SABATINI, Francesco
(b. 1721, Palermo, d. 1797, Madrid)


Italian architect, active in Spain. He studied architecture in Rome. His first contacts with the Spanish monarchy was when he participated in the construction of the Palace of Caserta for the King of Naples and Duke of Parma and Tuscany, Charles VII, the future King Charles III of Spain. When he was raised to the Spanish throne, he called Sabatini to Madrid in 1760, where he was positioned above the most outstanding Spanish architects of the time. He was appointed as Great Master of Royal Works, with the rank of lieutenant colonel at the Engineers Corps, simultaneously designated also as an honorary academician of the Academia Real de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.

Sabatini's works are all encompassed within the Neoclassical tradition, but he was not inspired fundamentally by ancient Greece and Rome, but by Italian Renaissance architecture.

His talent as an architect and the king's support resulted in many commissions and professional recognition. He was promoted to lieutenant general of the Engineers Corps, was granted the degree of Knight of the Order of Santiago, and had direct access to the innermost royal circle after his designation as gentilhombre de camara (Gentleman of the Royal Chamber).

Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid was designed and built by Sabatini. Furthermore, he was responsible for building the Arms Factory of Toledo, the headquarters for the Wallon Guarda in Leganés (presently part of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), a convent in Valladolid (Santa Ana) and another one in Granada (Comendadoras of Santiago) and the well-known Chapel of the Immaculate in the Cathedral of Osma.