The Corinthian capital variant Guarini especially designed for the major order of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin serves as an example of the architect's concern with projecting meaning through architectural form. Employing construction documents from the Archivio di Stato in Turin, this study reconstructs the production history of the famous gilt-bronze "Passion capitals" of the chapel rotunda. The analysis contextualizes this unusual design, showing how Guarini responded inventively to the religious and political needs of the commission to provide an appropriately ornamented ambience for promoting the veneration of one of the central Passion relics of Christendom. Private devotional practices, Savoyard dynastic aspirations, and a moralized floral exotic all played significant roles in the creation of the new capital type as part of the larger program of the chapel. The view of Guarini that emerges from this investigation proves more tied to the prevalent expectations of seicento religiosity, patronage, and architectural culture than has often been allowed.
- Copyright 1995 The Society of Architectural Historians