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Renaissance Architecture

Appunti di History of architecture su Renaissance Architecture basati su appunti personali del publisher presi alle lezioni del prof. Piccoli dell’università degli Studi del Politecnico di Torino - Polito, Interfacoltà. Scarica il file in formato PDF!

Esame di History of architecture docente Prof. E. Piccoli



Other antique feature: the entrance is not rounded, but it is square with a lintel: this is

a language choice, because an arch would be structurally easier (and probably there is

an arch behind).

So in case of Palazzo Rucellai we have a smaller palaces, but way richer in

decorations, which give it the same effect in importance and beauty of the bigger


Palazzo Medici it became a model, BUT Palazzo Rucellai is the first of a series of

palaces which will experiment that kind of façade using orders from the ground floor

(as Coluseum). Palaces referring to Palazzo Rucellai: Palazzo della Cancelleria or

Palazzo Riario (1490s), Rome, unknown arch.; Palazzo Piccolomin, Pienza (1470s),

commissioned by Pope Pius II. Two major buildings commissioned by Popes follow the

example of a private palace: this tells us the influence Palazzo Rucellai had!


Alberti used arch motifs of triumphal arch when he built for military leaders or for

important families, as Gonzaga, to celebrate their power. The triumphal arch is still

nowadays and elements representing power, military power, nationality etc… We can

find the use of this symbol also in places where roman architecture doesn’t belong at

all, as in Corea!

Church of Rimini (Tempio Malatestiano), commissioned by Sigismondo

Malatesta 1446 – It was re-built with by Sigismondo Malatesta with the intention to

make a memorial to himself, his wife and the members of his court. This is the first

modern example of a classical solution to the problem presented by the western

façade of a normal Christian church: a high central nave with lower aisle on each side

covered by a lean-to roof. This produce a shape which was not classical. The solution

adopted was to recast the west end of the church into a form based on the triumphal

arch, in order to imply the idea of victory over death. The main model was the Arch of

Constatine, which provided a solution to the problem of the different sizes of the nave

and the aisles, but many details of this façade are taken by the Arch of Augustus. To

solve the problems of dimensions, since the triumphal arch are one storey Alberti

found another form. This building was never completed but Alberti’s intentions are

understandable from the remains and from a medal cast of Matteo de’ Pasti, which

was Alberti’s assistant and was actually responsible for the building.

Alberti intended to build a large hemispherical dome, carried on ribs. The solution for

the façade was to repeat the arch opening above the doorway using it as a window

and flanking it with pilasters. The roof of the aisles were to be screened by low walls

with decorative motifs.

The general system with the use of two orders, one above the other in the center,

became one of the most common forms in Western church architecture.

Rucellai Chapel, San Pancrazio, tumb of Rucellai (sepolcro), Florence 1467-

Rucellai will have a stone places at the entrance to state the right to identify himself

with the place. Is much more classical than Tempio Malatestiano.

Facade of Santa Maria Novella, church of the Dominican order 1470,

commissioned by Rucellai family - The fact that a church didn’t have a façade was

quiet common because it was not necessary if you want to use the building and

because usually it was felt that the façade had to be paid by a patron and not by the

people of the church.

Sometimes works were started, then stopped, then continued with another style.

Examples: Duomo di Firenze, Duomo di Milano.

The façade was deeply conditioned by the existing building: it is said that Alberti

deliberately used some Gothic forms from other parts of the building.

The inside: is Italian gothic, done 1 century earlier, it is a big church with 3 naves

(large 20m, long 103m); the façade: (from 1467 on) there was a family before who

started to build 2 doors and some pointed arches with sepolcri in gothic style. →

problem of combining styles!

The façade is not really coherent with the mass of the church, but he studies the

façade in a way that the middle of the façade is in the bottom line of the rosone, then

he works with the subdivision of basic geometry. He divided the facades into 2 stories

in such a way that the height of the building is equal to the width , though the two

orders of the 2 floors cannot vertically correspond, because ground floor is larger,

because of the doors etc… so he creates a great separation element, as an attic story.

Then he unify the space through the use of the scrolls, which function is to cover the

aisles. The lower part forms two squares, each of which is a quarter of the bigger

square (strict dependence on mathematics). The upper story is of the same size and is

covered by a classical pediment, which recalls the sacred buildings. The attic storey

and the round arch of the entrance recall the idea of the triumphal arch.

Alberti is able to simultaneously use classical heritage, referring to specific ancient

roman architecture as the Basilica Emilia or the main entrance of the Pantheon and

the previous experiences of high medieval buildings, as the Baptistery of Florence and

the façade of San Miniato al Monte, Florence.

The proportion is still missing, that’s why we need the “attic” element.

The façade is flat, the third dimension is just in the half columns and other few


Materials: white marble from Carrara and green marble from Prato.

The other two churches Alberti worked on are very important because they represent

two main types of church plan: the Greek cross plan of S. Sebastiano and the Latin

cross plan of S. Andrea.

S. Sebastiano 1460 – Alberti died while it was still under construction, and the current

building is an incorrect restiration. We have a diagram by Professor Wittkower which

shows almost all the theoretical requirements laid by Alberti’s treaties.

It has a high flight of steps, because Alberti thought that churches should stand

higher, 6 pilasters supporting the entablature = classical temple-front type. The plan is

the first of a long series of Greek cross plans. Alberti regarded the centrally planned

church as being a perfect form and symbolizing therefore the perfection of God, but on

the other hand he may be also influenced by Early Christian churches (possible

prototype: Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Church of Santa Croce).

Church of Sant’Andrea, Mantova, commissioned by Gonzaga 1462 - is a

pilgrimage church which needed to be rebuilt and enlarged. We have several letters

where he discusses about the church with Gonzaga. (Alberti built for wealthy families

of Florence, for the Pope, for the ruling families of Rimini and Mantova).

There was another project for Sant’Andrea by Manetti (a scolar of Brunelleschi) which

was based on columns, but then he died; few years later Alberti wrote to Gonzaga

saying that his project was more elegant and cost less and that it referred to antique

Etruscan temple.

This is the first project in which plan, general proportions are from Alberti, the others

were just facades. The plan is a traditional Latin cross plan, but with an essential

difference from Brunelleschi’s Latin plan. He decides not to use columns because they

cost a lot, could not easily support big vaulted structures, so instead of the aisles there

are a series of alternating large and small openings; More over important roman

buildings used big vaults and domes with masonry vaults → Alberti explores for the

first time the imitation of antiquity also in the structure and using a barrel vault.

The result is that structural elements are big pillars, with a certain volume.

Potential reunification of space – in Sant’Andrea there was an important relique (Jesus

blood), so few times a year a lot of people came into the church, this implied a specific

functional requirement of unification of space so that the view could be unified on one

object. In the structural elements, the pillars, there are side chapels, which are barrel

vaulted in the other sense, for structural reasons.

There is so a great spatial difference from Brunelleschi’s churches, in fact there are

two axial directions. In this we can see the influence of Roman prototypes.

Some elements of the language remain the same, some evolve, but architecture

depends strictly of the geography, on politics, on function and so on…

The nave has a barrel vault with painted coffering and is by far the largest amd

heaviest erected since classical times. This weight had to be carried on very large

supports. His models were for coffered ceiling / barrel vault with coffered ceiling:

Basilica of Masenzion, Triumphal arches, Pentheon; for the heavy barrel vault to be

supported: the Bath of Diocletian and the Basilica of Constantine.


This Latin cross plan will be copied al lot during the late 16 century.

The façade follows Alberti’s design just for what concerns the pediment. The façade

it’s ambiguous, it anticipates somehow the idea of inside, yet is not true because it is

way smaller than the inside (due to practical reason: a medieval bell tower), more over

the façade it has not just the function of anticipating inside structure (recall barrel

vault, naves) , but it is also a triumphal arch and a portico. (Giant order = order

containing different order of a building). It is the mix of a classical triumphal arch and

a classical temple front. The result are small openings at ground level between the

two pilasters, followed by a large opening, and then the repetition of the smaller

doorway. This alternation is the same of the small and large chapels of inside and

derives from the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome.

