By Alexis Culotta 

Baroque architect, sculptor, and marble master Dionisio Lazzari died 9 August 1689 in Naples. Born in that same city in 1617, Lazzari was the son of Jacopo, or Giacomo, Lazzari, who afforded the young Dionisio his first training as a sculptor. He worked side-by-side with his father on several projects from 1637, but his father’s death in 1640 allowed Dionisio to ascend to his own artistic and architectural acclaim. 

The early 1640s saw Lazzari completing projects left unfinished by his father, such as work for the Church of Santa Maria della Sapienza (most likely under the guidance of sculptor Cosimo Fanzago), but by the following decade Lazzari and his workshop were undertaking increasingly substantial commissions. As his skill progressed, Lazzari’s designs in marble became increasingly elaborate and fantastical. Resulting was a bevy of projects, including chapels in the Church of San Marcellino (1667) and Santa Maria Donnaregina Nuova (1669), respectively, as well as altars for churches such as Santissimo Marcellino e Festo (1666).

Lazzari devoted his final full decade of production mainly to architectural projects, but his final commissions just prior to his demise witnessed the revival of his masterful marble working skills, with designs for refectory door at San Gregorio Armeno (1682). His final commission was for restoration work within the church and monastery of San Gaudioso, but his death in 1689 precluded his completion of this project. 

Further Reading: 

Massimiliano Savorra, “Lazzari, Dionisio.” Treccani Dizionario Biografico. 

Santa Maria della Sapienza (facade), Naples. Begun 1640. 

Firrao Chapel (stonework), San Paolo Maggiore, Naples. 1642.

Chiesa dei Gerolamini, (design of facade and inner courtyard), 1643-1652 (image courtesy of

Apse with view of main altar including stonework and sculpture by Lazzari. Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco, Naples. 1669 (image courtesy of MuseinCampania). 

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