FONTANA, Dt MINIC, a distinguished architect, horn in 1513. at a village cm the lake of Como. Having acquit., d the elements of co•metry. he went to where his eld •r brother John was a stmlent in architecture. Here he applied himself most dillgently to the study of the works of antiquity, and at length ?? as et it ed by Cardinal Montalto. afterwards Pope Sextus V. M•malto had already begun to display the magnificence of his character, by undertaking the construetion of the grand chapel of the Nlancer, in the church of St. Maria Maggiore. The pope, Gregory XIII.. jealous or the munificence of his cardinal, took from him the means or his designs, and thus put a stop to the works. Fontana, with a spirit worthy of a great man, went on with the building at his own expense, which so gratified the cardinal, that when he was raised to the pontifical chair, he appointed Fontana to be his ar •itect. The chapel palace were finished in a splendid style ; but this was a small part of the designs projected by Sextus. Besides comph•ting the dome of St. Peter's, he resolved to contribute to its grandeur, by con veying to the front of its piazza the obelisk, of a single piece of Egyptian granite, which had formerly decorated the Circus or Nero.
design had been emnemplated by some of the pre decessors, or Sextus, but none had act•ally attempted it. Sextus summoned and engineers from all parts, to eonsalt np nt the best means of ell'ecting his purpo-e: Fon tam's plan obtained the preference, and he was able tot xe cute what he had a Ivanced in theory. Tnis was roc:it-ded as the m 1st splendid exploit of the age ; and rewards and danm i•s of' the most tnanificent kind were bestowed on Fontana and his h•irs. He NV is afterwards emplo% ed in raising other obelisks, am] in the embellishment of the p: in eliit streets of Rome. He built the. Vatican library. twit hail begun to make considerable add tints to that Have; but they were interrupted by the death or Sex us. or Vim_ hurt, great works was the conducting or water to Nome, the distance I if fifteen miles, in an ague lu.•t supported on area les. The successor or Sextus, Clem mt VIII., was pre judiced acainst the papal architect, and dismiss •d him ; but his reputation caused inn to be engaged by the viceroy of Naples as architect to the king. He acett•d:ngly removed to Naples, in 1592, where lie executed many works of con sequence. His last efforts were directed to a new harbour at Naples, but this he did not live to complete. 1 le died at Naples in 1607, in his sixty-fourth year.
FOO I', (Saxon) a measure, either lineal, superb •ial, or solid. The lineal or long foot is supposed to he the length
of the font of a in-m. and consists of twelve equal pat is called inches ; an inch being equal to three barleyeorns.
Thus the E standard foot (31 Edw. ) is lineal English in dies. = 36 barleyeorns. = 16 dig-Is. = 4 palms, = hands. = = 11 spans, = 1,3131 links = .93306feet of Prance, = .3047 metres of France.
Georn•tricians divide the fu it into 10 di./its.anl the digit into 10 lines, &c.
The French divide their foot, as we do, into 1-2 inches ; and the inch into I'2 lines. See The foot square is the same measure, both in length and breadth, containing 144 square or superficial incites, 2.2956S4 square links ; an I the glazier's foot in Scotland is = square Scottish inches.
The cubic, or solid rout, is the same treasure in all the three dimensions, containing 1728 cubic inches English =6.128 ale gallons=3.478309 cubic links=.0283 cubic metres or stores of France.
The foot is of different lengths in different countries. The Paris royal foot exceeds the English by nine lines and a half; the ancient Roman foot of the Capitol consisted of finir palms, equal to eleven inches and seven-tenths English; the Rhinland, or Leyden foot, by which the northern nations go, is to the Roman foot as 950 to 1,000. The portions of the principal feet of several nations, compared with the English and French, are here subjoined.
The English foot being divided into one thousand parts, or into twelve lines, the other feet will be as follow: Mr. Rapier, who industriously collected a variety of authorities relating to the measure of the old Roman foot, determined the mean to he nearly 968 thousandth parts Of the London foot. And by an examination of the ancient Roman buildings in Desgodetii, Edifices An agues de Rome, Paris, 1682, he concluded that the Roman foot, betlire the reign of Titus, exceeded 970 parts in 1000 of the London foot ; and in the reigns of Severus and Diocletian fell short of 965.
The Paris foot being supposed to contain 1440 parts, the rest will he as follow :— In Scotland, this measure of length, though consisting of twelve inches, exceed; the English fi:ot, so that 135 of the former is equal to 186 of the latter. Accordingly the Scot. tish foot = 12 Scottish inches = 12 English inches, according to some, and Eng inches. according to others. The glazier's foot in Scotland = S Scottish inches.
For a farther account of the foot, ancient and modern, and its proportions in different countries. See MEASURE.