BONSIGNORE, Ferdinando
(b. 1760, Torino, d. 1843, Torino)

Exterior view

Gran Madre di Dio, Turin

The early 19th century had a predilection for the Roman Pantheon as a model for church building. The combination of a rotunda and a temple façade managed to satisfy the desire for both stereometric clarity and classical grandeur. Moreover, with its monumental look it was excellent for including in showpiece public urban planning settings. An impressive example for the townscape effectiveness of such "pantheons" is the Chiesa di Gran Madre di Dio in Turin.

The church was built in 1818 on a podium n the occasion of the return of Victor Emanuel I of Savoy. It was based on plans by Rome-trained architect Ferdinando Bonsignore, who used the church as an effective focal point for the Via Po from the direction of the palace square. Notable features borrowed from the Pantheon include a shallow calotte, stepped at the bottom, and a tall attic floor behind the pediment.Tghese are supplemented by further classical motifs such as the frieze of garlands on the rotunda, borrowed from the tomb of Caecilia Metella on the Via Appia in Rome.

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