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date: 20 August 2019

Amato, Giacomolocked

(b Palermo, 1643; d Palermo, 1732).

Extract

(b Palermo, 1643; d Palermo, 1732).

Italian architect. He was called to Rome in the 1670s by his Order, the Padri Ministri degl’Infermi, to work first as an assistant to Carlo Bizzaccheri then as supervisor on the enlargement of the convent of the Crociferi. Returning to Palermo by 1685, he produced work that showed Roman influences. His studies for the façade of the monumental church of La Pietà (1678–1723), with which he became associated in the late 1680s, fuse elements from S Andrea della Valle and Girolamo Rainaldi’s S Maria in Campitelli, both in Rome. While subduing the horizontal plasticity of the Roman façades, however, Amato intensified the vertical stress of his own: his free-standing superimposed columns are placed at the sides like a partially drawn-back screen, an effect enhanced by his use of the contrasting colours of tufa and Billiemi limestone. The façade’s circular window, a clear medieval reference, is characteristically Sicilian and distinguishes the building from contemporary Roman design. The interior decoration (1690s) is striking for its use of vernacular forms and such gilded metalwork as the nun’s grille at the west end, which rises like an elaborate fan into the grand barrel vault. The discrepancy between the broad lower and narrow upper storeys of S Teresa alla Kalsa (...

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