SANFELICE, Ferdinando
(b. 1675, Napoli, d. 1748, Napoli)

Biography

Italian architect and painter. He was one of the principal architects in Naples in the first half of the 18th century. He was a student of Francesco Solimena.

Sanfelice was known primarily for temporary displays and his secular architecture. The former involved displays such as those set up for royal visits and births as well as for religious celebrations; the latter included a large number of family dwellings in Naples, including his own Palazzo Sanfelice, built between 1723 and 1728, and the Palazzo Serra di Cassano, finished around 1738.

His work in ecclesiastical architecture began in 1701 (Santa Maria delle Periclitanti at Pontecorvo, to be followed by innumerable additions, alterations, and renovations in Naples and smaller towns (San Lorenzo Maggiore, San Giovanni a Carbonara, and the church of the Nunziatella at the Nunziatella military academy.)

Most notable in Sanfelice's architecture are the staircases; rather than being incidental features set off to the side of a courtyard, he gave them central and prominent positions so that they became important architectural features in their own right, often as double staircases.