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Andrea Palladio

Andrea Palladio

The buildings of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) were the most refined of the Renaissance period. Through them and his book on architectural theory he became the most influential architect in the history of Western art.

Roman architecture of the early 16th century had developed a mature classicism in the work of Donato Bramante and his followers. With the sack of Rome in 1527 young architects, such as Michele Sanmicheli and Jacopo Sansovino, brought the style to northern Italy. Andrea Palladio with further study of ancient Roman architecture, refined the classical mode to produce an elegant architecture befitting the opulent culture of the Veneto in the third quarter of the century. The aristocratic, mercantile society of Venice desired a splendid and sumptuous art to express pride in its accomplishments.

Andrea di Pietro dalla Gondola, called Andrea Palladio, was born in Padua on Nov. 30, 1508. In 1521 he was apprenticed for 6 years to a local stonecutter; 3 years later he broke the contract and moved to Vicenza, where he was immediately enrolled in the guild of masons and stonecutters. His first opportunity came about 1538 while he was working as a stone carver on the reconstruction of the Villa Cricoli, near Vicenza, owned by the local humanist Giangiorgio Trissino, who had a classical school for young Vicenzan nobility. Trissino recognized Andrea's ability and took him into his home and educated him. Trissino gave Andrea his humanist name Palladio as a reference to the wisdom of the Greek goddess Pallas Athene.

Early Architecture

Probably Palladio's first independent design was the Villa Godi (ca. 1538-1542) at Lonedo. Its simplified, stripped-down style reveals very little influence of ancient architecture, but its emphasis on clean-cut cubical masses foreshadows his mature style. The Casa Civena (1540-1546) in Vicenza, with its paired Corinthian pilasters above the ground-floor arcade, is more in the Roman High Renaissance manner, perhaps inspired by the publications of Sebastiano Serlio.

In 1541 Trissino took Palladio to Rome to study the ancient monuments. At this time Palladio began a magnificent series of drawings of ancient buildings. The incomplete Palazzo Thiene (commissioned 1542, constructed ca. 1545-1550) in Vicenza is in the style of Giulio Romano, particularly in its heavy rustication of the ground floor and the massive stone blocks superimposed on the window frames of the main story. As Giulio Romano was in Vicenza in 1542, it is possible that he contributed to the design, since Palladio was still designated as a mason in the contract. The grandiose project, never completed, for the Villa Thiene (before 1550) at Quinto was influenced by Palladio's study of ancient Roman sanctuaries and baths. The only completed pavilion has a temple front facade, his first use of a temple front to decorate a villa, which became a hallmark of his style.

For many years the city of Vicenza had been considering how to refurbish its Gothic law court, the Palazzo della Ragione. In 1546 Palladio's project to surround the old building with loggias was approved, and he was commissioned to erect one bay in wood as a model. In 1547 and 1549 Palladio made further trips to Rome. In 1549 he began to construct two superimposed, arcaded loggias around the Palazzo della Ragione (completed 1617), known ever since as the Basilica Palladiana. Each bay of the loggias is composed of an arch flanked by lintels supported by columns. The motif of the arch flanked by lintels, although it was first used by Bramante and was popularized in Serlio's book, has been called in English the Palladian motif since Palladio used it on the Basilica.

Mature Style

Palladio created on the mainland around Venice a magnificent series of villas for the Venetian and Vicenzan nobility. The most renowned is the Villa Capra, or the Rotonda (1550-1551, with later revisions), near Vicenza. It is a simplified, cubelike mass capped by a dome over the central, round salon and has identical temple front porches on the four sides of the block. The absolute symmetry of the design was unusual in Palladian villas; the architect explained that it permitted equal views over the countryside around the hill on which the villa sits.

The city of Vicenza was almost completely rebuilt with edifices after Palladio's designs. The Palazzo Chiericati (now the Museo Civico) is a two-story structure facing on the square with a continuous Doric colonnade on the ground floor after the idea of an ancient Roman forum; the walled and fenestrated central section of the upper floor is flanked by Ionic colonnades. The facade of the Palazzo Iseppo Porto (ca. 1550-1552) is based on Bramante's Palazzo Caprini in Rome, but the plan is Palladio's version of an ancient Roman house with an entrance atrium and a large peristyle, or court, on the central axis behind the building block.

In 1554 Palladio made his last trip to Rome and in the same year published a fine guidebook to the antiquities of Rome, Le antichità di Roma. During the next year a group of Vicenzans, including Palladio, founded the Accademia Olimpica for the furthering of arts and sciences. In 1556 Daniele Barbaro, a Venetian humanist, published a commentary on the architectural treatise of the ancient Roman writer Vitruvius for which Palladio made the illustrations. At the same time Palladio designed for Barbaro and his brother at Maser (ca. 1555-1559) one of the loveliest of all villas. The Villa Barbaro (now Volpi) is set into a gentle hillside. The central, two-storied casino with a temple front of Ionic half-columns and pediment is flanked by single-story arcades connecting it to the service buildings, for the villa also served as a farm. In the 16th century the nobility of the Veneto attempted to improve the agricultural productivity of the land, and their villas served as residences during the periods when they supervised the farming.

Palladio's first architecture in the city of Venice was the commencement of the monastery of S. Giorgio Maggiore, whose refectory he completed (1560-1562). This was followed by the church of S. Giorgio Maggiore (1565-1610), which has a basilical plan with apsidal transept arms and a deep choir. The facade (designed 1565, executed 1607-1610), with its temple front on four giant half columns flanked by two half temple fronts on smaller pilasters, is Palladio's solution to the translation of a Christian church design into the classical mode. He applied a similar facade to the older church of S. Francesco della Vigna (ca. 1565). The Palazzo Valmarana (1565-1566) in Vicenza uses giant Corinthian pilasters, except at the ends, to emphasize the planar aspect of the facade adapted to its urban location.