Alberti is really dependent on Roman prototypes, but he doesn’t bound to them. He

regards the architecture of the Romans to be superior to the his contemporary

architecture, but he is conscious that men as Brunelleschi were capable to use rules

from classical antiquity in a very good way.


Very important feature of architectural culture and important link between architecture

and paintings. The perspective is the way to represent a 3D space in two dimensions.

Architecture started to be studied also by painters thanks to perspective, before was

very hard to figure how a building would appear in reality. Perspective allows to pass

from drawing to real space. So it was used in the project, but also to experiment

architecture and space.

Through the work of painters and sculpture we can see the evolution on

sperimentation on architecture thanks to perspective. Important for the evolution of

architecture itself. (painting – architecture)

First proof of scientific method to draw in perspective is in 1420 by Brunelleschi: he

gave a public demonstration on perspective drawing on two tavolette representing the

Baptistery as seen from the entrance of the Duomo. He probably elaborated the

system for central perspective.

Without perspective it’s possible to show the multiplicity of a city, perspective is an

exclusion, a radical choice. Perspective defines space and in art it needs one point of


Few years after Brunelleschi’s presentation, Masaccio painted the first drawing

(frescos) with a correct perspective “The crucifission of Christ”, he created a real

space which can be measured and recreated in 3D. There will be 150 years of

development of perspective in paintings representing architecture (Raffaello, Paolo

Uccello, Francesco di Giorgio).


The rise of the merchant classes gave birth to a new ruling class based on the concept

of merchant oligarchy. During this period in fact commerce and political power in the

cities were strictly connected: political power was conferred to the guilds or

corporations, which means that was in the hand of individual families. For these

reasons the houses of the merchants started to have different needs since they had to

be both a working place and a house, but they also had to represent the power of the

family. these houses started to be semi-fortified, to be used as office and warehouse.

The inspiration for this new type was again taken from ancient Rome.

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End of 14 cent., beginning of 15 , establishment of a new architectural type: the



Palazzo Vecchio (or della Signoria), end of 13th cent – it was the Town Hall AND

Bargello, end of 13th cent – it was the official residence od the Podestà. They have

both a strong fortified appearance and both have bell towers. The design is quite

simple with pointed arch before and plain string course making the storyes, there is

rustication and the ground floor windows are small. The plan is a rectangle enclosing

a court. th

Palazzo Davanzati, late 14 cent – it derive from the classical type, but it has only a

staircase court, because it is on a small site, and a very large loggia on the top floor. It

is 5 storey and is covered by rusticates stonework, which gives the idea of great

solidity. The warehouse openings are symmetrical, as symmetrical are the 5 windows

of the other storeys. The piano nobile is obviously the best in term of livability.

From 1430s on Cosimo Medici ruled in Florence.


Michelozzo is highly influenced by Brunelleschi.

Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1445 (palace type 1) - It states what a good

palace should be during the Renaissance. It was built under Brunelleschi’s time, who

have done a project for it, which was refused in favor of the one by Michelozzo, a

follower of Brunelleschi (middle 1400). His solutions was simpler and of bigger effect.

Importance of the scale of the building – usually in palaces the vertical dimension was

more important than the horizontal one, because land was expensive; in this palace

the horizontal dimension is more important, to signify the power and richness of the

family. A palace could occupy an entire block. Problem: in the Middle Age the blocks

were not regular, while the shape of these palaces was, this meant that in order to

build a palace they had to destroy entire blocks and houses. Never before the building

of a palace had brought to the destruction of houses. Again this it explains the power

of the family! The Medici bought an entire block, destroyed completely and rebuilt

from scratch, that’s why the shape is so regular.

Architectural elements/characters

Façade – it is organized in 3 main stories topped by an enormous classical cornice. The

great stone cornice based on the classical entablature is related to the height of the

entire palace; the ground floor and first floor façade have stones treated in a particular

way: rustication or bugnato (from rustic manner or bugna = round element coming


Rustication recalls the official Florentine architecture (tradition) and the antique roman

architecture (antiquity): that is why is used! Rustication (regularity in horizontal

courses, irregularity in vertical one) – subdivision in 3 parts – different decoration.

Rustication is artificial but the idea is to recall something from nature, rustication

pattern usually doesn’t follow the construction pattern.Examples: Palazzo Vecchio


Characteristic of 15 century palaces is having a pretty closed ground floor (small

windows), which in this case are round, a small string-course in the form of a classical

modillion cornice which serves also as sills for the Piano Nobile windows, which is

supposed to be lighter, more open, the façade pattern changes to bigger stones with a

drawn pattern; the last floor is treated as the Piano Nobile but is completely smooth.

This degradation of rustication give an optical effect that makes the palace even


(In other places is different, due to different way of using the building or different

position. For example in France the ground floor is considered the main floor since

usually palaces were not on the border of the street.)

Use of classical elements also in decorations, like the main cornice of the palace. The

dimension of the cornice is linked to the whole mass of the palace; the cornice is

composed by some elements “all’antica”, analogous to the decorations of Ospedale

degli Innocenti.

Plan: represent a re-working of the traditional type with great attention to proportions

and symmetry. Usually every palace plan was organized around the internal court.

Michelozzo moreover moves all the services near a secondary court. The main court is

designed in such a way to recall the roman peristilium, so fully columnated and in axis

with the main entrance. In the secondary court there were stables for horses etc…In

the back of the palace there was an official garden. Is in the court that we can see the

influence of Brunelleschi: the court is the façade of the Foundlings Hospital folded

around to form a square. Doing so the problem of the angles arose, but Michelozzo

was unable to solve it, in fact at the angles there is a column, which make them

appear weak. Another unfortunate effect of the folding of the façade is the grouping of

the windows. Is was in Rome and Urbino that all these problems were solved.

Entrance → court → garden : typical roman sequence in houses BUT almost nothing

was known directly about the roman house; all they knew was about big buildings or

imperial houses and from Vitruvius.

The main staircase was still not important.

The palace was both private and public at the same time: it was the house, the bank,

it had official function. Private apartments were also public spaces, and this explain

the important investments made in these buildings. Palaces to stock goods; the

ground floor has this function and so it had to be organized in a good way (these

people were all merchants and all bankers); at ground floor it may have places for

guards too. th

Palazzo Medici-Riccardi will have a big influence throughout all the 15 century.


Palazzo Rucellai, Florence 1446 (palace type 2) - Palazzo Rucellai still follows

Medici’s model somehow: it has 3 main stories, a closer ground floor and a more open

first floor, higher and with bigger cornice. This palace it represents the first consistent

attempt to apply the orders to a palace front, with the consequence that the whole

building has a much more consciously antique air. The openings are bifore or

mullioned windows, with round arches (intrados round, extrados still pointed). The

façade is very well studied, in fact is supposed to be read, through the help pf the 2

doors, in a rhythm AABAABAA (last A never built). This wall is treated as a pattern is

drawn: it has a flat and polished rustication, the orders are used to divide the building

both horizontally both vertically, but the horizontal rhythm is more important than the

vertical. We can clearly see Alberti took inspiration from the Colosseum, which has the

top 2 stories with Corinthian columns followed by Corinthian pilasters; in Palazzo

Rucellai the ground floor has a Tuscan-type pilaster, the piano nobile a rich form of

Corinthian and the last floor a simpler type of Corinthian. This first attempt of

superimposition of orders of course meets some difficulties in following the

proportions, in fact we see a change in proportions, but there is not yet a proportion

between façade, entablature and orders. For the ground floor there is a high base

forming a seat with a back made in stones carved in a diamond pattern to imitate the

Roman opus reticulatum.

We know Alberti was completely unaware of the structural reasons for which the

orders were used, for him they are useful for decorative aims and visual effects.

Other antique feature: the entrance is not rounded, but it is square with a lintel: this is

a language choice, because an arch would be structurally easier (and probably there is

an arch behind).

Moreover there was the problem of the entablature: each floor has its own

proportioned entablature, for the last one he made it proportioned to thar floor too,

but to overcome the problem of shadow he made a big overhang.

