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Servandoni, Giovanni Niccolò Geronimo

Servandoni, Giovanni Niccolò Geronimo (1695–1766). Florentine architect and painter, he trained under Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1691–1765), the pre-eminent C18 painter of real and imaginary views of Rome. He settled in Paris in 1724, where he designed stage-sets, firework-displays, and fêtes, and was also in demand for these skills in a number of European cities, including London, where he designed the fireworks in Green Park to celebrate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1749). In 1732 he won the competition to design the west front of the Church of St-Sulpice, Paris, based on an earlier project by Gilles-Marie Oppenord. This colonnaded façade of two superimposed Orders (perhaps influenced by the west front of St Paul's Cathedral in London) was nobler and more severe than anything contemporary built in France, and was recognized at the time as having affinities with the Antique. It was certainly an early example of the Neo-Classical reaction against Rococo. He designed numerous altars and other fittings in various churches, and the interior of the sculpture-gallery at Brandenburg House, Hammersmith, London (c.1751—demolished—but illustrated in Vitruvius Britannicus, iv (1767), 28–9). His pupils included Chalgrin and de Wailly.

Bibliography

Colvin (1995);
Hautecœur (1952);
Heybrock (1970);
RUA, xii (1860–1), 115–18;
Rykwert (1980)

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