Late Style

Palladio's treatise on architecture, I quattro libri dell' architettura (1570), consists of four books. The first is devoted to technical questions and the classical orders, the second to domestic architecture, the third to civic architecture, and the fourth to ecclesiastical architecture. It is illustrated by ancient architecture and the works of Bramante and Palladio himself.

The truncated Loggia del Capitaniato (1571-1572) in Vicenza has giant half columns with an arcaded loggia below. In many of its details this design reveals an unclassical spirit. The short side, however, is modeled on an ancient triumphal arch and commemorates the victory of Lepanto in October 1571, which occurred while the loggia was being executed. As the chief architect of Venice, Palladio designed the festival triumphal arch and the decorations to welcome the entry of King Henry III of France to Venice in July 1574.

To fulfill a vow of salvation from the disastrous plague of 1575-1576 the Venetian Senate commissioned Palladio to build the Church of the Redentore (1576-1592). Perhaps influenced by the Church of the Gesù in Rome, it is a wide basilica with side chapels and a trilobed crossing with deep choir. The facade, approached by monumental stairs, is a more unified version of his earlier church facades. For the Villa Barbaro at Maser he designed a separate chapel, the Tempietto (1579-1580), modeled on the ancient Roman Pantheon.

Palladio executed a theater, the Teatro Olimpico (1580), in Vicenza for the Accademia Olimpica. Based on the design of an ancient Roman theater, the auditorium is segmental in plan, facing a stage modeled on a Roman scaenae frons. The perspective stage scenery in wood and stucco was added by Vincenzo Scamozzi after Palladio's design. On Aug. 19, 1580, Palladio died in Vicenza.

His Influence

Through his treatise Palladio exerted a dominant influence on architecture for over 2 centuries, particularly in northern Europe. There were two major periods of Palladianism in England. In the first half of the 17th century Inigo Jones converted English architecture to the Italianate Renaissance by introducing Palladio's style, seen best in the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, London, and the Queen's House, Greenwich. The second wave of Palladianism was fostered in the early 18th century by the Earl of Burlington. Palladio's treatise was published in 1715 in an English translation by Giacomo Leoni. American architecture felt the impact in the late 18th and early 19th century, as seen in Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Further Reading

An excellent study of Palladio in English is James S. Ackerman, Palladio (1966). For a discussion of the villas see Ackerman's Palladio's Villas (1967). The fundamental study of Palladio's theory and its relation to his practice is in parts 3 and 4 in Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949; 3d ed. rev. 1962). The Centro Internazionale di Storia dell'Architettura in Vicenza is sponsoring in English a Corpus Palladianum of about 30 volumes, the first of which is Camilo Semenzato, The Rotonda of Andrea Palladio (trans. 1968).

Additional Sources

Puppi, Lionello, Andrea Palladio, Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975, 1973. □

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Palladio, Andrea

Palladio, Andrea (1508–80). One of the most gifted, professional, and intelligent of architects working in Italy in C16, whose work provided the models for the Palladian style (Palladianism) and had a profound effect on Western architectural thinking. Palladio's studies of the architectural remains of ancient Rome led him to attempt to emulate its nobility and grandeur. Interpreting the texts of Vitruvius in his architecture and theories, he further explored the potential of symmetry in design, and developed various other concerns of the Renaissance, including the theory of harmonic proportions. He also drew on precedents provided by Italian architects, notably Bramante, Raphael, Giulio Romano, Sanmicheli, and Sansovino.

Born Andrea di Pietro della Gondola in Padua, Palladio began his career as a stonemason, and joined the Guild of Masons and Stonecutters of Vicenza in 1524. Around 1536 he became the protégé of Count Giangiorgio Trissino (1478–1550), the leading intellectual in Vicenza, who stimulated the young man to appreciate the arts, sciences, and Classical literature, granted him the opportunity to study Antique architecture in Rome, and called him ‘Palladio’ (from Pallas, a name for Athene, the Greek goddess associated with Wisdom).

Palladio won the competition to recase the municipal ‘Basilica’ (or Palazzo della Ragione) in Vicenza, and construction started in 1549. The design consists of a screen composed of two storeys employing a version of the arcuated theme at Sansovino's Biblioteca Marciana in Venice (from 1537) and from Serlio's L'Architettura of 1537 (although ultimately originating with Bramante). Consisting of arches flanked by smaller rectangular openings beneath the entablatures from which the arches spring, the motif is in essence the serliana, also called Palladian or Venetian window. An elegant tour-de-force of Classical elements put together with verve and élan, the Basilica made Palladio's name, and from 1550 he was fully employed as a designer of churches, palazzi, and villas.

His first grand house in Vicenza was the Palazzo Thiene (commenced 1542 to designs probably by Giulio Romano), in which the Mannerism of the heavily rusticated exterior is combined with an interior plan drawing on themes from Antiquity (e.g. the sequence of rectangular rooms with an apsidal-ended hall and octagonal spaces with niches, clearly derived from the precedents of Antique Roman thermae). For the Palazzo Iseppo Porto (c.1548–52), Palladio planned two identical blocks on each side of a central court around which was to be a Giant Order of columns, evoking the atrium of a Roman house and the Capitoline palaces of Michelangelo in Rome. The symmetry and the sequence of rooms (each in proportion to the adjoining) were to become features of Palladio's work. Of the other Vicentine buildings, the Palazzo Chiericati (1550, but not completed until late in C17) deserves mention as it was designed to be a side of a great ‘forum’, with loggie as public amenities arranged as two storeys of colonnades, an unusual and highly original design for C16. The Loggia del Capitaniato (begun 1571), opposite the ‘Basilica’ in Vicenza, again employed a Giant Order, giving the impression that the building was constructed within surviving remains of a Roman temple, and there are Mannerist touches, including windows breaking into the entablature, triglyphs acting as brackets carrying balconies, and the side elevation in the form of a triumphal arch. The last, Roman Antiquity, and tricks of perspective are evoked in the Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza (begun 1580 and finished by Scamozzi), where even the painted sky of the ceiling suggested a theatre of the ancients.

