Biography of Giacomo Della Porta (1533-1602)

Architect and Italian sculptor, born in Genoa in 1533 and died in Rome in 1602. Disciple of Vignola, develops all its activity in the city of Rome and the Lazio region, with the exception of a short stay in Genoa, where he/she works, from 1565 to 1570, at the Church of the Annunziata of younger siblings. He/She continued the activity undertaken by Vignola in many buildings, some of which had intervened Miguel Ángel, as on Capitol Hill, in the staircase and façade of the Palace Senatorio, in the upper Loggia of the Farnese Palacio, or the basilica of San Pedro, where performs the work that gave him more fame, finishing the dome designed by Miguel Ángel and slightly stylized design. In the Church of the Gesù in Rome, made the dome, round chapels of Virgin and San Francisco and, above all, the facade which will form the prototype of countless replicas and variations.

Developing possible schemes of Vignola, Della Porta was used with a very intense activity and made religious architecture, such as the façade of the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Church of the Virgin of los Montes, San Atanasio dei Greci and San Juan completing dei Fiorentini; in architecture it is residences Maffei, Aldobrandini, the Piazza Campitelli, Clementino school, the courtyard of the Palace of wisdom and the Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati; in his activity as a sculptor are the numerous fountains built for the city of Rome.

Member of the Academia di San Luca, official architect of the Church and the nobility and, for almost thirty years, Chief Architect of San Pedro, Della Porta factory set definitive typological schemes of some construction schemes that had been developed by the great masters of the Renaissance, as the typology of residence or villa, and the facade of the churches with two orders superimposed. His monumental works helped characterise the urban image of Rome.

Facade of the Gesù in Rome. Giacomo Della Porta

The building, Manager for the newborn Jesus company, had been designed by Vignola adapting it to the propaganda needs of the Church, faced with the advance of Lutheranism. The building remained without conclusion, being commissioned from Della Porta. This modifies the facade project by Vignola, getting set a typology of chord facade with new ideas and easily repeatable, which becomes the type of contrarreformista Church.

The facade is divided into two bodies, topped by a circular pediment which neutralizes them; There are notable influences from the facade of Santa María Novella, performed by Alberti, although it introduces new elements with respect to this, as the fractionation of cornices, pediments parties, the niches with sculptures decorating the Gables, etc. Breach of the cornices of the upper zone corresponds to the lower a bulge of pilasters and columns, which becomes greater as it approaches the central part of the facade; This game of volumes makes the facade to abandon his statism flat making dynamic, unless this fact reste le monumentality.


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