The history of relations between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro” ̶ the board institutionally responsible for architectural and artistic works in Vatican basilica ̶ lasts exactly fifty years: towards the end of his life, Carlo himself fixed the beginning in 1664. In fact, as early as June of 1665, the architect receives a small payment for designing "the carving of the relic of St. Peter's Chair," though in the early years, Carlo is mainly engaged in as "revisore delle misure", whose official recognition, as will be remembered many years later by the same architect, it was made by Pope Alexander VII. The presence in the Vatican site allows him to hone his specific skills, but also to confront Bernini; June 2, 1668, for example, Charles was called by cardinal Flavio Chigi, an influential member of the “Sacra Congregazione della Reverenda Fabbrica”, as third expert in professional contrast on the quality of work for the Colonnade executed by the stonemason Andrea Appiani: Carlo Fontana’s position, in favor of the latter, is diametrically opposed to that of Bernini. The episode deserves to be remembered by virtue of surprising independence of judgment, all the more significant if it reflects the huge gap at that time between the two architects, in terms of personal and professional prestige weight. Most notable however is the diversification of the tasks fulfilled by Fontana ̶ in addition to the one already mentioned, the "auditor of the measures" ̶ especially after Bernini’s death (1680), ranging from the evaluation of iron and stone works (1670, 1686) to advice for the arrangement of the monument to the deceased Alexander VIII (1696). Assumed the position of “Architetto della Reverenda Fabbrica” (1697), Carlo will affect the selection and arrangement of statues to be placed above the “Bracci” between the Colonnade and the facade of the basilica, but also those of the Saints founders of religious Orders to be placed in the niches of the nave of St. Peter, also finding a way to relate to uselessness of travertine in possession of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”, granted by order of Pope Clement XI Albani (1700-1721) for the new vestibule of Santa Maria in Trastevere (14 December 1701). Surprisingly appears limited Fontana’s contribution for the Holy Year of 1700; for example, Carlo subscribes the accounts relating to “rinettatura” (cleaning and polishing) of the pillars of the basilica and the project for the new “confessionali”. As he later confessed, Carlo Fontana aspired from the beginning to inherit the role of “Architetto della Reverenda Fabbrica” and, of course, emoluments enjoyed previously by Bernini: hopes, however, he has been disappointed for several years. The rise of Alexander VIII Ottoboni (1689) led a significant evolution of the relations between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica”. On March 15, 1690 it was recorded the decision to gratify Fontana one-off sum of sixty crowns; exactly eight months later (15 November 1690), Carlo is allowed between "provisionati" (that is, among the permanent workers) of the “Reverenda Fabbrica” with the monthly salary of 10 shields. Again, the intervention of the Pope is explicitly mentioned in the report, so it is Alexander VIII to push for Carlo Fontana, who, after a quarter century of 'external' co albeit gradually expanded and diversified over the assignments, enters officially in the fixed roles of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”. Although it is conceivable, starting from 1690, the reasonable hope of Fountain to obtain quickly the position of architect of the “Reverenda Fabbrica” (vacant for ten years now, that is the death of Bernini), Carlo will instead be forced to wait more than six years, until March 1697, when the “Sacra Congregazione” will restore him to the post, following a decision attributable to the Pope Innocent XII Pignatelli (1691-1700). For the purposes of this critical step, which marks the culmination Fontana's professional ascent, the credit has been generally attributed to Monsignor Giovanni Carlo Vespignani, Treasurer of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”: shareable indication, but by no means exhaustive. In summary, years of unpaid services, Vespignani’s intervention, Innocent XII’s will to heal a situation clearly irregular, avoiding future recriminations and lawsuits: all this contributed to the final result decided, in fact, in March 1697. To Carlo Fontana, the long wait could be closed down. “Tempio Vaticano” is a key element in the relationship between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro”, representing an important instrument of affirmation for the architect. Already since 1687 the Fountain receives funds for the publication of the book; other payments will follow one another until the its publication (1694); it must be emphasized, however, as the convictions of authors such as T. A. Marder and H. Hager on the actual knowledge of the Fountain of the Vatican complex (church and square) are, for what concerns the Colonnade, not entirely correct. A comparison of the text of the Fountain and the Colonnade emerges, in fact, significant differences.

