Barca, Pietro Antonio
- Joseph Connors
(fl Milan, 1588–1639).
Italian engineer and architect . From 1588 he is recorded in the service of Philip II of Spain as a military engineer. His most important commission was for the Palazzo della Giustizia (New Prison; c. 1570–after 1624) in Milan, its varied massing and powerful entrance portal proclaiming Spanish hegemony over Milan. In 1605 Barca opened up a new street between the prisons and the Palazzo di Corte (Governor’s Palace) ‘so that the way from justice to clemency should be short and easy’. The other major design attributed to Barca is the façade of Sant’Angelo in Milan, begun c. 1600.
Barca was an active polemicist against the ideas and influence of the rising generation of Milanese architects. In 1607 he disputed with Francesco Maria Ricchini over the issue of pedestals for the columns on the proposed façade of Milan Cathedral. Barca’s report is interesting for the wide knowledge of Classical architecture it reveals and for the combination of a negative attitude to the Gothic style of the cathedral and an admiration for its grandeur. He lost the dispute to Ricchini, and although he failed the younger man in the examination for military architect in ...