(d. 1552, Praha)


Italian sculptor and architect, born in Melide, Ticino, active in Bohemia. He was commissioned by Ferdinand I, King of Bohemia (Holy Roman Emperor, 1556-1564), to design the Summer Palace (Belvedere) in the formal gardens of Hradcany Castle and prepared a model of it in Genoa in 1537. The Belvedere was the most important Renaissance building of its time in Central Europe. The expressive and Mannerist traits of this building are evidence against the identification of Paolo Stella with another sculptor known as Paolo Stella Milanese, who in 1525-29 created important works in Venice and Padua.

Stella also superintended the construction of royal castles in the area around Prague; in 1545 he designed a part of the castle at Podebrady and in 1548 the west wing of the castle at Brandýs, with an arcaded ground floor. He probably also designed the first (east) wing of Florian Griesbeck von Griesbach's palace at Nelahozeves, again with an arcaded ground floor and windows like those of the Belvedere. In 1548 he proposed a scheme for a cycle of frescoes of the rulers of Bohemia, to be created in the Vladislav Hall at Hradcany Castle (not executed); his design for the frieze with the monogram F and with the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece, of which Ferdinand was Grand Master, is preserved.