L'architetto Vincenzo Ruffo e la chiesa di Santa Chiara a Mola di Bari
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 73-74, 2021
The architect Vincenzo Ruffo and the church of Santa Chiara in Mola di Bari
This contribution aims to prepare the only autograph work of the Apulian architect Ruffo, a pupil of Luigi Vanvitelli and his collaborator in the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. The research, thanks to the recent acquisitions of documents, sheds light on the expert workers wanted by Ruffo especially in the finishing phase in order to have a magnificence worthy of a palace. In fact, its reference model, on a smaller scale, is the Palatine Chapel of Caserta. The archive sources are the “convention”, stipulated between the “Clarisse” sisters of the monastery of Mola di Bari and the plasterer Nicola Preziosi and the marble worker Andrea Scala; two of the most prestigious artists able to express elegance, refinement and neoclassical style to the maximum, coming from the capital of the kingdom, Naples. On the other hand, the document intends to denounce the negligence carried out over the following centuries in terms of protection and conservation of the original state. The small church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and designed by the architect Ruffo. In particular, it highlights the interior transformation of the ceiling cap with the loss of the decorations during the 1830s. And above all in the façade the modification of the formal aspect, where the architectural order and the same body of the building advance with respect to the prospect of the existing monastery. Instead of maintaining, as documented by the manuscripts, the sobriety of the surfaces plastered with marbled white stucco, in imitation of the stone. It is currently spiked, totally abraded, and with the “face view” the masonry apparatus of the structures, in a certain way “showing the exposed and skinless muscles”.