In his designs for villas, Palladio devised a theme with a central symmetrically planned corps-de-logis, often embellished with a prostyle portico. Subsidiary buildings were linked to the main block by means of extended wings or curved quadrants containing ancillary accommodation (often associated with the needs of agriculture). Agreeably sited to revive the idea of the Roman love of country life and gardens, the spirit of Pliny was never far removed from the villas. One of Palladio's most enchanting designs was the Villa Barbaro at Maser (c.1560), with a temple-fronted two-storeyed centrepiece and symmetrical wings on either side consisting of five-bay arcades terminating in end-pavilions crowned with pediments, a fine example of the villa rustica. Palladio devised many permutations of his villa theme, including the powerful, almost Neo-Classical boldness of the Villa Poiana (c.1549–60); the deceptive simplicity of the Villa Foscari, Malcontenta di Mira, near Mestre (c.1558–60); and the remarkable Villa Capra (known as La Rotonda), a villa suburbana, near Vicenza (c.1566–70), with identical hexastyle Ionic porticoes (temple-fronts) on each of the four elevations and a central circular two-storey room capped with a cupola. This employment of temple-fronts or porticoes on villas was based on Palladio's erroneous belief that Antique Roman houses had them: nevertheless, the relationships of porticoes to elements of the composition, including room dimensions, were governed by the concept of harmonic proportion. The Villa Capra's only function was as a pleasure-pavilion or belvedere from where beautiful views could be enjoyed.

The façades of Palladio's Venetian Churches of San Francesco della Vigna (1562–70), San Giorgio Maggiore (1564–80), and Il Redentore (1576–80) show ingenious solutions to the problems of placing Classical temple-fronts on to the basilican arrangement of clerestoreyed nave with lean-to aisles. High, narrow temple-fronts are placed at the ends of the naves, complete with pediments, with a wider, lower, pedimented front set ‘behind’ so that its extremities provide the façades to the aisles. The interior spatial effects in San Giorgio and Il Redentore have a gravitas and complexity unlike other churches of the time.

Palladio published Le antichità di Roma (valued as a gazetteer for two centuries), and Descrizione delle chiese … di Roma (Description of the Churches of Rome) in 1554. He also provided important illustrations for Barbaro's edition of Vitruvius (1556). In 1570 he brought out I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), which publicized his own works, set out his theories, and illustrated and described various important buildings (mostly Roman, including Bramante's circular Tempietto at San Pietro in Montorio). It also illustrated canonical versions of the Roman Orders of architecture and a range of his own buildings in plan, elevation, and section, with measurements and descriptive text. Thus the work put his designs on a par with the great buildings of the past, and helped to enhance his reputation. The Quattro libri, a more accurate treatise than those by Serlio or Vignola, appeared in several subsequent editions, but that of Leoni (1715–20—translated as The Architecture of A. Palladio…) appeared in English, French, and Italian, the first adequate edition since 1642, and the first to substitute large engraved plates for Palladio's woodcuts. The book was a huge success and a second edition was published in 1721, a third following, with ‘Notes and Remarks of Inigo Jones’, in 1742. Leoni's remained the standard work until Ware's more scholarly edition of 1738, and it is the latter that has found most favour, republished in facsimile in 1965 with an introduction by Adolf K. Placzek. The plates, by Ware, were a lot more accurate than Leoni's rather embellished versions, and Ware's opus came out in further editions in 1767 and 1768. Batty Langley looted these publications for his own books (notably his City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury (1740)), and a version of Palladio's First Book, augmented with other material by Muet, was published in the 1740s by Godfrey Richards. It was this Franco-English edition that seems to have introduced Palladianism to America.See also palladianism.

Bibliography

Ackerman (1966, 1967);
Bonet (ed.) (2002);
Boucher (1998);
H. Burns (ed.) (1975); Holberton (1990);
Leoni (1742);
D. Lewis (2000);
Palladio (1570, 1965, 1997);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Li. Puppi (1975, 1980);
Rybczynski (2003);
Rykwert (1999);
Tavernor (1991);
Jane Turner (1996);
Wittkower (1974a, 1998);
Zorzi (ed.) (from 1959)

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Palladio, Andrea

Andrea Palladio (ändrĕ´ä päl-lä´dēō), 1508–80, Italian architect of the Renaissance. Originally a stonemason, he was trained as an architect in Vicenza, and later in Rome he examined the remains of Roman architecture. The measured drawings he made of these were published with compositions of his own and, based on the treatise of Vitruvius, a description of practical systems of design and proportioning. This famous work, I quattro libri dell'architectura (1570, tr. The Four Books of Architecture, 1716), has been reissued many times.

Palladio's buildings, chiefly town palaces and villas, were executed mostly in Vicenza and its vicinity. Usually they were made of humble materials that contrasted with their formal classicism. Palladio's first important work (begun 1549) was to rebuild the medieval town hall, the basilica at Vicenza. He designed arches supported on minor columns and framed between larger engaged columns. Each of these arch-and-column compositions formed what is termed a "Palladian motif" and was much imitated. The characteristic facade of many of Palladio's country houses displayed the classic temple front—superimposed pilasters or columns or often a colossal order two stories in height and supported by a rusticated ground story. Generally in his buildings he systematized the ground plan, designing a central hall around which other rooms were grouped in absolute symmetry.