So in case of Palazzo Rucellai we have a smaller palaces, but way richer in

decorations, which give it the same effect in importance and beauty of the bigger


Palazzo Medici it became a model, BUT Palazzo Rucellai is the first of a series of

palaces which will experiment that kind of façade using orders from the ground floor

(as Coluseum). Palaces referring to Palazzo Rucellai: Palazzo della Cancelleria or

Palazzo Riario (1490s), Rome, unknown arch.; Palazzo Piccolomini, Pienza (1470s),

commissioned by Pope Pius II. Two major buildings commissioned by Popes follow the

example of a private palace: this tells us the influence Palazzo Rucellai had!

Example of the influence of Palazzo Medici.

Palazzo Pitti , Florence 1446, unknown arch. – as we see it know it’s from the

th th

16 -17 cent. Originally it was intended to be of gigantic scale (almost as it is now, it

consisted of 7 bays), than was enlarged. The design might be attributed or to Alberti

or to Brunelleschi. Bought by the Medici, then by the government. It is a bigger copy of

Palazzo Medici, with a bigger rustication, different just in the fact that is missing the

cornice. The mass flat mass all covered by rustication is an architectural statement.

The importance and simplicity recalls roman acqueducts. The fascination of roman

architecture was also in the fact of how it has survived time, and so when a palace was

build they wanted it to last.

Palazzo Pazzi-Quaratesi, Florence, 1462-1470, attributed to Brunelleschi – it


follows the typical late 15 cent trend. It has a rusticated ground floor, while the other

two floors are flat and polished; it contains a certain amount of sculptures applied on

the façade which may be attributed to Giuliano and Benedetto da Maiano.

Palazzo Gondi, Florence, 1490, Giuliano da Sangallo – follows the typical late


15 cent trend. This palace is smaller and simpler than Palazzo Medici. Its most

interesting feature is the transformation of the rustication at the groundfloor into

evenly spaced rounded blocks of more or less the same size. This tendency is

accentuated by the pattern of the first floor.

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence 1490, attributed to Benedetto da Maiano–model is

Medici Palace for any feature, BUT is much larger and has rustication of the same type

of Palazzo Gonzi, running up the whole height of the façade. It differs from Palazzo

Medici in very small details. The grand cornice was designed by Il Cronaca before


Florentine palaces provided model for all the rest of Italy.

Pienza – when Piccolomini became Pope Pius II he began to rebuilt his native village,

renaming it Pienza, after himself. It is a small town between Siena and Perugia. This

occupies an important place in the history of town planning: Pius decided to elevate its

village to the status of city, and to do this he started constructing a cathedral, a

bishop’s palace, a town hall, a palace for himself and for his family. impose an

architectural type, reason why he left clear and strict instructions.

The center of the town was planned to be a single unit based on the cathedral, which

lies on the main axis of the piazza, which side converge toward the town-hall. The east

and west sides of the piazza are occupied by Pius’ family’s palace and by the bishop’s

palace. The cathedral is very unusual since is based on the Austrian church type. Pius

was prepared to impose a new style.

Palazzo Piccolomini, Pienza, Bernardo Rossellino, 1470s – it has few new

features: it is places so that is related to the cathedral and the front of the garden

looks toward Monte Amiata (great view). This palace is almost a literal copy of Alberti’s

one: it’s symmetrical and follows classical principles. The south side of the palace

consists of 3 open porticos, one above the other, simply for the view.

The city of Pienza is one of the first pieces of regular town planning since Roman days

and it contains also the first palace where a view across an extensive landscape is an

important feature.

Solution to the problem of the angle in courtyards!

Palazzo Venezia, Rome, 1467-1471 - Influence of Alberti. It follows the classical

prototype, as Colosseum or Theatre of Marcellus. The court is formed by a series of

arches carried by solid piers. The piers have half columns set on high base, used as

decoration. In the angles the piers have a L-shape, which confers a great solidity; the

spacing of the columns is better organized.

Probably this idea was worked out by Alberti, which used it in the Benediction Loggia

of the Old St Peter, which is known by us through drawings: here we see the link

between Colosseum and Palazzo Venezia.

Palazzo della Cancelleria, Rome, 1486-1496 – Influence of Alberti. The facade

consists of a high podium with 2 stories above, both of them with pilasters. The

horizontal division is made simpler by the absence of pilasters at ground floor, ere we

found also small rectangular windows. Rustication is distributed along the whole

height. The piano nobile hs grander windows and the attic storey has two windows in

each bay. The façade is broken up both vertically both horizontally by projections at

the end of the façade, although this projections are too shallow to be fully effective.

The rhythm of the façade is more compèlicated: ABABAB. Sills of windows and base of

pilasters are now separated. The introduction of wide and narrow bays leads to a new

kind of proportion. Here there is a large use of the Golden Section.

The court is somehow derived from the Colosseum type of elevation, with columns on

the lower floor and pilaster on the top storey. The two lower storey have wide arches

supported by columns, which recall the Foundling Hospital, but the top storey has

pilasters. The problem of the angles is solved in the same way of Palazzo Venezia: with

a L-shape pier. This part is the reason why we could associate this palace to Bramante,

because he comes from Urbino which is the first place where we find a datable

example of this solution to the angle problem.

Palazzo Ducale, Urbino 1460s – here there are some problems of attribution and

dating; big parts (the courtyard, the main entrance façade) were constructed by

Luciano Laurana; but it was probably complete by Francesco di Giorgio, mainly

concerned with decorations. This palace is situated on the top of a mountain with the

main entrance facing the piazza and cathedral. As in Pienza, the gret view was taken

into account and on the steepest side two round towers were built with headed

openings between them forming a loggia. There is the theme of the triumphal arch.

The court and the main entrance façade are the most important parts.

The main entrance façade is completely different from the other front of the palace: it

is skillfully arranged as a rusticated basement storey with pilasters at the angles and

with 3 large square-headed entrance doorways with smaller square windows between

them; in the piano nobile there are 4 windows flanked (=affiancate) by pilasters and

with strongly modeled straight entablatures acting as hood (=cappuccino) molding for

the windows; above this was planned at least one attic storey. This façade is very

different in rhythm to the Florentine one’s, because due to the 4 windows over 3 doors

it creates a zig-zag rhythm.

The courtyard, instead, clearly refers to Palazzo Medici, but the elements are handled

more skillfully. In both cases the ground floor consists of an open cloister with cross

vaults carried on columns; the piano nobile is closed in and has windows

corresponding to the arches. There are two strong entablatures.


Venice 15 - 16 century.

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The development of Venice architecture is similar to the one of Lombardy. The


venetian renaissance architecture at the beginning (14 century) integrates with

existing architecture, as in Milan, with some contradictions. In Venice Gothic tradition

was really strong, in the ‘400 Venice was a Gothic city. Local architectural tradition:

Gothic + Bizantine architecture.

When the fashion for the classical tradition gets to Venice, it is clear that antique

elements can be clarly adapted to Venetian tradition.


The typical venetian palace is very different from others Italian palaces, here we can

clearly understand how the palace is influenced by social, economic and climatic

factors. Almost every Venetian Palace is built on piles driven into water, which means

that there is not dry land on the open court. The political stability of Venice made it

also less necessary to fortified palaces. The venetian palace tends to be a single block

with a style deeply influenced by the trade: influence of Bizantine art, of northern

Europe Gothic ideas.

Usually Venetian palaces are vaulted only at ground floor and at the last floor/slab are

mostly wooden. Composite structure with stone facades and horizontal wooden

structure (light!), also wealthy palaces were like this, wooden foundations. This gives

possibility of openings.

The Doges’ Palace and the Basilica of Saint Mark were the most influencing buildings

for venetian architecture.

Ca’ d’Oro or Palazzo Pisani, 1427-1436 – we see the ingluence of the Doges’

Palace in the shape and size of the windows at the first floor: we see the device of the

double arcade with wide openings on the ground floor and smaller one right above it.

no central court, the ground floor is almost impossible to live.

