Architect Domenico Fontana: in the mazes of authorship

  • Auksė Kaladžinskaitė
Keywords: architect, Domenico Fontana, Fontana architect family, Italians, Grodno, Vilnius, Warsaw, Wigry, Trakai Voivodeship, Grodno Powiat, authorship


The article is dedicated to the discussion of the biography of Italian-born architect Domenico Fontana (b. circa 1680 – d. before 1755) and his professional activities in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The publication presents data about his origins and the circumstances of his arrival in the GDL. The sources affirming his activity in the Grodno Powiat and Vilnius are analysed. Historical sources confirm that in 1726 Domenico Fontana was building a refectory in a monastery for the Jesuits of Grodno (he did not fulfil his obligations and did not complete his work) and served as an expert upon request by Paulius Karolis Sanguška: evaluated the in-progress construction project of the residence and designed and built the Palace of Mykolas Kazimieras Radvila Žuvelė in 1739 (the building has not survived). Based on the stylistic characteristics of the sole surviving object he designed and built in 1720–1736, the Grodno Basilian Church, the objects are analysed to whose construction he could have contributed according to indirect attestations in the sources. It is concluded that it is still difficult to characterise Domenico Fontana’s individual style based on the known yet insufficient facts about his activities. In order to establish Fontana’s stylistic manner, an analysis of only the Grodno Basilian Church is not sufficient. Similarly reserved, laconic, and ascetic forms of Baroque were gaining prominence as a result of the architect Tylman van Gameren’s popularity in Warsaw at the time. Directions for further research are indicated.
Visual Art