Among his best-known houses (built in the 1550s and 1560s) are the Villa Rotonda (overlooking Vicenza), the Chiericati Palace and the Valmarana Palace (both: Vicenza), and the Villa Barbaro (Maser). At Venice he adapted the classical motif to three church facades, in his designs for San Francesco della Vigna, San Giorgio Maggiore, and Il Redentore. Just before his death Palladio planned the Teatro Olimpico, in which he incorporated a permanent scenic background, built in architectural perspective.

Reviving and redesigning the ancient Roman villa for a new humanist age, Palladio set the vocabulary of architectural pattern, proportion, and ornament for much of Western domestic architecture for centuries to come. His books and buildings exerted an unparalleled influence on European and American architecture. In the 17th cent., Inigo Jones imported Palladio's classic grandeur of design into England and profoundly influenced the course of English architecture. Subsequently, William Kent, Colin Campbell, Sir Christopher Wren, Sir William Chambers, and others created a great body of works termed Palladian. In the United States his influence can be seen in the manor houses of southern plantations, e.g., Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

See R. Wittkower, Palladio and Palladianism (1974); J. Ackerman, Palladio (2d ed. 1977); W. Rybczynski, The Perfect House (2002); G. Giaconi and K. Williams, The Villas of Palladio (2003); L. Capellini, The Hand of Palladio (2009).

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Palladio, Andrea (1508–1580)

Palladio, Andrea (15081580)

Italian architect and writer who adopted classical motifs and style in his public and private buildings. Born in Padua as Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, he served as an apprentice to a stonecutter. He worked as a stone carver in Vicenza, where he was further trained by the scholar Giangiorgio Trissino, who gave him the nickname of Palladio after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. Palladio began designing private homes in Vicenza and, in 1541 traveled to Rome, where he began studying the monuments of ancient Rome. When he returned to Vicenza, he began incorporating designs of Roman temples, baths, and monuments into the facades of buildings he designed.

In 1546 the city of Vicenza commissioned Palladio to renovate the Palazzo della Ragione, the city's law court. He surrounded the building with loggias, or walking passages covered by an arcade. With this work Palladio's reputation spread among the wealthy merchants and aristocrats of the Veneto region, which was prospering through trade within Venice's farflung Mediterranean empire. In honor of its architect, the project, which was not completed until the early seventeenth century, came to be known as the Basilica Palladiana. Palladio wrote a guidebook to the antiquities of Rome, illustrated a Renaissance edition of the writings of the Roman architect Vitruvius, and founded an academy in Vicenza. His Four Books on Architecture, completed in 1570, is a complete account of techniques of architecture applied to private homes, religious buildings, and civic buildings.

Palladio is best known for private villas he designed in the Veneto, including the Villa Barbaro and the Villa Capra, an elegant symmetrical cube topped by a dome and displaying a temple front on each of its four sides. His elegant Palladian style combined ancient building elements and the Renaissance taste for the opulent display of wealth. Drawing on his discoveries in the ruins of ancient Rome, he employed classical columns, arches, pediments, atriums, and peristyles (courts), always careful to balance the different elements of a building and consider the structure's presence on its natural site. Palladian buildings exhibited the harmony and balance of the classical world. Palladio swept away the decorative Gothic style and set the standard for architecture for the next two centuries, when builders in Europe and the United States, including Thomas Jefferson, were imitating his style in structures large and small.

See Also: Alberti, Leon Battista; architecture; Bramante, Donato

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Palladio, Andrea

Palladio, Andrea (1508–80) Italian Renaissance architect. He studied Roman architecture and published his own designs and drawings of Roman ruins in Four Books of Architecture (1570). See also Palladianism

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Andrea Palladio

Andrea Palladio

1508-1580

Italian Architect

Italian architect Andrea Palladio is one of the most important figures in the history of Western architecture. He initially gained fame for his design of palaces and villas and theories linking current thinking about architecture with classical Roman style. These ideas have been imitated again and again for more than 400 years. Palladio's influence was seen most notably in eighteenth-century America, England, and Italy. While the architect's work stands as a lasting tribute, Palladio's four-volume treatise, I Quattro Libri dell'Architecttura (1570), or Four Books of Architecture, established his enduring reputation worldwide. The collected work was an international bestseller for more than two centuries.

Born Andrea di Pietro in 1508, Palladio was the son of a grain mill worker in Padua, a major city in the Venetian Republic. He apprenticed to a stonemason at 13, but broke his contract three years later and moved to his adopted hometown of Vicenza in northern Italy. Palladio joined the mason's guild and joined the workshop of Giacomo da Porlezza, the city's most important architect at that point.

In his late twenties, Palladio met Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550), the city's leading intellectual and humanist. Trissino was rebuilding a villa in nearby Cricoli in classical ancient Roman style and set up an academy there to provide young aristocrats with a traditional education. Through his association with Porlezza, Palladio worked on the renovation project, and his natural design skills led Trissino to invite him to join the academy. Trissino then directed the young man's initial forays into architecture and renamed him Palladio, a frequent occurrence in humanist study at the time.

Palladio's focused architectural education was unusual in this period; most students were steered toward a general course of study. Under Trissino's guidance, Palladio adopted his mentor's ideas regarding symmetrical layout, with a large central room and flanking towers. Trissino also introduced his student to the works of Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), whose five books on architecture were the first to deal with the subject visually as well as in theory. Serlio's treatise served as a blueprint for Palladio's later publications. Palladio studied ancient Roman architect and theorist Vitruvius, who he labeled as his master and guide.

In 1540 Palladio designed his first villa and first palace. These works incorporated the teachings of Trissino with Palladio's own innovations based on his study of ancient Roman buildings. Over the next several decades Palladio made many trips to Rome, which greatly enhanced and solidified his theories about architecture. He applied these ideas as he set out creating palaces for Vicenza's elite, including many of his fellow students from Trissino's academy.

