San Lorenzo--page 2 (of two pages)

Guarino Guarini
begun 1668; finished 1687

An elaborate entablature circles the eight-sided structure above the arches. A variation of Palladian windows alternates with the pendentives. Above the pendentives there is a gallery with unique oval windows.

The unique dome


The unusual molding around the oval windows and the decorative designs on the ribs


The entablature

Here the entablature is fragmented with both curved and straight sections. Note the angel heads under the brackets. Like Borromini, another innovative Baroque architect, Guarini designs the unstable, the restless, the unique rather than relying on the orderly forms preferred by Renaissance architects.

The octagonal dome supported by eight transverse ribs

Where these ribs intersect, a scalloped eight-sided dome rises.
Rudolf Wittkower has this to say about Guarini's architecture: "But his domes are more than structural freaks. They seem the result of a deep-rooted urge to replace the consistent sphere of the ancient dome, the symbol of a finite dome of heaven, by the diaphanous dome with its mysterious suggestion of infinity....The extent of surprise, the entirely unexpected, the seemingly illogical, the reversal of accustomed values, the deliberate contradictions in the elevation, the interpenetration of different spatial units, the breaking up of the coherent wall boundary with the resulting difficulty of orientation--all this my be regarded as serving one and the same purpose" (413).

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Work Cited:
Rudolf Wittkower. Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750. (The Pelican History of Art). Third Revised Edition, 1973.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.