By Anne Leader

Italian architect Ferdinando Sanfelice died on 2 April 1748 in his hometown of Naples, where he rose to become one of the city’s leading architects. His clever use of local materials like tufa and piperno (a black, volcanic stone) and imaginative juxtapositions of motifs resulted in a distinctive architectural style. His taste for invention has led to comparisons to Francesco Borromini and Filippo Juvarra.

Sanfelice’s biography follows a favorite storyline in the history of art, as he was born into a noble family but abandoned his parents’ expectations that he attend law school to study painting and architecture with Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) instead. After painting some now-lost altarpieces for San Carlo all’Arena in Naples, Sanfelice went on to receive numerous ecclesiastical and secular commissions in the city and throughout southern Italy.

Reference: Daniela Campanelli. “Sanfelice, Ferdinando.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Palazzo Sanfelice, Naples

Campanile dell’Annunziata, Salerno

San Gennaro a Capodimonte, Naples

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