While in Rome from 1554-56, Palladio published Le Antichita di Roma (The Antiquities of Rome), which remained the standard guidebook to Rome for 200 years. He also collaborated with a classical scholar in reconstructing Roman buildings for a new edition of Vitruvius's De Architectura, or On Architecture. Over a 20-year period of intense construction, Palladio became the first architect to systematize the plan of a house and use the Greco-Roman temple front as a roofed porch.

More important, in 1570 Palladio published his four-volume treatise I Quattro. The work was a summary of his lifelong study of classical architecture. The first two books outline Palladio's principles of building materials and his designs for town and country villas. The third volume illustrates his thinking about bridges, town planning, and basilicas, which were oblong public halls. The final book deals with reconstruction of ancient Roman temples.

I Quattro cemented Palladio's place in architectural history. The treatise popularized classical design and his innovative style, subsequently became a veritable blueprint for design worldwide, reaching its zenith in the eighteenth century. In the eyes of many scholars, the work stands as the clearest and best-organized textbook on architecture ever produced.

BOB BATCHELOR

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Palladio, Andrea

Andrea Palladio

1508
Padua, Italy
1580
Venice, Italy

Architect

Andrea Palladio is one of the architects most closely associated with the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a cultural revolution that began in Italy in the mid-1300s. It was initiated by scholars called humanists who promoted the human-centered values of ancient Greece and Rome. Humanist ideals were soon influencing the arts, literature, philosophy, science, religion, and politics in Italy. His main contribution to architecture was the villa, or large country house, which became popular throughout Europe. Palladio was also involved in promoting the classical style developed by Italian architects in the fifteenth century. They refurbished old buildings and constructed new ones according to architectural details found in Roman ruins. Features of this style included simple but impressive building shapes, columns from the three basic classical orders (Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic), porticos (entrance porches), and loggias (roofed open galleries overlooking courtyards). Palladio adapted many of these features in his villas.

Begins career as architect

Palladio was born Andrea di Pietro della Gondola in Padua, Italy, in 1508. At age thirteen he was apprenticed to (hired to learn a trade) a local stonemason, a craftsman who makes or builds objects from stone. By 1524 Palladio had moved to Vincenza and formally registered in the guild (an association of craftsmen, merchants, and professionals that trained apprentices and set standards of production or business operation) of stonemasons. Palladio joined a workshop run by Giovanni di Giacomo da Porlezza and Girolamo Pittoni da Lumignano. Porlezza specialized in architecture, and Palladio continued working with him after leaving the workshop. By 1537 Palladio had entered the circle of Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478–1550), an aristocrat who had retired to Vincenza. Trissino gathered an academy of intellectually promising young men from the area into his villa.

Trissino had an important impact on Palladio. Through Trissino he was first exposed to humanist education (the study of literary masterpieces of ancient Greece and Rome) and learned Latin. He was also introduced to the treatise on architecture by Marcellus Vitruvius Pollio (called Vitruvius; first century b.c.), the ancient Roman architect and engineer. Through Trissino he became acquainted with many important intellectuals. The name Palladio, which he adopted in about 1545, came from Trissino's circle. In the 1540s Palladio visited Rome at least five times, often in the company of Trissino. During a trip taken between 1546 and 1547 he met the great sculptor and painter Michelangelo (1475–1564; see entry). Preserved drawings show that Palladio spent much of his time in Rome studying and surveying the Roman ruins.

Palladio's study of Roman ruins led him to pursue a career as an architect in the late 1530s. The breakthrough in his career came toward the end of the 1540s, when the city council of Vicenza commissioned him to complete the facade, or front, of the Basilica—the city's public palace. The Basilica is actually a complex of medieval buildings that were reorganized into a single structure during the fifteenth century. It had been surrounded by arcades (arched passageways with roofs) in a medieval style called Gothic. The arcades collapsed soon after they were completed in 1496. During the next fifty years city leaders looked for an architect to design a new facade in the Renaissance style. In 1546 Palladio submitted as plan in which he resolved the structural problems by redesigning the facade in the simple style used by the ancient Romans and by Italian architects in the fifteenth century.

Develops distinctive villa style

It took three years for the city council to approve Palladio's plans for the Basilica. Since the building was so large, work proceeded slowly and the entire project was not completed until 1614, nearly twenty-five years after Palladio's death. However, this work provided important contacts for Palladio and gained him a considerable reputation. He designed palazzos, or palaces, in Vincenza and began developing the villa type that later became identified with his name. A series of villas built during the 1550s and 1560s represent the model that is associated with Palladio. All of these villas have a vaulted sala, or central hall, that can be square, rectangular, or in the shape of a cross or the letter "T." A row of rooms lines each side of the sala, and the facade has a Greco-Roman (a Roman style influenced by the Greeks) temple portico (a type of porch with a roof supported by columns). A few villas have an upper story, in which the same design is repeated.

The popularity of the villa resulted from changes in the Venetian economy and an increasing trend toward agriculture. Villas functioned as homes for noblemen on agricultural estates. Palladio's most famous structure was the Villa Rotonda, known also as Villa Capra, which was built in the late 1560s for the retired papal secretary Paolo Almerico. Located on a hill near Vicenza, the villa had a dome-covered central hall with four big rooms in the corners and four smaller rooms next to them. Four identical porticoes open on all four facades. Over the centuries, the Rotonda became the prime example of Palladio's architecture and has been copied many times in various parts of the world.

