0116 The Sicilian Architect Tommaso Maria Napoli and the Baroque Cathedral of Dubrovnik
The design of the Dubrovnik Cathedral (1671-1713) – a monumental three-nave basilica with a dome over the crossing – was commissioned, thanks to Abbot Stjepan Gradić, from the Roman architect Andrea Bufalini. Among the leaders of construction, which lasted for over four decades, the Sicilian architect Tommaso Maria Napoli stands out. During his nine-year stay in Dubrovnik (1689-98) he was the only one who engaged in radical changes in the design. Through his changes to the vaulting and lighting of the main nave and sanctuary, as well as the introduction of terraces above the side chapels, he gave the building better proportions, and moreover he balanced its volume by enriching the Cathedral with the plastic expressiveness characteristic of Sicilian architecture at that time. Napoli was the only architect involved in the construction of the Dubrovnik Cathedral who had an international reputation, from his native Sicily, to Naples, Rome, and the Habsburg Monarchy. This makes his inventive corrections to Bufalini's design even more significant.
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