Vittone Visitation Shrine

Vittone Visitation Shrine
Vittone Visitation Shrine

This church located in the small town of Valinotto is next to the church of Santa Clara, one of the great works of the Italian architect Bernardo Vittone(1700 – 1770), an artist who somehow represents the evolution of architecture between baroque forms, rococo and the incipient neoclassical art.

Sanctuary of the Vittone Visitation

Vittone Visitation Shrine

In the Visitation Sanctuary he resorts to a central plan, the clearest model of which would be the temple of San Ivo de la Sapienza in Borromini. That is, part of a hexagon to which several chapels open alternately.

These are concave, round or semicircular one-story chapels. These are the deepest, but there are also convex ones, which have two heights and are shorter, since they are cut to introduce a low niche and an upper gallery, called a coretti.

And in addition to the chapels, there is the altar that has a screen of columns at its entrance.

The influence of Borromini is clear, but it is also very important that of another of the great architects of the Italian Baroque, Guarino Guarini, from which it takes the superposition of spaces in height. Although, he does not do it with a theatrical spirit of trying to surprise the viewer, but with the intention of giving unity to the whole thanks to the light that enters through thedifferent spans and at different heights.

A concept of light that implies that the triple vault that covers the sanctuary opens through different openings. In this way, the set of vaults, drums and windows are bathed in light, in such a way that it manages to give the ceiling a heavenly aspect.

As is customary at this time in architecture, Vittone reveals what we could call the skeleton of the building, its structural elements converted at the same time into part of the ornamentation. For this reason we see pillars without entablature, free-standing arches in each chapel and other arches converted into ribs of the vault.

The decorative and architectural concept of the painting is also important, done gradually with great importance of pastel tones and whites.

However, there is a clear duality between what is inside and outside, since the external forms, although dynamic, have a relatively simple reading to understand the vertical development of the work. However, the concept of the interior is fully rococo, since it has to be defined as a temple that is above all exuberant and highly ornately decorated.

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