Publishes important book

Throughout his career Palladio maintained contacts with humanists. Among them was Daniele Barbaro (1513–1570), a scholar and member of the Venetian high nobility. The patron (financial supporter) of several artists, Barbaro helped Palladio establish his reputation and introduced him to prospective Venetian clients. Palladio also designed a villa for Barbaro and Barbaro's brother Marcantonio. By the mid-1550s Palladio was working on Four Books on Architecture, which he published in 1570. Book One of this work discusses elements of architecture and the theory of the classical orders. Book Two presents plans for residential buildings Palladio designed. Book Three describes a number of bridges Palladio designed and

Filippo Brunelleschi: First Renaissance Architect

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446) is considered the first Renaissance architect. His refined classical style was inspired by twelfth-century Tuscan architecture and by the buildings of ancient Rome. Brunelleschi is also credited with developing the concept of linear perspective, also called one-point perspective, which influenced the depiction of space in painting and sculpture until the late nineteenth century. Linear perspective is a system derived from mathematics in which all elements of a composition are measured and arranged from a single point of view, or perspective.

Brunelleschi was born in Florence and began his career as a goldsmith. In 1401 he entered the competition for designing a new set of doors for the Baptistery (building used for baptism) of Florence Cathedral, but the commission was awarded to Lorenzo Ghiberti (c. 1378–1455). In 1417 he and other master goldsmiths presented opinions on the design and construction of the great dome that was to be built atop Florence Cathedral. It was perhaps at this time that Brunelleschi devised the method of linear perspective, which he illustrated in two panels that are now lost. One panel depicted the Baptistery as viewed from the cathedral entrance, and the other illustrated the Palazzo Vecchio (the Medicis' palace).

Beginning in 1418 Brunelleschi concentrated on architecture. The following year he designed the loggia (an open, roofed porchlike structure with arches that overlooks a courtyard) of the Ospedale degli Innocenti (a hospital for orphans), which is usually considered the first Renaissance building. In 1420 Brunelleschi began to erect the Florence Cathedral dome in collaboration with Ghiberti, who eventually withdrew from the project. After returning to Florence in 1434 Brunelleschi worked on central-plan churches. Considered the ideal design during the Renaissance, this type of church is in the shape of a Greek cross, with four equal wings extending from a central circle. Brunelleschi died at Florence in 1446 and received the unusual honor of being buried in Florence Cathedral. Brunelleschi's architecture remained influential in Florence through the sixteenth century.

gives an account of his work on the Basilica in Vicenza. Book Four contains Palladio's surveys of Roman temples.

During the latter part of his career he began working on churches. His greatest ecclesiastical, or religious, building was the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which was started in 1566. In 1570 Palladio succeeded Jacopo Sansovino (1486–1570) as the main architectural adviser for the Republic of Venice. The ten years from this appointment until his death in 1580 were marked by one grand project, the church of Redentore in Venice. Many scholars consider Palladio to be the foremost Renaissance architect. The influence of his Four Books on Architecture is second only to that of Regola delli cinque ordini d'architttura (Canon of the five orders of architecture; 1563) by the architectural theorist Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (1507–1573). Vignola's work was a detailed description of classical architecture and served as a manual for the education of Renaissance architects. Palladio's book shifted the focus from theory to practice by showing how classical ideas were used in Renaissance buildings.

Palladio's designs were often copied, and his innovative use of classical architecture became common practice. Palladio had an immense influence on architects in Italy. By the seventeenth century his ideas had also arrived in England through the efforts of the English designer Inigo Jones (1573–1652). Soon Palladio's style was spreading across Europe, and it reached the American colonies in the eighteenth century. Interest in Palladio's work did not wane even in the twentieth century, when architects were again focusing on his use of classical details.

For More Information

Books

Ackerman, James S. Palladio's Villas. Locust Valley, N.Y.: Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1967.

Farber, Joseph C. Palladio's Architecture and its Influence: A Photographic Guide. New York: Dover Publications, 1980.

Web Sites

"Palladio, Andrea." Encyclopedia.com. [Online] Available http://encyclopedia.com/[email protected]%20Palladio%20%20Andrea, April 5, 2002.

"Palladio, Andrea." Palladian Buildings in Vicenza. [Online] Available http://www.ashmm.com/cultura/palladio/copertuk.htm, April 5, 2002.

Palladio, Andrea—Palladio and Pattern Books. [Online] Available http://mondrian.princeton.edu/Campus/text_pattern.html, April 5, 2002.

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Palladio, Andrea

Andrea Palladio

1508–1580

Architect

Training.

Palladio, the greatest architect of sixteenth-century Northern Italy, was probably born in Padua in 1508. At birth his name was Andrea di Pietro; he did not take the classical name Palladio until he was middle-aged. Around the age of 13 he worked as an apprentice to a local stonemason, but he apparently did not stay in this workshop long. By 1524, records show that he had enrolled in the stonemasons' guild in nearby Vicenza, where he joined a local workshop. Eventually, his talents came to the attention of the local aristocrat, Gian Giorgio Trissino. Trissino was a humanist scholar and he soon became the young stonemason's patron. Under Trissino's influence, the future architect acquired some knowledge of Latin and studied Vitruvius' ancient treatise on architecture. At Trissino's urging, Andrea di Pietro changed his name to the Latin, Palladio, and with the elder aristocrat's support the designer made several study trips to Rome during the 1540s. On one of these journeys he met Michelangelo, and during all his stays in Rome he spent a great deal of time in the ancient center of the city, studying and drawing the monuments of the ancient Roman Empire.

Architecture.

