Church of San Lorenzo, Turin
|Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo|
|Chiesa di San Lorenzo|
San Lorenzo, Turin
|Diocese||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Turin|
The Duke Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy was one of the leaders of the Habsburg armies of his cousin Phillip II of Spain; they decisively defeated the French armies in the Battle of Saint-Quentin in Northern France on August 10, 1557. The battle took place on the day of St Lawrence (San Lorenzo), and helped to shape the outcome of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis; in which, the Savoy, including Turin, was returned to the rule of the mercenary Duke. This saint’s day for this battle also gave name and shape to Phillip’s palace of El Escorial. Emmanuel Philibert on his return to Turin in 1562, renovated the old ducal chapel of Santa Maria ad Presepae (still present near the entrance), and created this church dedicated St. Lawrence. Construction of the church we see today began in 1634.
The architect Guarino Guarini was a great innovator in Baroque principles first developed by the great Roman Baroque architect Francesco Borromini, in particular the play with optical effects and organic "deconstruction" of the classical orders and principles of column and entablature. However, in San Lorenzo Guarini took these further. The ground plan is a kind of square which becomes an octagon at the level of the entablatures above the columns only to change again to become a Greek cross at the level of the pendentives of the vaults. Again, the base of the dome is circular in plan yet the lantern above it octagonal. The dome itself is supported by eight ribs forming a lattice similar to those found in mosques and Romanesque churches in Spain. To this superposition of - by the standards of convention - contradictory central plans is added an elliptical choir. The high altar, separated from the nave by a convex and concave archway receives natural light from a hdden dome, devices drawn from the other key Roman Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini.