Viviano Codazzi

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Capriccio con un arco e scena di genere (Fondazione Cariplo)

Viviano Codazzi (c. 1606–1670) was an Italian painter of quadratura (fictive architectural decoration), architectural paintings, capricci and ruin pieces, and some vedute during the Baroque period. He was active in Naples and Rome. He is also known in older sources as Viviano Codagora or il Codagora.


Born in Valsassina near Bergamo, but his father relocated to Rome by 27 March 1605. By 1633, Viviano had reached Naples, where he worked on commissions at the Certosa di San Martino resulting from his connections with his fellow Bergamasque Cosimo Fanzago. A major commission in Naples was a series of four large canvases representing ancient Roman scenes (including one depicting gladiatorial combats in the Colosseum) for the Buen Retiro in Madrid, with figures by Domenico Gargiulo. Codazzi was essentially a painter of architecture, and the figures are always by others. In Naples his principal collaborator for the figures was Gargiulo. After relocating to Rome following the revolt of Masaniello in 1647, he collaborated with painters from the circle of Dutch painters active in Rome, known as Bamboccianti, especially Michelangelo Cerquozzi and Jan Miel. He also collaborated with Filippo Lauri, Adrien van der Cabel and Vicente Giner during the 1660s. He had several close followers, including Ascanio Luciano and Andrea di Michele in Naples, his son Niccolò Codazzi (1642–1693), Vicente Giner (who settled in Spain), and Domenico Roberti.

His depiction of St. Peters Basilica in 1636[1] is an unusual work for him in being a veduta, or topographical view. It was painted in Naples and shows the old entrance to the Vatican palace, destroyed when Bernini's Scala Regia and colonnade were constructed, as well as clock towers (campanili) based on an engraving of a never-executed design by Martino Ferabosco. One of his best known paintings is a depiction of the Revolt of Masaniello in the Piazza del Mercato in Naples, with figures by Cerquozzi, painted for Cardinal Bernardino Spada in 1648 and now in the Galleria Spada in Rome. Most of his paintings are medium-sized paintings of architecture, either ruins, ideal architecture, or capricci, in a landscape setting.

Viviano's son, Nicolo, born in Naples in 1642 and died in Genoa in 1693, was also a painter. Father and son were estranged after 1670.[2]


  • Web Gallery of Art entry
  • David R. Marshall, Viviano and Niccolò Codazzi and the Baroque Architectural Fantasy, Rome, Jandi Sapi, 1993

Other projects[edit]

Media related to Viviano Codazzi at Wikimedia Commons