Around 1540, Palladio had already begun to design buildings in and around Vicenza. His earliest commissions were for domestic palaces in the city and country villas. These works do not yet show a secure understanding of ancient Roman architecture. During the course of the 1540s, though, his mastery of classicism grew more assured. The most important commission Palladio received at this early stage in his career as an architect was for the reconstruction of Vicenza's Basilica. This complex, a series of local government offices, had been joined together in the later Middle Ages with a series of Gothic arcades. In 1496, one of these structures had collapsed, and during the following decades the government at Vicenza searched for an architect who might rebuild the structures on a more secure footing. Palladio won the commission, and the resulting building he created established his reputation as an architect of merit. Palladio continued in the 1550s to design domestic palaces, government buildings, and country villas in and around Vicenza. In his country villas especially, Palladio's works display his certain mastery over classical building styles and his ability to adapt those elements to contemporary situations. His structures were notable as well for the great harmony they achieved between interior spaces and the surrounding exterior gardens. Before his death in 1580, the architect had populated the region around Vicenza and the Veneto (Venice's mainland possessions) with a number of graceful and harmonious structures. Palladio's classicism was restrained and, in contrast to the great Venetian architect Sansovino, he used relatively little ornament. Porticos that made use of the region's gentle climate were one common feature, as was the so-called Palladian window, a structure in which side columns supported a hemispherical shaped arch. In later years Palladio used his relatively severe but graceful style in two churches he designed in the city of Venice.

Theory.

Trissino had introduced Palladio to circles of humanists in Northern Italy, and Palladio nourished his scholarly interests even as he was busy designing his many domestic and public projects. His career testifies to the rising status that was accorded Italian architects in the sixteenth century. When his friend Trissino died in 1550, Palladio began to develop his own contacts among Northern Italian humanists. One of the most avid friendships of his later life grew to become a fruitful collaboration. In the years following Trissino's death, the humanist Daniele Barbaro influenced Palladio, and the two cooperated to produce an Italian translation of Vitruvius' ancient architectural work. Palladio wrote a commentary for this new edition and prepared a number of illustrations of the works that Vitruvius had discussed in his text. Both the illustrations and the translation were of undeniable importance in spreading knowledge of Vitruvius' architectural ideas. Few architects at the time had the advantage of Palladio's Latin education, and thus the edition became an indispensable tool for those hoping to design classically styled buildings. In his later years, the friendship with Barbaro, a member of a distinguished Venetian family, also helped to gain Palladio several commissions in the city of Venice. At this time Palladio also published his own work on theoretical treatise, the Four Books on Architecture. Palladio's work was just one of many produced by sixteenth-century designers. Its author had written sections of the work over a long period of time, and then in 1570 he rushed to get the book into print. As a result, the work contained numerous internal contradictions, and its illustrations sometimes defy the canons that the author sets out in the text. Later the artist's most accomplished student, Vincenzo Scamozzi, expanded the work and clarified its arguments. But even in its imperfect state, Palladio's text influenced architects throughout Europe, and somewhat later in America. In England, the famous designers Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren were disciples of Palladio's elegant style of building. Their influence, in turn, spread knowledge of his systems of design everywhere where English was spoken. Elsewhere in Europe, interest in Palladio's architectural treatises and in his villa projects gave rise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to structures that continue to show his influence. It is for this reason that some scholars have argued that Palladio was the single most important architect in spreading the ideas of Renaissance classicism to the rest of Europe.

sources

J. Ackerman, Palladio (Harmondsworth, United Kingdom: Penguin Books, 1977).

R. Tavernor, Palladio and Palladianism (London, England: Thames and Hudson, 1991).

R. Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (Chichester, United Kingdom: Academy Editions, 1998).

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Palladio, Andrea (1508–1580)

Palladio, Andrea (1508–1580)

Palladio, Andrea (1508–1580), Italian architect. The buildings of Andrea Palladio were the most refined of the Renaissance period. Through them and his book on architectural theory he became the most influential architect in the history of Western art.

Roman architecture of the early 16th century had developed a mature classicism in the work of Donato Bramante and his followers. With the sack of Rome in 1527 young architects, such as Michele Sanmicheli and Jacopo Sansovino, brought the style to northern Italy. Andrea Palladio with further study of ancient Roman architecture, refined the classical mode to produce an elegant architecture befitting the opulent culture of the Veneto in the third quarter of the century. The aristocratic, mercantile society of Venice desired a splendid and sumptuous art to express pride in its accomplishments.

Andrea di Pietro dalla Gondola, called Andrea Palladio, was born in Padua on Nov. 30, 1508. In 1521 he was apprenticed for 6 years to a local stonecutter; 3 years later he broke the contract and moved to Vicenza, where he was immediately enrolled in the guild of masons and stonecutters. His first opportunity came about 1538 while he was working as a stone carver on the reconstruction of the Villa Cricoli, near Vicenza, owned by the local humanist Giangiorgio Trissino, who had a classical school for young Vicenzan nobility. Trissino recognized Andrea's ability and took him into his home and educated him. Trissino gave Andrea his humanist name Palladio as a reference to the wisdom of the Greek goddess Pallas Athene.


Early Architecture. Probably Palladio's first independent design was the Villa Godi (ca. 1538–1542) at Lonedo. Its simplified, stripped-down style reveals very little influence of ancient architecture, but its emphasis on clean-cut cubical masses foreshadows his mature style. The Casa Civena (1540–1546) in Vicenza, with its paired Corinthian pilasters above the ground-floor arcade, is more in the Roman High Renaissance manner, perhaps inspired by the publications of Sebastiano Serlio.

In 1541 Trissino took Palladio to Rome to study the ancient monuments. At this time Palladio began a magnificent series of drawings of ancient buildings. The incomplete Palazzo Thiene (commissioned 1542, constructed ca. 1545–1550) in Vicenza is in the style of Giulio Romano, particularly in its heavy rustication of the ground floor and the massive stone blocks superimposed on the window frames of the main story. As Giulio Romano was in Vicenza in 1542, it is possible that he contributed to the design, since Palladio was still designated as a mason in the contract. The grandiose project, never completed, for the Villa Thiene (before 1550) at Quinto was influenced by Palladio's study of ancient Roman sanctuaries and baths. The only completed pavilion has a temple front facade, his first use of a temple front to decorate a villa, which became a hallmark of his style.

