ARCHITECT, Portuguese
(active from 1717 in Mafra)

Interior view

begun 1717
Monastery, Mafra

In Portugal, under Joao V, imitation of Rome assumed ludicrous proportions. During his reign, from 1707 until 1750, he fantasized that he could build a second Rome, or rather a second Vatican, on the banks of Tejo. His envoys were to supply him with models and plans of all the Roman monuments. His building projects, which almost all remained uncompleted, ruined this wealthy country. An outstanding example of his ambitions in this area was the monastery and palace of Mafra, a complex larger than El Escorial and a synthesis of St. Peter's, S. Ignazio, and Bernini's Palazzo di Montecitorio in form. Begun in 1717, the exterior was not completed until the 1840s and it was never inhabited. The director of the project was the southern German architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig (1670-1752), a second-rate designer who worked on Roman models.

The photo shows the church narthex.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.