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
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.
Luigi Vanvitelli, a personality that is difficult to be limited within a specific style or artistic current, as it is no more fully Baroque, but at the same time a forerunner of the following style, the Neoclassical one.
So he was a transitional figure, in an era of profound social changes and thought, living the transition from the absolute monarchy, to the enlightened one. Vanvitelli fully reflect these contradictions, summarizing and integrating them into his personality.
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.
Luigi Vanvitelli was not indifferent to the neapolitan and european Enlightenment movement. As a practical man he was, Vanvitelli hated the most conceptual and erudite theories, just as he had a notable aversion to the architectural theory and criticism, believing that the architectural code was something definitively acquired and so elastic as to incorporate the baroque ideas.
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 ).
Examples of works inspired by the Palace of Caserta
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.