For many years the city of Vicenza had been considering how to refurbish its Gothic law court, the Palazzo della Ragione. In 1546 Palladio's project to surround the old building with loggias was approved, and he was commissioned to erect one bay in wood as a model. In 1547 and 1549 Palladio made further trips to Rome. In 1549 he began to construct two superimposed, arcaded loggias around the Palazzo della Ragione (completed 1617), known ever since as the Basilica Palladiana. Each bay of the loggias is composed of an arch flanked by lintels supported by columns. The motif of the arch flanked by lintels, although it was first used by Bramante and was popularized in Serlio's book, has been called in English the Palladian motif since Palladio used it on the Basilica.


Mature Style. Palladio created on the mainland around Venice a magnificent series of villas for the Venetian and Vicenzan nobility. The most renowned is the Villa Capra, or the Rotonda (1550–1551, with later revisions), near Vicenza. It is a simplified, cubelike mass capped by a dome over the central, round salon and has identical temple front porches on the four sides of the block. The absolute symmetry of the design was unusual in Palladian villas; the architect explained that it permitted equal views over the countryside around the hill on which the villa sits.

The city of Vicenza was almost completely rebuilt with edifices after Palladio's designs. The Palazzo Chiericati (now the Museo Civico) is a two-story structure facing on the square with a continuous Doric colonnade on the ground floor after the idea of an ancient Roman forum; the walled and fenestrated central section of the upper floor is flanked by Ionic colonnades. The facade of the Palazzo Iseppo Porto (ca. 1550–1552) is based on Bramante's Palazzo Caprini in Rome, but the plan is Palladio's version of an ancient Roman house with an entrance atrium and a large peristyle, or court, on the central axis behind the building block.

In 1554 Palladio made his last trip to Rome and in the same year published a fine guidebook to the antiquities of Rome, Le antichità di Roma. During the next year a group of Vicenzans, including Palladio, founded the Accademia Olimpica for the furthering of arts and sciences. In 1556 Daniele Barbaro, a Venetian humanist, published a commentary on the architectural treatise of the ancient Roman writer Vitruvius for which Palladio made the illustrations. At the same time Palladio designed for Barbaro and his brother at Maser (ca. 1555–1559) one of the loveliest of all villas. The Villa Barbaro (now Volpi) is set into a gentle hillside. The central, two-storied casino with a temple front of Ionic half-columns and pediment is flanked by single-story arcades connecting it to the service buildings, for the villa also served as a farm. In the 16th century the nobility of the Veneto attempted to improve the agricultural productivity of the land, and their villas served as residences during the periods when they supervised the farming.

Palladio's first architecture in the city of Venice was the commencement of the monastery of S. Giorgio Maggiore, whose refectory he completed (1560–1562). This was followed by the church of S. Giorgio Maggiore (1565–1610), which has a basilical plan with apsidal transept arms and a deep choir. The facade (designed 1565, executed 1607–1610), with its temple front on four giant half columns flanked by two half temple fronts on smaller pilasters, is Palladio's solution to the translation of a Christian church design into the classical mode. He applied a similar facade to the older church of S. Francesco della Vigna (ca. 1565). The Palazzo Valmarana (1565–1566) in Vicenza uses giant Corinthian pilasters, except at the ends, to emphasize the planar aspect of the facade adapted to its urban location.


Late Style. Palladio's treatise on architecture, I quattro libri dell' architettura (1570), consists of four books. The first is devoted to technical questions and the classical orders, the second to domestic architecture, the third to civic architecture, and the fourth to ecclesiastical architecture. It is illustrated by ancient architecture and the works of Bramante and Palladio himself.

The truncated Loggia del Capitaniato (1571–1572) in Vicenza has giant half columns with an arcaded loggia below. In many of its details this design reveals an unclassical spirit. The short side, however, is modeled on an ancient triumphal arch and commemorates the victory of Lepanto in October 1571, which occurred while the loggia was being executed. As the chief architect of Venice, Palladio designed the festival triumphal arch and the decorations to welcome the entry of King Henry III of France to Venice in July 1574.

To fulfill a vow of salvation from the disastrous plague of 1575–1576 the Venetian Senate commissioned Palladio to build the Church of the Redentore (1576–1592). Perhaps influenced by the Church of the Gesù in Rome, it is a wide basilica with side chapels and a trilobed crossing with deep choir. The facade, approached by monumental stairs, is a more unified version of his earlier church facades. For the Villa Barbaro at Maser he designed a separate chapel, the Tempietto (1579–1580), modeled on the ancient Roman Pantheon.

Palladio executed a theater, the Teatro Olimpico (1580), in Vicenza for the Accademia Olimpica. Based on the design of an ancient Roman theater, the auditorium is segmental in plan, facing a stage modeled on a Roman scaenae frons. The perspective stage scenery in wood and stucco was added by Vincenzo Scamozzi after Palladio's design. On Aug. 19, 1580, Palladio died in Vicenza.


His Influence. Through his treatise Palladio exerted a dominant influence on architecture for over 2 centuries, particularly in northern Europe. There were two major periods of Palladianism in England. In the first half of the 17th century Inigo Jones converted English architecture to the Italianate Renaissance by introducing Palladio's style, seen best in the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, London, and the Queen's House, Greenwich. The second wave of Palladianism was fostered in the early 18th century by the Earl of Burlington. Palladio's treatise was published in 1715 in an English translation by Giacomo Leoni. American architecture felt the impact in the late 18th and early 19th century, as seen in Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

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