JUVARRA, Filippo
(b. 1678, Messina, d. 1736, Madrid)

Biography

Italian architect and scenographer, active in Rome, Turin, and Madrid. He was an important and influential Baroque architect who introduced elements of the Rococo architectural style. His work reinforced a Late Baroque classical tradition while also drawing on the leavening criticism of that tradition by Francesco Borromini. His work is characterized by clarity and directness, his architectural conceptions defined by a drastically reduced structure and complex conglomerate spaces; his surfaces were adorned with elaborate decorative systems the originality of which pointed the way to a light-hearted Rococo.

After working in his father's silversmith shop and being ordained a priest in 1703, Juvarra began his architectural training at around age twenty-five. After moving to Rome, he studied under its leading Baroque architect Carlo Fontana and gained renown for his bold stage designs. He was named First Architect to the King of Sicily, and charged with transforming Turin, Savoy's capital. He produced sixteen palaces, eight churches, urban planning projects, interior decoration, and designs for furniture and church ornaments. Highly skilled painters, sculptors, and craftsmen from throughout Italy made his designs reality.

In 1735 Philip V summoned Juvarra for work in Spain, where his sudden death cut short his career.