The typical Venetian Palace has a large opening at water level with a flight of stairs

running up to an entrance hall and some store-rooms occupying the ground floor. The

piano nobile is even more important in Venetian Palaces and this leads to a further

characterization of the venetian palace: the tendency to divide the façade into 3

vertical elements. The main room of the first floor, the Gran Salone, occupies the

center of the façade, while smaller rooms on its sides. This means that the windows of

the Gran Salone, since it can be lit only from the front and the back, must be as big as

possible. Hence the most characteristic feature of the venetian palaces are the great

windows openings in the center of the façade.


This basic type remained unchanged till 18 century, when there were important

modifications, finalized in the systematization of the façade.


Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi (1500-1509) - This façade is very well symmetrically

disposed, the traditional position of the windows is stressed by the fact that the side

bays have a pair of columns, while the windows of the Gran Salone are separated only

by a column.

An architectural type typical of Venice is the type of the charitable foundation of

religious confraternities known as Scuola. These buildings were part hospital, part

schools, but served also as meeting plance. The most famous architecturally are the

Scuola di S. Marco and the Scuola di S. Rocco, which show the extreme conservatism

of venetian architects, coupled with the permanent ingluence of S. Mark, which

influenced almost all the venetian churches.

Church of S. Zaccaria - Another character of Venetian architecture: system of orders

for decorative value, no clear relationship between orders in the façade, rich

decorations. The question of proportion is still very irregular, the proportions between

the entablature and the columns are not fixed yet BUT rich ornamentation: there is not

space without ornaments. Instead of scrolls or triangular shape, there is another


Church of S. Michele Isola (Codussi’s first work in Venice) 1469 – it is

considered one of his finest works because the façade is one of the first marble

facades with antique character. This church was built on the small island which served

as cemetery, so it can be considered a mortuary chapel, and maybe this is the reason

why it is so simple and severe. Is very similar to Alberti’s Tempio Malatestiano.

San Salvatore 1507 – the main interest is that it involves the latin cross plan into a

new form derived directly from Saint Mark: it is a long nave made up of 3 interlocked

central plans, each of which has a large dome surrounded by four smaller domes

(Saint Mark + plan evolved in Milan by Filarete and Leonardo). The latin cross is then

obtained adding transepts and abses.

The north of Italy provides many examples of mixed style which is the result of the

application of classical principles of Tuscan architects to local decorative traditions.

One good example is the Colleone Chapel, Bergamo, 1470s, by Giovanni

Antonio Amedeo – it has a high octagonal drum with a dome and a lantern, which

derive from Florence cathedral. The façade shows decorative elements triumphing

over mathematical proportions.

Certosa di Pavia, 1481, by Giovanni Antonio Amedeo, but also most of the Milanese

architects, painters and sculptures were involved in it – the main lines of the design

are simple, but the façade has a scattered look due to the sculptures.

The most important influence in the north of Italy came from Sanmicheli and


Sansovino, which were active in Venice in the second quarter of the 16 century.

MICHELE SAN MICHELI – born in Verona, went to Rome, Orvieto

Michele San Micheli is the most important military engineer in Venice.

Cathedral of Montefiascone, Orvieto, 1527

Fort at Lido near Venice

Fortified gateways in Verona and elsewhere:

Porta Palio and Porta Nuova - A fortress must not only be strong, but must also

look strong and these gateways look impregnable thanks to the carefully considered

rustication, the banding of the columns and the heavy keystones over the small

arches. Porta Palio has a rusticated outer layer cut back to reveal further rustication,

giving the impression of solidity which is contrasted by the open arcade in the inner

side. Still the outer side is treated with the greatest richness possible in the Doric


In Verona he left 3 important palaces.

Palazzo Pompei, 1530s – it is a version of the Bramante’s House of Raphael but with

a slightly richer texture in keeping the north-italian taste. There are 7 bays with a main

entrance in the central one, which is slightly larger. The end of the building are closed

by a coupled column and pilaster. The even articulation stresses the center and the

ends of the building façade. This is probably due to the fact that the ground floor is

part of the palace, and is not used to host independent shops, which means that the

windows are a bit smaller and the main entrance larger.

The tendency to adapt Bramante’s House of Raphael for new purposes can be seen

also in Palazzo Canossa – here we see a departure from the roman palace in favor of

Peruzzi’s Farnesina. The back of the palace goes down to the Adige, so that the forth

wall is un-necessary and there is a three-sided court with the river at the rear. So in

some ways it recalls also Giulio Romano’s Palazzo Tè. The façade shows the basic

division into a rusticated basement and a smooth piano nobile with large windows

separated by pairs of pilasters. the windows and pilasters are treated in a way to

stress the horizontal direction, as Bramante did in the Belvedere.

Palazzo Bevilacqua 1540s – the façade is an extremely complex interplay of motifs

some of which can be traced directly back to Giulio Romano. The texture of the whole

is much richer: the rusticate dbasement is not only heavily textured, but has order of

banded pilasters and there are richly carved keystones on the windows head; windows

and door openings have an alternating rhythm, big-small, which is then repeated in

the piano nobile. Moreover there is not only the alternating rhythm, but there are

counter points introduced by the small pediments set over the small arches. Though

we think the palace should have been of 11 bays, and not 7, since the main entrance

is not placed in the center, but on the second bay. But this seems improbable, since

otherwise the palace should have been huge. Furthermore there is a great

complication added in the texture of the columns of the piano nobile, which are fluted

(fluting has rhythm on its own) and the entablature is very rich. As a result we have a

series of superimposing rhythms.

Palazzo Grimani – more conscious use of architectural orders (classical balconies,

entablature…), facade with no depth, slab of marble put in front of the other façade,

first and second floor are very open. Question of crowning of last entablature?

Relationship between floors: the dominance of noble floor is not so clear, because

ground floor is very open and decorated too. The main façade is very open also

because the side facades don’t get a lot of light.

Pellegrini Chapel, Verona, 1530s – the plan literally derives from the Pantheon,

stating the desire to emulate antiquity.

JACOPO SANSOVINO – Venice 1486-1570

Jacopo Sansovino is trained as a sculptor. He is formed by Bramante and thought of


himself as a classical architect. He went to Rome at the beginning of the 16 cent with

Giuliano da Sangallo, and thus came in the Bramantesque circle. In 1530s he became

the architect of the building of the Republic of Venice.

Library of S Marco (Libreria Sansoviniana)1537– The library was completed after

his death by Vincenzo Scamozzi. This library, also called Libreria Sansoviniana, is one

of the few buildings known by the name of its architect.

He had to design a building facing both St Mark and the Doges Palace, which should

stand up to both but at the same time not minimize their importance. His solution is a

very long façade which runs parallel to the one of the Doge’s Palace and which has a

matching return façade on the water’s edge. By keeping the roof line lower Sansovino

avoids to dominate the scene, but by using a great deal of decorative sculpture and

rich texture and shade he succeeded in holding his own to the facing palaces. The

details are very rich, but the heaviness of the Doric order has a Bramantesque feeling.

In the treatment of the façade Sansovino takes some liberties with the proportions of

the orders, and greater are the liberties taken in the piano nobile, which has a Ionic

order and therefore is taller than the ground floor portico. The portico in fact is not

really part of the building, since it was intended as a shelter for pedestrians. The

library is on the first floor, the difference in proportions is carried also by the smaller

arches of the library windows, supported by a separated smaller order. These Ionic

columns are fluted, so that they will not clash too obviously with the larger smooth

ones next to them. Above there is a large decorated entablature and frieze, pierced

with attic windows. The effect is of great simplicity, but, at the same time, of richness.

The use of small columns on the first floor windows reminds of the Palladian motive.

This building had to represent security, here Sansovino uses a rusticated language

both at ground and first floor. Correct sequence of rusticated: Dorico + rusticated

(lighter) + Ionic, rectangular openings with flat pediment: very sound structure. The

entablature of the last floor follows just the order and not the whole façade:

importance of central part. Biblioteca marciana – clear relationship between the two

parts: importance of humanist culture.

