Domenico Fontana

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Domenico Fontana (Portrait of Federico Zuccari )
Fontana's signature on the base of the Lateran obelisk: Knight Domenico Fontana, architect, built it

Domenico Fontana (* 1543 in Melide ; † 28. June 1607 in Naples ) in was Italy active architect , painter and sculptor of Mannerism in the late Renaissance from what is now Canton Ticino ( Switzerland ).


Fontana came to Rome in 1563 to study architecture. In 1576 he built the Villa Sforzesca for Cardinal Alessandro Sforza in Castell'Azzara . He gained the trust of Cardinal Montalto, who later became Pope Sixtus V , who commissioned him to build the Cappella del Presepio in Santa Maria Maggiore in 1584 . Sixtus V. appointed him Architettore principale . He also built the Palazzo Montalto for Montalto and, after Montalto's election, became Pope Architect of St. Peter's Basilica . In this role he placed the lantern on the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Some changes to the Lateran also date from this time . He built the vestibule of the north transept, which is modeled on the stage structure of the ancient theater.

One of Fontana's best-known achievements in 1586 was the laying down and then later the erection of the obelisk on St. Peter's Square . Fontana emerged as the winner of a competition in which around 500 architects and engineers took part. The engineering approach of Fontana was remarkable, about which he reported in his book "Della trasportatione dell'obelisco Vaticano et delle fabriche di Nostro Signore Papa Sisto V" (Rome, 1590). As a result, he also erected the obelisks on the Piazza del Popolo , the Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano.

After the death of his patron Sixtus V, he worked in the service of his successor Clement VIII until 1592. After allegations of embezzlement of public funds and his dismissal, Fontana went to Naples . There he built the Palazzo Reale, among other things . In 1592 he discovered inscriptions during canal construction work, but nobody was interested in them. 150 years later it turned out that Fontana had discovered Pompeii .

After his death in 1607 Domenico Fontana was buried in the church of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi in Naples.


The most important works in Rome include:



Web links

Commons : Domenico Fontana  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Felicia Rotundo, Bruno Santi: Castell'Azzara. In: Bruno Santi: Guida Storico-Artistica alla Maremma. Nuova Immagine Edizioni, Siena 1995, ISBN 88-7145-093-0 .
  2. Della trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano et delle Fabriche di Nostro Signore Papa Sisto V
  3. Domenico Fontana (Italian) at