BATTAGGIO, Giovanni di Domenico
(active 1465-1499 in Lombardy)

Biography

Giovanni di Domenico Battaggio (also Battagio da Lodi), Italian master builder and architect. During 1465 and 1466 his name appears in the wages book of the Ospedale Maggiore of Lodi, for which he produced doors, oculi and windows in terracotta. In 1479 he was appointed engineer of the city of Milan, and in 1489 he is mentioned as ducal engineer. He worked on the fortifications at Biasca in 1481. In 1484 Conte Manfredo Landi III (d. 1491) commissioned Battaggio and Agostino Fonduli to finish and decorate the façade of his palazzo in Piacenza (now the Palazzo dei Tribunali).

The design of Santa Maria della Passione, Milan, begun by 1486, is generally attributed to Battaggio. It was centrally planned, a domed octagon in shape, with quadrangular apsed chapels on the main axes and semicircular ones on the oblique sides, in a florid version of Bramante's Milanese style. A centralized, octagonal plan and prolific ornament also characterize Battaggio's design for the church of the Incoronata, Lodi (begun 1488).

In 1490 Battaggio designed his most complex structure, the church of Santa Maria della Croce, Crema. This church too is central in plan, circular outside and octagonal inside. The exterior is executed in polychromed terracotta. According to the records, Battaggio was dismissed from the project c. 1499 because of a disagreement with his clients. The master builder Antonio Montanaro of Cremona brought the church to completion in 1500, introducing Gothic decorative elements to the Renaissance plan.

Battaggio is generally included among the Lombard followers of Bramante, who, together with Leonardo da Vinci, aroused his interest in Renaissance forms and themes. He stands out, however, as one of the first to make systematic use of the centralized plan; his constant references to ancient architecture are also distinctive.

Battaggio had several brothers who were also active as master builders. They included Giacomino Battaggio; Gabriele Battaggio, who worked in 1475 at the Ospedale of Lodi and in 1487 at Santa Maria presso San Satiro; and Antonio Battaggio, a master builder and contractor who worked on the Ospedale of Lodi in 1466 and 1475, built the sacristy of Lodi Cathedral in 1487 and constructed the bridge over the Lambro at Melegnano in 1489.