The Mint (La Zecca) – it was originally two storey high, its purpose was to hold the

bullion reserves of the Repubblic, so this building was and it looked strong. In 1545

Vasari says that Sansovino introduced the “Rustic Order” into Venice in this building

and it is certainly true that the heavy, banded columns are reminiscent of Palazzo Tè

and look forward the great popularity of rusticated columns all over Europe. The

introduction of this order into northern Europe is due to the textbook of Sebastiano


Loggia at the base of Campanile of St Mark – it was intended to harmonize the vertical

shaft of the tower with the very long horizontal of the library. The solution was a single

arcade form with an attic above it, which was divided into panels and ornamented with

reliefs. He uses a triumphal arch rhythm with niches containing statues, so that the

whole is reminiscent of the Library façade, but more decorated.

Palazzo Corner, palace of Cornaro family 1537 – this palace is the culmination of a long

sequence of attempts to regularize the Venetian palace type of which Palazzo

Vendramin-Calergi was a good example. In the Palazzo Corner he takes the rusticated

basement of the type of the House of Rapahel combined with the great triple-arches

entrance of Palazzo Tè. The ground floor has small windows with mezzanines above

them, the piano nobile and the floor above it are treated identically, with windows set

between pairs of columns, so that the 3 windows lighting up the Gran Salone are

almost indistinguishable from the others. On the other end the side windows have

separated balconies, while the Gran Salon has one balcony for the 3 windows,

emphasizing the typical central grouping and at the same time regularizing the

façade, as a whole. This palace became a standard type.

Sansovino and Sanmicheli are aware of the contemporary developments, but at very

little affected by them.


Santa Maria delle Carceri, Prato, 1485 – it resemble the experiments with centraly

planned Church carried out by Leonardo and Bramante in Milan.

His other most important works are Palazzo Gondi in Florence, the church of Prato and

the Sacristy he added to Brunelleschi’s church of Santo Spirito.

Sacristy of Santo Spirito – it resemble the Baptistery of Florence with the detailing

entirely in Brunelleschi’s manner. It is a pure Greek cross, from Brunelleschi, which

shows a ribed dome supported on pendentive, from Alberti’s San Sebastiano in

Mantua. The exterior is much weaker, with a awkwardly proportioned double order.

With him we see the culmination of the Early Renaissance ideas of classical lightness

and purity. The next stage will be reached by Bramante.


How many are the architectural orders? Which kind should we use? How should we use

them? How can we use their elements? Can we mix them? Can we use more than one

and how?

For many years these questions were critical because orders were considered the rout

of architecture. They were used to give a meaning (example: no Doric order in

churches dedicated to the Virgin because Doric was considered more masculine, but in

antiquity was not).

Orders are a product of history, defined by a set of elements, rules and uses which

changes in time.

They are 5. In modern history they are a recreation based on the antique. They are re-

created and actually don’t have a connection with antiquity. Orders are historical

recreation of the Renaissance.

“Rule of 5 orders of architecture”

Vignola, 1520-1530 - it gives a complete

system of the orders.

Experimentation on orders and on interpretation of Vitruvius orders, but with a fixed


Vitruvius idea of orders is quite different from our conception: with the orders he

identified the entire building. For Vitruvius there are 4 manners of designing the


These represent different modes of expressing architecture but are not very cheap, so

we have different interpretation during the Renaissance.

Most things that Vignola says are not so coherent with roman ruins, which are richer in

decorations and use orders in a different way. People in Renaissance had to deal with


Vignola’s system was more similar to the porch of the Pantheon (sacred building,

columnade, lintel etc)

Roman’s ruin: post and lintel, but orders not applied on the structure, they had a more

decorative function. Example: Coluseum + superimposition of orders on the same


Vignola doesn’t speak about more orders in the same façade and mixing of orders.

Alberti – question of orders.

He didn’t get to a definition of a system. For him orders are liked to columns, base and


capital. He is the first talking about the 5 order which he calls composite or italic

order (it is created by mixing elements of other orders).

Sant’Andrea, Mantova: no clear classification of Albertian capitals or orders, no

clear logic in proportions; example: shaft of columns with respect to the base it is

always different in Alberti’s works.

The proportion as a whole is still more important than the proportion of single


Study of proportions – series of painting about ideal cities: looking at single buildings

they are not proportioned. No common rule yet!!

The first architectural theorist on orders who states that orders can be defined by a


closed system is Sebastiano Serlio (first half 16 century): he published the

first synoptic tables!

He is ambiguous; he makes a project of 10 books on architecture, assigning the orders


to the 4 book, as Vitruvius, but he published it first.

In his book we see the first systematic approach on architectural orders; he tries to

give a common system for architecture.

He talks about the orders but he refers to the as the 5 manners of buildings: he still

calls it in the Vitruvian way and declares that most of what he says correspond to

Vitruvius. BUT the synoptic table is something completely new (capital, entablature

(which can be divided into 3 parts), column, pedestal all with different properties

according to the order) (1537).

His book will be translated in 4 languages, is the most published, after Vignola, for

more than a century.

1562 – Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola publishes a set of images with short

specification and text attached: “Regola dei 5 ordini di architettura”; used as

structural elements or applied elements, combination of elements, each element of

the orders have different proportions.

(written Alberti – wood cuts Serlio – copper hatching Vignola → high quality, last


Orders can be used structurally or as ornaments; when we use an order in columns,

then the order proportion defines the façade. The modulo of the order is the radius or

semi-diameter of colum at the foot of the column. The dimension of every element can

be defined by knowing the modulo (all fractions of modulo). In this way (modulo) are

independent from the scale, the important thing is to maintain the proportions. After

proportions are calculated then some changes can be made.

Used inside a hall they will end up by defining indirectly also the internal space, but

mostly for the façade. Interesting: orders don’t work with subdivision of simple

geometry; orders have their proportions and architecture has to adapt to them.

With Serlio and Vignola orders are put in a sequence which will remain the same for 3

centuries and which also probably stated the way they mixed them.

Vignola gives the way to draw all the orders, reason why he had so many editions


Difficulty of putting one order over the other in a façade, because also dimension of

arches changes, but this is not part of Vignola.

Palazzo of Villa Farnese - he uses the orders in a spectacular way showing that he

had found a quite fixed system. th

This is the system of expression the characterized all the architecture till 19 century

in eastern world (Europe + USA). This system was built up during a century, from

Brunelleschi to Vignola. th

The use of orders as the Greeks will be considered just around 17 century; Vitruvius

will not remain the main reference.


State of Milan, Duke of Sforza family, Ducato di Milano, II half of 15 century

Milan is mostly under Sforza, after was conquered by France in 1499. Sforza was one

of the major political players in Italy. Milan was an important commerce passage and

important artistic and architectural center.

Both Bramante and Leonardo Da Vinci pass from Milan.

Works in Milan had enormous influence, because it was a place of passage, also in

France (France Renaissance is deeply influenced by Milan). Due to the impression

made by the works of Da Vinci he was called as first engineer for the king of France.

Very established architecture and building traditions; best stone-cutters and important

renaissance and baroque architects come from Milan.

Here different materials from central Italy are used: brickworks, terracotta, marble

from Alps near Milan.

Duomo of Milan – main laboratory in northern Italy (uninterrupted building site)from

th th

middle of ‘300 to 18 century; façade from 19 century.

Enormous church → constructive problems. The problem of façade remained open till

almost contemporary times. The inside organization is strictly gothic, no antique



16 century important architectures around Milan follow models of central Italy.


Certosa di Pavia, 1481 – monastery, it was already existing, inside is gothic but the

façade is in renaissance style. Most of the Milanese architects, painters and sculptures

were involved in it – the main lines of the design are simple, but the façade has a

scattered look due to the sculptures.

