MAGGI, Baldassare
(b. ca. 1550, Arogno, Ticino, d. 1629, Arogno, Ticino)

Biography

Italian architect, active in south Bohemia and Moravia. He reconstructed the castles of the Rozmberk dynasty at Cesky Krumlov, where in 1580 he introduced an arcaded gallery into the great 13th-century tower, and Bechyne, to which he added a hall and new wings around a courtyard (1580-84). He was probably responsible for the Renaissance dwellings and a terrace (1581) added to the medieval fortress of Helfstejn in eastern Moravia. At Cesky Krumlov he built the dormitory of the Jesuit College (1586-88) to a design by P. Alexander, and he built and decorated the villa of Kurzweil (now Kratochvíle; 1580-89; with Antonio Melana) for Vilém Rozmberk (d 1592) in a symmetrical ensemble with a chapel and a garden unusual at that time in central Europe, possibly influenced by the Neugebäude in Vienna.

For a related noble family, the Lords of Hradec, Maggi transformed the medieval castle of Frauenburg (now Hluboká) into a Renaissance mansion (re-Gothicized heavily in the 1840s). In the courtyard of the castle at Jindrichuv Hradec he extended the line of Antonio Ericero's new block of the 1560s with a further addition in three storeys, joined to the main block by an arcaded wing attributed to Melana. Another arcaded wing was built by Antonio Cometta (c. 1555-1602) to Maggi's designs (1591). Cometta also built Maggi's rotunda (1591-93), with a tent-like roof, in the palace garden, one of the most interesting Renaissance architectural works in central Europe. At the Hradec castle in Telc, southern Moravia, Maggi built and decorated a new south wing, joined to the existing blocks with arcaded wings on two sides to form a five-sided courtyard. One of these sides opens on to an Italianate walled garden, similarly bordered with arcades, into which a Renaissance chapel penetrates, surmounted by a hall (1575-80).

Maggi's works for the Bohemian and Moravian nobility were usually richly decorated with wall paintings and stuccowork or terracottas. They are of a north Italian Mannerist character; local influence is perceptible in articulated and graded contour of the upper parts of the rotunda, the chapel and hall at Telc, and the tower at Cesky Krumlov.