ROSSETTI, Biagio
(b. 1447, Ferrara, d. 1516, Ferrara)

Biography

Italian architect and urbanist from Ferrara. A military engineer since 1483, and the ducal architect of Ercole I d'Este, in 1492 Rossetti was assigned the project of enlarging the city of Ferrara. He designed one of the most spectacular urban developments of the fifteenth century, the Addizione Erculea, the northern extension of the city that more than doubled its area, complete with the Piazza Nuova and the intersection of the Via Prione and Via degli Angeli. Rossetti himself designed four churches and eight palazzi, including the Palazzo dei Diamanti, so called because of the diamond-pointed rustication of its façades. In the Piazza Nuova he designed the Palazzo Rondinelli and the Palazzo Strozzi-Bevilacqua (both from 1494), with arcaded ground-floors. He also designed the Church of San Francesco in the old city (from 1494) on a plan based on Brunelleschi's San Lorenzo, Florence, with a nave ceiling consisting of transverse arches supporting shallow domes on pendentives. In the Addizione he also designed the aisleless vaulted San Cristofero alla Certosa (from 1498).

Rossetti is considered the first architect in the history of urbanistics to make use of the advantages of the modern methods: balancing the humanistic principles in architecture, the real needs of the city, and local traditions. Beginning in 1492, he projected and directed construction of the defense walls around the city.

After Ercole's death in 1505, Rossetti served the Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, in which role he was responsible for the creation of many notable palazzi and churches.