Characteristic role of ornaments→ the quantity of ornaments prevails over the

structure. Statues all around the façade linked to architectural part; gothic use of

ornaments which are inspired by the antique. Gothic in the sense of “need of filling up

every empty space”. Single elements come from antique, Florentine tradition,

Brunelleschi and Alberti (there is a small influence of Venitian gothic and Bizantine


Strong presence of gothic taste + influence of central Italy + Venice gothic ≠ Santa

Maria Novella where there is a rich decoration but clearly defined structure. Same

portal, both arch and order BUT in Certosa the windows have the same importance of

pillars which host statues (structure + decoration).There are pinnacols, from gothic

architecture. Multiple arches, which are round, as antique tradition, but are an

experimentation of multiple openings of gothic tradition. NO clear structural

definition; structure is defined by ornaments and not by orders. Renaissance influence

is everywhere, but not clearly defined due to the high use of antique ornaments. The

loggia is from antiquity. The sides are not in clear relationship with the central part,

combination of different elements. Every ornament comes from antiquity, but the way

they are used is different from renaissance tradition.

The interior is gothic: ribbed vaults, poli-lobed pillars (= every structural element goes

down and together form the pillar). Amedeo is more a sculpture than an architect.

Cappella Colleoni 1470s Bergamo – it represent the link between Lombardy,

Tuscany and Venice traditions. It has a high octagonal drum with a dome and a

lantern, which derive from Florence cathedral.

Is a very rich chapel for the cathedral. The structure of the chapel is very simple, but

the simplicity of structure is cancelled by the complexity of decorations. The elements

seem to float on the wall. Pinacols without structural value, just decorative. (In a

gothic structure pinacols are developed as structural mean to provide vertical load to

prevent moving or opening of the walls. In the chapel the pinacol is simply

decorative.). The façade shows decorative elements triumphing over mathematical

proportions.Every part is decorated, even the interior of the rose window.

The 3 most influential Florentine artists which worked in Milan were Michelozzo,

Leonardo da Vinci and Filarete.


Castello Sforzesco, Milan 1460s – it shows Florentine forms combined with Gothic

decorative elements

FILARETE (Antonio Averlino)

We have similar combinations between antique and gothic traditions in Filarete’s


His earliest surviving major work is the bronze doors of the Old Saint Peter.

He arrived in Lombardy in 1456 where he began to built the Ospedale Maggiore, which

is now part of the University of Milan. He gave the project for this hospital in the

design of a city invented by him: Sforzinda. Before beginning the design he visited two

great hospitals: the hospital of Florence and the one of Siena.

Ospedale Maggiore – The building was planned as a cross in a square, with the

hospital church standing in the center of the design and being itself a central plan

building. This church had tower on each angle, as Portinari Chapel of Michelozzo. Also

in Filarete work we see that he tried to impose classical forms on the Gothic-mind

craftsmen, but he failed.

So again we have a combination of classical and gothic elements.

Brunelleschi’s portico (Ospedale degli Innocenti) with a fully gothic first floor: bifore,

terracotta mouldings, pointed arches BUT at the center of the façade there is an

antique fully developed order which frame two windows.

(Antique + gothic → tipical of Lombardy architecture and Venice architecture.)

Bricks and terracotta were also materials for decorations → different colors of

Lombardy architecture. The terracotta elements are created from mouldings so usually

they are repetitive. The elements come from the orders.

Relatively small importance to structure + rich decoration is also typical of French

renaissance architecture (combination of their tradition + Milan influence) castle Alzay

de Rideau and Castle Chambord. → example of how decorative taste can change,

without changing the constructive manners.

Massive importance to architectural ornaments.

Cappella Portinari, Basilica of Sant’ Eustorgio 1460s – unknown architect Was

attributed to Michelozzo, but not nowadays, probably is by Solari or Filarete. The

attribution to Michelozzo has a political reason: Portinari was the agent of Medici in

Milan, so when he paid for a chapel he wanted to have a clear influence of Tuscan


It is a brunelleschian type of design, square plan with a dome over it supported on

pendentives, but it also has four small towers at each corner, typical of Lombardy.

Same composition of San Lorenzo, same use of round arches, same use of order,

richer decoration, but clear and simple. The structure defines the space, not the


The architecture of more gothic taste is the one hosting some reliquie. He officially

represent Tuscan architecture in Milan. Also the dome is similar to the dome of

Cappella Pazzi by Brunelleschi: dome “a creste e vele”.

From gothic elements: mullioned windows with pointed arch etc… but it does not

change the general appearance. ≠ different insertion of a drum between the dome

and pendentives = portion of a sphere cut vertically and horizontally that allows the

passage from a square plan to a round one for the dome.

Exterior. More expression of Lombardy tradition: pinacols + lantern (which should be

classical) transformed in the fifth pinacol.

Tiburium → the dome is not fully developed outside, but only inside. Outside the dome

is closed in a “box”. Most medieval domes (Romanesque or gothic) are enclosed in a

tiburium, which has pinacols as structural function. Is the alternative to fully developed


Filarete wrote an important treaty which has numerous images. It consists of 25 books:

the first is an architectural treaty based on the theories of Alberti. The second part of

the treaty is an elaborate fairy-tale about an imaginary city called Sforzinda. Here we

find long descriptions of the city: star-shaped city plan, and long description of


buildings. In the 11 book we find the description of the Ospedale Maggiore and some


drawings. In the 14 book there is the description of the Golden Book, found while

digging in the foundations of Sforzinda; this book contains description of antique

buildings: this shows how for Filarete the remain of antiquity had a magical quality

which deserved to triumph over the barbarous Gothic.


He worked on a series of centrally planned architectural drawings, evolving also a new

type of representation. Most of his drawings show complex plans and then show the

building at bird eye view, so that it is possible to have a complete idea of the 3D

shape. His drawing were of great importance for Bramante.


…in Milan.

Bramante arrives in Milan in 1476. When he gets to Milan he has probably never

worked as an architect, he works as a painter. He was probably the pupil of Piero della

Francesca and of Mantegna. He starts working as a painter for civil architecture. He is

known as a master in perspective painting. He started dealing with architecture

through painting and perspective. Bramante was a specialist in painted architecture.

He is important for the evolution of perspective.

Ancient ruins as model, aestetic quality + finish architecture

S. Bernardino da Siena, painting attributed to Bramante, Urbino - Collage

between ancient and modern, theatrical scenery.(Piero della Francesca is the master of

perspective as a scientific instrument and tool for the definition of special space.)

These works were accessible to people that could go to the collection of Dukes and

important people. Reason why the diffusion takes place in certain locations instead of

others, and there were very few artists which could access to those works.

Painter Andrea Mantegna (Venice and Lombardy).

→ The only worked signed by Bramante before the experience in Rome is “Incisione

Prevedari”, engraving, drew by Bramante and engraved by Prevedari, 1480. What

does it show? Competent architectural design, a temple in ruins. Theme of

“architettura all’antica” + elements of northern architecture, as rich decoration.

As architect he rarely follows the works on building site, he is responsible for the

projects, but we don’t know for sure till which point the construction follows his


Santa Maria presso Santo Spirito (reconstruction) – Church probably designed

not by Bramante, it has a very simple form: one nave directly connected to the chapel

→ very unique solution: T shaped plan + sacristy on a side. Thinks that make this

church important for the future: the east end is constructed as a perspective illusion:

the east end could not be built in the regular way because of a narrow street running

at the end of the building; in order to maintain the ideal spatial effect of the choir,

nave and transept Bramante had to evolve an ingenious illusion: he built a false choir

3D perspective representation to suggest the idea of an altar housing a space behind,

choir dimensions are consistent with the one of the church. Greek cross plan in a

square inside a circle, from early Christian design and from Florentine tradition.

Another reason why this church is important is because it contains the germ of

Bramante’s idea for Saint Peter and because it represent a direct ancestor of many

th th

churches built in Italy in the 16 17 cent.

Self-awareness of Bramante who knows really good how to build up visual

appearances, declaration of technical ability. Probably the exterior of the chapel was

remodeled under Bramante.

th th

5 and 6 cent buildings were for Bramante the examples of good architecture, since

they are his inspiration.

The exterior of S. Satiro clearly show the Florentine influence. Bramante expressed the

cross-in-circle plan by developing the building in 3 stages: the lowest is cylindrical in

shape, with niches between pair of pillars, the second storey consist of the four arms

of the Greek cross (each containing a window) rising above the cylinder, with gabled

roof; at the point where the roof meet there is a square and then an actagonal drum

with windows alternating between pilasters. Above a circular lantern. Decorative

elements are Lombard, but the overall effect is Florentine.