Carlo Fontana architetto per la Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro

VILLANI MARCELLO
2017-01-01

Abstract

The history of relations between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro” ̶ the board institutionally responsible for architectural and artistic works in Vatican basilica ̶ lasts exactly fifty years: towards the end of his life, Carlo himself fixed the beginning in 1664. In fact, as early as June of 1665, the architect receives a small payment for designing "the carving of the relic of St. Peter's Chair," though in the early years, Carlo is mainly engaged in as "revisore delle misure", whose official recognition, as will be remembered many years later by the same architect, it was made by Pope Alexander VII. The presence in the Vatican site allows him to hone his specific skills, but also to confront Bernini; June 2, 1668, for example, Charles was called by cardinal Flavio Chigi, an influential member of the “Sacra Congregazione della Reverenda Fabbrica”, as third expert in professional contrast on the quality of work for the Colonnade executed by the stonemason Andrea Appiani: Carlo Fontana’s position, in favor of the latter, is diametrically opposed to that of Bernini. The episode deserves to be remembered by virtue of surprising independence of judgment, all the more significant if it reflects the huge gap at that time between the two architects, in terms of personal and professional prestige weight. Most notable however is the diversification of the tasks fulfilled by Fontana ̶ in addition to the one already mentioned, the "auditor of the measures" ̶ especially after Bernini’s death (1680), ranging from the evaluation of iron and stone works (1670, 1686) to advice for the arrangement of the monument to the deceased Alexander VIII (1696). Assumed the position of “Architetto della Reverenda Fabbrica” (1697), Carlo will affect the selection and arrangement of statues to be placed above the “Bracci” between the Colonnade and the facade of the basilica, but also those of the Saints founders of religious Orders to be placed in the niches of the nave of St. Peter, also finding a way to relate to uselessness of travertine in possession of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”, granted by order of Pope Clement XI Albani (1700-1721) for the new vestibule of Santa Maria in Trastevere (14 December 1701). Surprisingly appears limited Fontana’s contribution for the Holy Year of 1700; for example, Carlo subscribes the accounts relating to “rinettatura” (cleaning and polishing) of the pillars of the basilica and the project for the new “confessionali”. As he later confessed, Carlo Fontana aspired from the beginning to inherit the role of “Architetto della Reverenda Fabbrica” and, of course, emoluments enjoyed previously by Bernini: hopes, however, he has been disappointed for several years. The rise of Alexander VIII Ottoboni (1689) led a significant evolution of the relations between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica”. On March 15, 1690 it was recorded the decision to gratify Fontana one-off sum of sixty crowns; exactly eight months later (15 November 1690), Carlo is allowed between "provisionati" (that is, among the permanent workers) of the “Reverenda Fabbrica” with the monthly salary of 10 shields. Again, the intervention of the Pope is explicitly mentioned in the report, so it is Alexander VIII to push for Carlo Fontana, who, after a quarter century of 'external' co albeit gradually expanded and diversified over the assignments, enters officially in the fixed roles of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”. Although it is conceivable, starting from 1690, the reasonable hope of Fountain to obtain quickly the position of architect of the “Reverenda Fabbrica” (vacant for ten years now, that is the death of Bernini), Carlo will instead be forced to wait more than six years, until March 1697, when the “Sacra Congregazione” will restore him to the post, following a decision attributable to the Pope Innocent XII Pignatelli (1691-1700). For the purposes of this critical step, which marks the culmination Fontana's professional ascent, the credit has been generally attributed to Monsignor Giovanni Carlo Vespignani, Treasurer of the “Reverenda Fabbrica”: shareable indication, but by no means exhaustive. In summary, years of unpaid services, Vespignani’s intervention, Innocent XII’s will to heal a situation clearly irregular, avoiding future recriminations and lawsuits: all this contributed to the final result decided, in fact, in March 1697. To Carlo Fontana, the long wait could be closed down. “Tempio Vaticano” is a key element in the relationship between Carlo Fontana and the “Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro”, representing an important instrument of affirmation for the architect. Already since 1687 the Fountain receives funds for the publication of the book; other payments will follow one another until the its publication (1694); it must be emphasized, however, as the convictions of authors such as T. A. Marder and H. Hager on the actual knowledge of the Fountain of the Vatican complex (church and square) are, for what concerns the Colonnade, not entirely correct. A comparison of the text of the Fountain and the Colonnade emerges, in fact, significant differences.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/685843
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