli and Francesco Vanvitelli (children)
  • Giovanni Patturelli

Naples:

  • Nicola Tagliacozzi
  • Bartolomeo Vecchione
  • Luca Vecchione
  • Gennaro Papa
  • Giuseppe Astarita
  • Gaetano Barba
  • Carlo Galli da Bibiena
  • Carlo Vanvitelli
  • Pompeo Schiantarelli
  • Ignazio Di Nardo
  • Giovanbattista Broggia
  • Francesco Sicuro
  • Vincenzo Ruffo
  • Gioacchino Avellino

 

 

Central and northern Italy:

  • Carlo Murena
  • Giovan Pietro Cremoni
  • Pietro Bernasconi
  • Antonio Stefanucci
  • Pietro Carlo Borboni
  • Giuseppe Antonio Landi
  • Cosimo Morelli
  • Camillo Morigia
  • Giuseppe Pistocchi
  • Giuseppe Piermarini
  • Simone Cantoni

 

 

G. Piermarini - Teatro alla Scala - MilanoGiuseppe Piermarini - La Scala theatre - Milan

 

G. Piermarini - Palazzo reale - MilanoGiuseppe Piermarini - Royal Palace - Milan

G. Piermarini - Palazzo reale - MilanoGiuseppe Piermarini - Royal Palace - Milan

G. Piermarini - Palazzo reale - MilanoGiuseppe Piermarini - Royal Palace - Milan

Southern Italy (except Naples and Caserta):

  • Giovan Battista Vaccarini
  • Stefano Ittar
  • Venanzio Marvuglia
  • Saverio Ricciulli
  • Pompeo Schiantarelli
  • Ignazio De Juliis
  • Antonio Magri
  • Vincenzo Ruffo
  • Giuseppe Astarita
  • Gaetano Barba

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Spain:

  • Marcello Fonton
  • Francesco Sabatini
  • Pietro e Francesco Vanvitelli

Francesco Sabatini, Palazzo Reale - 1760, Madrid, SpagnaFrancesco Sabatini, Royal Palace - Madrid

Francesco Sabatini, Palazzo Reale - Madrid, SpagnaFrancesco Sabatini, Royal Palace - Madrid

Belgium:

  • Laurent Benoit Dewez

Glembloux Abbey

Seneffe Castel

Russia:

  • Antonio Rinaldi

 

Antonio Rinaldi, Palazzo di Marmo - San Pietroburgo, RussiaMarble Palace - St. Petersburg, Russia

Antonio Rinaldi, Palazzo di Marmo - San Pietroburgo, RussiaMarble Palace - St. Petersburg, Russia

Antonio Rinaldi, Palazzina cinese - Oranienbaum, Russia  Antonio Rinaldi, Chinese Palace - Oranienbaum, Russia

Antonio Rinaldi, Palazzo Gatchina - San Pietroburgo, Russia Antonio Rinaldi, Gatchina Palace - St. Petersburg, Russia

Examples of works inspired by the Palace of Caserta

Discover the built date of the world palaces

Observing all architectures built or modified after the publication of the Declaration of Drawings of the Royal Palace of Caserta, you can often recognize its influence. For example, the Staircase of Honour of the Royal Palace, was taken as a model for the construction of the world's most beautiful staircases. It is easy to find its style (central staircase thta splits into two lateral staircases ending in a large tripartite wall) also via a simple image search via web.

 

Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace - London

Kunsthistorisches Museum - ViennaKunsthistorisches Museum - Wien

L'Opera Royal nella Reggia di VersaillesThe Royal Opera in the Palace of Versailles

Francesco Sabatini, Palazzo Reale - 1760, Madrid, SpagnaFrancesco Sabatini, Royal Palace - Madrid

Parliament - Berlin

Petit Trianon, Versailles

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