Santa Maria delle Grazie – Dominican basilica convent, 5 naves church builted with

gothic pointed arch structure. Bramante gives a completely different interpretation of

apses, dome (1480) and presbytery. The patrons are the Dukes. Bramante and Da

Vinci worked on it.

It seems almost an independent building from the church. Externally is not so

satisfying. Inside is better, much decoration represents Bramante’s desire. The effect

is that of lightness and clarity given by geometric patterns.

Large volume with dome on pendentives (18m diameter), interesting structure, many

elements of Roman architecture. Round arches defined by walls. Enlarged presbytery

with semicircular abs with half dome with coffering.

(plan) very different languages. Interesting solution of architectural elements: cupola,

umbrella vault, recalling Brunelleschi’s creste e vele, but square plan (new solution!),

umbrella vault in the tiburium.

Exterior – probably Bramante is not responsible for the project of the interior and of

the decorative elements and the exterior is a consequence of the interior: rich

traditional Lombard decorative system which changes in each level. The entablature is

nearer to gothic than classical tradition. The transept is simply a semi-cylinder. These

kind of plans were very simple spaces, but hierarchical (dome, transept…).

After he went to Rome he stopped use this kind of decoration, trying to make his style

heavier and grander, more similar to the monuments from roman antiquity.

Cloisters (3) of Sant’Ambrogio – episcopal complex of Milan’s bishop. Is an

experiment in practical way about the orders.

1. Porta della Canonica – it consists of a series of round-headed arches supported

by columns, with a much larger arch in the center supported by squared piers; it

seems a combination of the cloister of the Foundling Hospital and the colonnade

of San Lorenzo in Milan. Interesting are the columns!

Example: we find a column in a form of a tree which represent a perfect reflection from

the theoretical text weather the orders come from nature or not.

2. The Doric part of the Old Monastery of San Ambrogio. The Doric Cloister is one

of his finest and most mature creations. Probably the most visible influence on it

is the court of Palace of Urbino + Foundling Hospital. The vaults of the cloister

are supported on dosserets above the columns and the columns are linked by a

continuous base. The angle is not a pier, nut a column as in the Florentine type.

The windows of the upper floor do not come at the center of the arch, and are

separated by small pilasters. (from Urbino).

3. Ionic Cloister

…In Rome.


State of Papacy, but not Vatican state: from near Naples to Ancona, Rimini, Bologna,

dominion changed, but still pretty extended. Bramante is received here in 1503, no

more than 10 years: his stay in Rome during papacy Giulio II or Giuliano della Rovere:

one of most important rulers and art and architectural patrons of Renaissance, he is so

important that what happens between 1503-1520 is probably the most important

period for a city till Avanguard. He was patron of Michelangelo, Raffaello and

Bramante: they were in the right place at the right time! What was built in Rome in

this period became the new standard for architecture.

First decade of ‘500: Sistine chapel, Raffaello’s room painted etc. important figure in

European politics.

Bramante evolves in the way he uses orders and architectural elements. He uses

thickness of walls as a form that can be sculpted and modeled.

Cloister of the Church of Santa Maria della Pace – Is similar to the cloister of

Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, but there is also the influence of Roman buildings such as the

Theatre of Marcellus. It is on two floors, it breaks the rule of “void over void and solid

over solid” adapting the scheme of the Milanese cloister and in the upper floor

removing the wall and leaving only a central column, due to structural reasons.

There is the superimposition of 2 orders: a Ionic order at first floors, with an interesting

solution in the corner, Corinthian at second floor; they are in sequence also in a

tectonic way (tectonic = good use both in structure and decoration). Second floor: post

and lintel architecture, no arch + independent structural entablature. We can perfectly

recognize the orders, this is a simple and precise exercise in architectural language.

Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio 1502 - Bramante’s most important building!

It is built for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in a spot where it was believed that S.

Peter was crucified there so this place became sacred. The significance of all the

temples outside churches means that this church is also a burial place. Round plan is

associated to burial places as in antiquity sacred places and event, usually martyrdom.


The inspiration for all the 16 cent circular churches is the Pantheon.


Palladio’s 4 book (1570) is dedicated to ancient temples (the best of the best), they

are all ancient buildings, except for one: the Tempietto; Bramante was seen as having

reached the quality of ancient architecture. This has a value independently from the


The Tempietto consists of two cylinders, the peristyle and the cella: the peristyle being

low and wide, the cella tall and narrow; the width of the peristyle is equal to the height

of the cella, excluding the dome. The dome is hemispherical externally and internally.

(Probably inspiration is taken from the Tmeple of the Sybil at Tivoli)

The plan deals with complicated problems because the ring of 16 granite columns

cannot be represented inside so they are represented by 16 pilasters projected, while

inside 8 pilasters represented two by two in an alternative rhythm. All the elements of

the orders are perfectly recognizable, but not Vignolesque, perfect representation of

structure through architectural orders. Walls are not defined as a 2D element, but it is

continuous and seen as 3D place, wall seen as something that can be modeled,

different constructive culture (cement).

The Tempietto is the first modern building to employ the Tuscan order correctly.

Bramante used it because it was appropriate to the character of Peter, but he went

further with the treatment of the frieze, which is carved with alternating metopes and

triglyphs. Also in the Tempietto we find the germ for the grandiose design of Saint


Bramante (1508-1512)

House of Raphael 1512 – it influenced all the palaces for the next two centuries. It is

based on the classical prototype of the insula. The basic idea of a row of shops with

above the living quartes is not new, what is new is the simplification and strict

symmetry of the design.

The ground floor has heavy rustication, a smooth course of stone separates it from the

piano nobile, where there is a Doric order and the windows are framed by a

tabernacle. All the windows have a triangular pediment, so that when an element has

been established it can be repeated. There is a great contrast between the shops and

the living quarters. Every element is clearly distinguishable.

The principles of symmetry, repetition of identical elements and clarity of functions are

Bramante’s main contribution to palace design.

Bramante made also a considerable work for the Vatican Palace. Unfortunately most of

his work for the Vatican Palace has been altered.

Cortile del belvedere – Landscape project, more than architectural. Reorganization

of the papal court right beside S.Peter and Papal palace. Series of arcaded buildings to

house different functions of the palace – multifunctional building complex which

Bramante organizes in a hierarchical way. Is a vast terrace (300 yards) open space,

vast ramp (it’s possible to go with horses).

The most interesting features of Belvedere is how Bramante treated a long plain wall.

The texture of the side walls is enlivened by the contrast between the channeled joints

of the masonry walling with the smooth surfaces of the arches and pilasters on top of

it. the pilasters are paired with a single break of the entablature, although each

pilaster retains a separate base. Between each pair of pilasters is a round-headed

arch. The whole is divided according the Golden Section. This treatment is similar to

Alberti’s Sant’Andrea in Matua inside walls.

Antique models both in architectural elements and decorations (drawinf of Serlio).

Groundfloor: twin Corinthian columns which recall triumphal arch (model of Vignola)

but more of that models Palestrina del Santuario della Fortuna Primigenia: ancient

temple near Rome. Bramante is again working on a grand scale project, modifying


Bramante’s spiral staircase: first example of superposition of 4 orders one over the

other, the order change every 8 columns (Toscanico, Dorico, Ionico, Corinzio), but just

base and capital change.

Palazzo Caprini (for a member of the papal court) - Built very near to Saint Peter.

Perfection of aristocratic palace, interesting use of orders + stressing of importance of

piano nobile. Two stories façade, twin columns, Doric order applied to the wall on a

rusticated base → contrast between rusticated base and finished first floor will have

enormous fortune in the ‘500 (Palazzo Medici: different level of rustication – Alberti’s

façade: ok, but question of the orders)

Base: groundfloor + mezzanine. Can be of any height, no specific decorative elements.

