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Guarino Guarini
 
 
 
Guarino Guarini, also called Camillo Guarini (born January 17, 1624, Modena, Duchy of Modena [Italy]—died March 6, 1683, Milan), Italian architect, priest, mathematician, and theologian whose designs and books on architecture made him a major source for later Baroque architects in central Europe and northern Italy.

Guarini was in Rome during 1639–47, when Francesco Borromini was most active. Later he taught in Modena, Messina, and Paris and finally in 1666 went to Turin, where he stayed for the greater part of the remainder of his life. While in Turin in the service of the dukes of Savoy, Guarini built (or furnished designs for) at least six churches and chapels, five palaces, and a city gate; published six books, two on architecture and four on mathematics and astronomy; and sent palace designs to the duke of Bavaria and the margrave of Baden.

In San Lorenzo (1668–87) and Santa Sindone (1667–90; “Holy Shroud”) in Turin, Guarini, working on a centralized plan, converted domes to an open lacework of interwoven masonry arches. (Santa Sindone was extensively damaged by fire in 1997, and the chapel was closed indefinitely for restoration work.) Although its design and symbolism were clearly Christian, Santa Sindone’s structural details echo aspects of Spanish Moorish mosques and French Gothic cathedrals; indeed, Guarini expressed admiration for Gothic architecture. Guarini’s longitudinal churches—of which the most spectacular was Santa Maria della Divina Providenza, in Lisbon, destroyed by earthquake in 1755—with their veiled light sources and interwoven spaces, served as models for much of the church development in central Europe.

The Palazzo Carignano in Turin (1679) is Guarini’s masterpiece of palace design. With its billowing facade, its magnificent curved double stair, and its astonishing double dome in the main salon, it well deserves to be acclaimed the finest urban palace of the second half of the 17th century in Italy. Guarini’s principal architectural treatise, Architettura Civile, was published posthumously in Turin in 1737.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
The wealth of new ideas that Borromini introduced was to be exploited not in Rome but in Turin, the capital of Savoy, which became the creative center of Baroque architecture in Italy toward the end of the seventeenth century. In 1666 that city attracted Borromini's most brilliant successor, Guarino Guarini (1624-1683), a Thcatine monk whose architectural genius was deeply grounded in philosophy and mathematics. His design for the facade of the Palazzo Carignano repeats on a larger scale the undulating movement of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, using a highly individual vocabulary. Incredibly, the exterior of the building is entirely of brick, down to the last detail.


Guarino Guarini. Facade of Palazzo Carignano. Turin. Begun 1679
Plan of Palazzo Carignano




Guarino Guarini. Facade of Palazzo Carignano. Turin. Begun 1679


Still more extraordinary is Guarini's dome of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, a round structure attached to Turin Cathedral. The tall drum, with alternating windows and tabernacles, consists of familiar Borrominian motifs, but beyond it we enter a realm of pure illusion. The interior surface of the dome of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, though dematerialized by light and the honeycomb of fanciful coffers, was still recognizable. But here the surface has disappeared completely in a maze of segmental ribs, and we find ourselves staring into a huge kaleidoscope. Above this seemingly endless funnel of space hovers the dove of the Holy Spirit within a bright, twelve-pointed star.

So far as we know, there is only one similar dome anywhere in the history of art: that of the Ulu Mosque at Erzurum in Turkish Armenia, built about 1150. How could Guarini have known about it? Or did he recapture its effect entirely by coincidence? Guarini's dome retains the old symbolic meaning of the Dome of Heaven, but the objective harmony of the Renaissance has here become subjective, a compelling experience of the infinite. If Borromini's style at times suggested a synthesis of Gothic and Renaissance, Guarini takes the next, decisive step. In his theoretical writings, he contrasts the "muscular" architecture of the ancients with the opposite effect of Gothic churches, which appear to stand only by means of some kind of miracle, and he expresses equal admiration for both. This attitude corresponds exactly to his own practice. By using the most advanced mathematical techniques of his day, he achieved architectural miracles even greater than those of the seemingly weightless Gothic structures.


Guarino Guarini. Dome. Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Turin Cathedral. 1668-94
Plan of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud and of the dome




Wooden dome of the Ulu Mosque, Erzurum, Seljuk. c. 1150


Guarino Guarini

Guarino Guarini, also called Camillo Guarini (born Jan. 17, 1624, Modena, Duchy of Modena [Italy]—died March 6, 1683, Milan), Italian architect, priest, mathematician, and theologian whose designs and books on architecture made him a major source for later Baroque architects in central Europe and northern Italy.

Guarini was in Rome during 1639–47, when Francesco Borromini was most active. Later he taught in Modena, Messina, and Paris and finally in 1666 went to Turin, where he stayed for the greater part of the remainder of his life. While in Turin in the service of the dukes of Savoy, Guarini built (or furnished designs for) at least six churches and chapels, five palaces, and a city gate; published six books, two on architecture and four on mathematics and astronomy; and sent palace designs to the duke of Bavaria and the margrave of Baden.

In San Lorenzo (1668–87) and Santa Sindone (1667–90; “Holy Shroud”) in Turin, Guarini, working on a centralized plan, converted domes to an open lacework of interwoven masonry arches. (Santa Sindone was extensively damaged by fire in 1997, and the chapel was closed indefinitely for restoration work.) Although its design and symbolism were clearly Christian, Santa Sindone’s structural details echo aspects of Spanish Moorish mosques and French Gothic cathedrals; indeed, Guarini expressed admiration for Gothic architecture. Guarini’s longitudinal churches—of which the most spectacular was Santa Maria della Divina Providenza, in Lisbon, destroyed by earthquake in 1755—with their veiled light sources and interwoven spaces, served as models for much of the church development in central Europe.

The Palazzo Carignano in Turin (1679) is Guarini’s masterpiece of palace design. With its billowing facade, its magnificent curved double stair, and its astonishing double dome in the main salon, it well deserves to be acclaimed the finest urban palace of the second half of the 17th century in Italy. Guarini’s principal architectural treatise, Architettura Civile, was published posthumously in Turin in 1737.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Guarino Guarini. Cupola di San lorenzo a Torino




Guarino Guarini. Piazza Castello, Torino.

 
 
 

 
 
 
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