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Cosimo Fanzago (1591–1678) was an Italian architect and sculptor, generally considered the greatest such artist of the Baroque period in Naples, Italy.


Fanzago was born in Clusone (current Province of Bergamo) in a family of bronze-casters and architects. In 1608, after a short stay in Chieti, he moved to Naples. Here (according to what he wrote in 1612) he trained as a marble sculptor (maestro di scultura di marmo) and mason under the Tuscan sculptor Angelo Landi. His first important work was the sepulchre of Mario Carafa, a relative of Cardinal Carafa. His architectural debut was the design of San Giuseppe dei Vecchi a S. Potito (completed 1669).

According to an essay about Fanzago's life by count Fogaccia, in Naples he obtained the support of the Benedictines, the Duke of Medina, Prince Caracciolo and the Carthusians, and soon opened a workshop of his own.

Apparently involved in Masaniello's revolt, Fanzago was sentenced to death and had to flee to Rome where he worked for decade. He returned to Naples and designed the church of Santa Maria Egiziaca a Pizzofalcone (1651–1717) and Santa Teresa a Chiaia. His last great church was Santa Maria Maggiore, built between 1653 and 1675. The church of Santa Maria Egiziaca displays a Greek cross plan, and resembles a hybrid of contemporary Baroque masterpieces by Bernini (dome resembles Sant' Andrea al Quirinale) and Borromini (the plan resembles Sant'Agnese).[1]

Fanzago died at an age of 87 years. One of his pupils was Lorenzo Vaccaro.
Chiesa di San Martino: nave.

Main works in Naples

His works in Naples include:

* the Guglia di San Gennaro, a votive spire in honor of the patron saint of Naples. It was in imitation of the large portable structures common in religious processions and was the model for two other prominent spires, which he helped plan (at Piazza del Gesù Nuovo and Piazza S. Domenico Maggiore). It was a so-called "plague column"; that is, a spire built in thanks for having been spared from the recent epidemic;

* extensive work on the Certosa di San Martino, including the spectacular central courtyard with its large portals and busts of Carthusian saints.

* the facades or facade details of numerous churches, chapels, and civic buildings, including Santa Maria degli Angeli (near the Botanical Gardens), anonymous works within the Cathedral of Naples, the Chiesa dell'Ascensione a Chiaia (1622); the facade of Santa Maria della Sapienza (1638–41); the bronze gate of the chapel of the royal treasury; and the original design for church of San Francesco Saverio (now San Ferdinando, across the square from the Royal Palace);

* The Cacace Chapel and Chapel of Saint Anthony in San Lorenzo Maggiore.

* altars within churches, such as in Santa Maria la Nova, Saints Severino and Sossio, Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, and the church of San Pietro a Maiella (the site of the music conservatory);

* grandiose public fountains, including the Gigante near Santa Lucia and the Sebeto fountain at Mergellina;

* a number of works outside of Naples, including within the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino and San Nicola in Venice;


1. ^ R. Wittkower p 303-4.

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