Main floor: defined by the orders. Orders stands on a very solid base: practical and


expressive solution. This will be used as a model during the 16 century (Palladio,

Palazzo Portofesta, Vicenza)

Bramante (dead 1513) was a very self-sure architect commissioned by Giulius II (dead

1512). Continuity after their deaths due to presence of artistic and architectural

workshop in Rome: Raphael workshop.

“Life of the artist”, Vasari

“Life of Raphael”, Vasari: Raphael was very famous, first page is dedicated to his death

in 1520, he dies very young; at his death monument of self-recognizing between artist

and …: they understood an important figure had disappeared + something in

architecture has happened. Bramante and Raffaello reached such a high point that

they became models for contemporary architecture. They didn’t define new rules or

wrote treaties, their works were important! 1502 – 1527 most important years of

Renaissance after Brunelleschi. Rome is the capital of Renaissance art and architecture



Raphael was born in Urbino, as Bramante: influence, artists tend to form communities,

so for sure when Raphael went to Rome, Bramante acted as his protector, also due to

the provenience.

Raphael is a painter, but he studied and moved in central Italy in the open context of

painted architecture, which was part of the role of the painters (perspective). Raphael

drew and painted architectures and architectural places. He was disciple of Parugino,

who painted ideal urban spaces with ideal temple + 2 triumphal arches: perfect

control of space; it reminds of the Baptistery of Florence + orders, typical ‘400

building. At the beginning of ‘500 Perugino will start drawing more massive, solid

structures + thin structures.

Raphael gets to Rome in 1509, his career as architect is enclosed in the 11 years he

was in Rome. Before he was known as a painter. (Bramante was in Rome for 10 years).

He built 3 palaces, a chapel and a villa, determining a new style in architecture.

Raphael sign the beginning of a richer and more dramatic style of architecture: the


Chapel in Sta Maria del Popolo for Agostino Chigi – the shape is very similar to S

Eligio, but here we have a greater richness.

Interesting architectural scale, octagonal (4 pillars) supporting arches, pendentives,

drum, dome. Pillars → saint peter pillars + sequence of architectural elements as saint

peter. He defines architectural elements with respect to decorations. Architecture

thought with respect to decorations.

He isolates architectural frame, wall step back and architectural frame becomes visible

even if decoration is very rich, elements are clearly separate and recognizable (1516-


Bramante and Raffaello re-define antiquity and antique model in respect to different

building types and language… made it in a complete system of contemporary

architectural expression.

Palazzo Vidoni-Caffarelli – here the basic elements don’t vary a lot from the palace

prototype, which was his house.

Palazzo Branconio dell’Aquila – known to us from drawings and engravings; it is

altogether different from the House of Raphael. We should in fact compare the

facades of these two buildings in order to see the differences. Palazzo Branconio is

much richer in texture and in the amount of decoration applied on the surfaces; the

decoration of this palace cannot be said to be structural at all → MAIN DIFFERENCE! An

example is the way in which the columns have been moved from the piano nobile to

the ground floor; so the columns seem to support the upper part of the building, which

is exactly what they do not do, since each of them has an empty niche right above. In

the windows pattern there is the alternation of triangular and segmental pediments

and decorative swags (=festoni).

Extreme richness + deliberate inversion of the functions of architectural elements are

typical of Mannerism.

Mannerism is between the renaissance and the baroque. Mannerists artists thought of

themselves as practising a classical style. What is interesting is that the way in which


they changed intentions (16 cent) led them to look for features of antique

architecture which have been neglected before.

The first great treaties on architecture were written at this time (Serlio, Palladio,


This new style was due to a number of factors of which the most important are the

personality of Michelangelo and the fact that the classic style of Bramante and the

early Raphael must have seemed not able to evolve toward something new. There was

so the need to find a more exciting style.

Other reasons why the Mannerist style expanded were the crisis of Reformation and

th th

Counter-Reformation, which divided the Europe for the 16 and 17 centuries. Though

it is not enough to justify the expansion of this style.

Raphael paintings at the Pinacoteca di Brera.

Not orthogonal structure, it is a round temple (reference to Bramante), Ionic order,

different use of shade and point of view: is lower, temple seems to be more massive.

“Lo sposalizio mistico della vergine di Brera”: painting + tempietto = contemporary.

A comparison…


Villa Madama Belvedere

Palazzo Jacopo da Brescia Palazzo Caprini

Cappella di Santa Maria del Popolo Saint Peter

Raphael during the last years of his life will be charged to work on S. Peter, he design

a new project.

Palazzo Pandolfini, Florence – simpler version of Palazzo Branconio, adapted to

Forentine taste and to the idea of villa standing in the country.

The development of the villa in Italy is pretty interesting, since, on one side, it looks

back to the roman villa, on the other it looks forward to a new class which derives

directly on the principles to be laid down by Palladio. One of the finest of these is Villa

Madama by Raphael and others.

Villa Madama out side Rome 1518 – For the cardinal Giulio de Medici, who became

Pope. The original intention was to re-create a classical villa with an enormous circular

courtyard and with a great garden like an amphitheatre terraced into the hillside. Only

half of the building was erected.

There was an important model: the Villa Farnesina (Villa Chigi) by Baldassarre Peruzzi

(1510). Raphael worked as a painter in Villa Farnesina, his work is the result of an

antiquarian culture but also something new. (Difference between villa and palace: villa

usually open on garden, ground floor might be more important than first floor, not

fortified usually, one story buildings.)

Villa Madama is so important since the loggia contains the most magnificent painting

decoration carried out by Raphael and his pupil in a direct imitation of the Golden

House of Nero.

Plan: there are 2 entrances, idea of theatrical sequence of spaces, each one with

different forms following an axis which allows to go through the whole complex. In the

middle great round courtyard. Reconstruction of antique theater resting on a hill side

+ loggia + gardens + water ponds under loggia. Massive roman structure, round

arches, grotesque decorative motives.

Raphael used a lot grotesque decoration = kind of ornament found in a grotto in this

years, since this decorations were very bizarre and particular, reason why grottesco

means bizzarro.

Peruzzi draws and adaptation of the palace to the villa. Symmetrical but articulated,

open toward internal garden, 2 tuscanic orders.

Raphael uses the Belvedere (use of landscape with ramps and terraces) + Palestrina

Palazzo Jacopo da Brescia (doctor of court) demolished in 1930 - The mode of

Caprini is recognizable and it evolves: pilasters, not columns, second story: attic order

is an abstract idea of an order. In Florentine palaces the main entablature was on the

roof, here the main entablature in on piano nobile, elegant side façade. Nothing is

regular in the plan but the language is of extreme regularity.

On the small façade wider opening to solve the problem of importance.


Excavation in Rome → statues come out. It intensify some characters of ancient art

representing virtuosity but also disharmony. It seems in line with Michelangelo

experiment. th

“Laoconte” (a servant killing a man with his son) it becomes the symbol for 16

century artists: even horrible events could be transformed in art. No compositional

rules will apply to this statue.

1499-1547 Giulio Romano will represent the same episode in a suburban palace:

Palazzo The. The sign that time is changing, and politics to, is the publication of a book

(1528) by a diplomatic, who had travelled a lot: Baldassarre Castiglione (it had more

than 100 editions) “Il libro del cortigiano”, in form of dialogue about manners, about

the way an influent person should behave in public life.

Baldassarre Castiglione has worked for many years for many Italian states and abroad.

Political system was more and more centered on the court = political and social

entourage of a family. Most of European states were administrated and were in the

hands of courts and families; there was hierarchy.

This political system, based on courts, was building also a diplomatic system between

families of different states, economic common language, increasingly homogeneous

political culture. People as Baldassarre Castiglione were responsible for these changes

and cared about defining them.

Once this political system is fixed then a palace changes. Example: Palazzo Madama

staircase is a diplomatic gesture, is an updating of a medieval buiding to make it

function as a diplomatic seat. (A royal palace in Europe worked in the same way:


staircase from ground floor to 1 floor with a landing in the middle).




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+1 anno fa

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in architettura (I Facoltà di Architettura e II Facoltà di Architettura)
A.A.: 2018-2019

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher alessiachiambretto di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di History of architecture e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Politecnico di Torino - Polito o del prof Piccoli Edoardo.

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