MAZENTA, Giovanni Ambrogio
(b. 1565, Milano, d. 1635, Roma)

Biography

Giovanni Mazenta (or Magenta), Italian architect, Barnabite monk. He worked with his architect brothers Guido, Alessandro and Francesco. Giovanni was the strongest talent at Bologna during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. A man of great intellectual power, engineer, mathematician, and theoretician, he even became in 1612 General of his Order.

In 1605, he designed on a vast scale the cathedral of San Pietro at Bologna accomplishing the difficult union with Domenico Tibaldi's (1541-1583) choir from 1575 which he left untouched. He is responsible for the large church of Santissimo Salvatore, designed in 1605 and erected by Tommaso Martelli (active 1575-1633) between 1613 and 1623. Inspired by the large halls of Roman thermae, Mazenta here monumentalised the North Italian tradition of using free-standing columns in the nave.

Mazenta's church of San Paolo, begun in 1606, shows that he was even capable of enlivening the traditional Gesù type, to which Roman architects of this period did not really find an alternative.