Alessi, Galeazzo

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Alessi, Galeazzo (1512–72). Born in Perugia and trained in Rome (where he was influenced by Michelangelo), he became the leading mid-C16 architect in Genoa and Milan. His first important building was Santa Maria Assunta in Carignano, Genoa (1549–1603): it is a Greek cross on plan within a square, with a projecting apse and a dome surrounded by four smaller domes, clearly based on Bramante's scheme for San Pietro in Rome. His domestic architecture, especially the Villa Cambiaso of 1548, has elements derived from the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, but some of the exterior elevational treatment is very rich, with open-topped pediments and Michelangeloesque window-surrounds. In 1550 the Doge of Genoa ordered the construction of the Strada Nuova (1558–70), which was laid out by Alessi, and lined with palaces: it was the first planned street of independent blocks of the period, each designed by a different architect, but with an overall control of certain architectural features, heights, and scale to ensure a degree of harmony. These palaces became internationally known after the publication of Peter Paul Rubens's (1577–1640) Palazzi di Genova (1622–52). Alessi's enormous Palazzo Marino (1557) in Milan was richly treated on its elevations, and its cortile was a fine example of Mannerist decoration. His Churches of Santi Barnaba e Paolo (1561) and Santa Maria presso San Celso (1568), both in Milan, deserve note, the former for the distinct divisions between nave, presbytery, and choir, and the latter for its size and decorations, completed by Martino Bassi after Alessi's death.


Alessi (1974);
N. Brown (1980);
Rott (2003);
Jane Turner (1996)