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RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE. 8 Renaissance a very brief introduction. Renaissance, meaning rebirth, is the name given to the cultural movement that had.

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Presentation on theme: "RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE. 8 Renaissance a very brief introduction. Renaissance, meaning rebirth, is the name given to the cultural movement that had."— Presentation transcript:



3 8 Renaissance a very brief introduction. Renaissance, meaning rebirth, is the name given to the cultural movement that had its earliest beginnings around the time of Giotto (c. 1266-1337), lasting through to Raphael (1483-1520) and Palladio (1508-1580) The movement began as a northern Italian phenomenon, centred on the city states of Florence and Siena. The Renaissance was funded by increased wealth and trade, which made the role of patrons such as the Church and powerful families, including the Medici, very important Significantly, this era marked a break with traditional medieval and Gothic architecture, described by contemporary writer Vasari as 'barbaric'. Instead, artists and architects (who often performed both roles) began to study the remains of the Classical past - Brunelleschi, for example, spent long periods measuring and drawing the relics of Rome Buildings began to feature rounded arches, domes, triangular pediments, and Classical columns. Further, buildings (in plan and elevation) came to be composed through geometrically pure shapes, such as squares and circles in an attempt to convey a sense of harmony, and - even “perfection”. Such techniques were accompanied by the discovery of the mathematics of perspective, allowing paintings and depictions of buildings to convey a lifelike sense of depth. The term 'Renaissance' refers to the flourishing of the arts during the 15th and 16th centuries - embracing architecture, sculpture, painting and the idea of perfection. As well as characterizing the design of individual buildings, Renaissance ideas influenced urban design and planning. In 1458 Pope Pius II ordered the reconstruction of his birthplace, Pienza, based on Renaissance values. Arguably the only town entirely laid out along geometrically pure linesis Valetta in Malta, designed by Francesco Laparelli in 1566. Piero delia Francesca's painting The /deal City (C. 1470) is a powerful expression of this vision of urban purity. BIOGRAPHIES: FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI 13'77-1446 Architect and sculptor; architect of the cupola (dome atop the cathedral in Florence LEON BATTISTA ALBERTI 1404-72 Architect and architectural theorist. Renaissance architects deployed Classical features and pure geometric forms to create an impression of harmony.


5 8. RENAISSANCE –ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER The Renaissance movement, which began in Italy early in the fifteenth century, created a break in the continuous evolution of European architecture which, springing from Roman and proceeding through Early Christian and Romanesque, had, during the Middle Ages, developed into Gothic in each country on national lines. Italy, which was still rich in her ancient Roman monuments, was naturally the pioneer in the Renaissance movement, especially as the Gothic style had never taken firm root in a country which had always clung to her old traditions. Though there was a ready reversion to Classic architectural forms, Gothic methods of construction often prevailed, because Roman methods of building in concrete had fallen into disuse during the Middle Ages. Thus did Classic style and forms triumph once again in spite of the prevalence for centuries of Gothic methods of construction, for which the Romans themselves had prepared the way. The two old systems were pressed into service to produce a style which, though it might be Gothic in construction, was outwardly Classic in character. The salient characteristic of this new departure was the employment of the Classic Roman "Orders" of architecture, which were now reintroduced after having been in abeyance for nearly 1,000 years. These " Orders " -Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite-which were standardised by Renaissance architects, such as Palladio, Vignola, Scamozzi and Chambers, were used, as by the Romans, both constructively and decoratively. It is a mistake, however, to suppose that mere copyism prevailed, for, although Roman precedent was followed, columns and entablatures appear in novel combinations for use in buildings designed to meet the requirements of the day.


7 Thus was the style evolved which has formed the basis of most modern architecture. Renaissance architecture instead of being the outcome of traditional methods, followed by the building crafts in general, now became rather the studied product of individual architects who with their pupils formed, as it were, schools of design. Italy was ripe, as we have seen, for this new phase; for the arts were in the hands of skilled craftsmen, goldsmiths, and workers in metals, such as Benvenuto Cellini, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Brunelleschi, who looked on architecture as an art of form rather than of construction, and indeed were often, at the same time, painters and sculptors as well as architects. The various schools of painting likewise had their influence, so that buildings came to be treated very much as pictures, largely independent of structural necessity, which had been the controlling element in Mediaeval times. Thus, by a reversal of the mediaeval process, architecture became an art of free expression, with beauty of design as the predominant idea. Renaissance architects consciously relied on a studied treatment of wall surface in mas­sive, rusticated masonry as an architectural "motif" as seen in the Ric­cardi, the Strozzi, and the Pesaro palaces. They also adopted the Byzantine treatment of domes over square compart­ments, and by increasing the height of the " drum" and decorating it, not only with windows, but also with the now inevitable columns, they made the domes external dominating features. The pointed arch, which may be regarded as the sign-manual of Gothic archi­tecture, was now ousted by the semicircular Roman arch. Gothic ribbed vaulting, too, which was such a striking feature of Mediaeval buildings, now gave place to the ancient Roman semicircular vaults and cross- vaults. Cross-vaults of unequal span but equal height had the larger vault formed as an ellipse by means of " ordinates," so that the groins followed straight lines on plan instead of wavy lines as in the Romanesque period. This vaulting, which was often formed of timber framing plastered and richly painted, was much used in the halls, corridors and grand staircases of Renaissance buildings.


9 The Baroque (Fr., bizarre or fantastic) was a new phase of architectural development, which, in later Renaissance times, was revealed first in Rome and afterwards spread throughout Europe. Sometimes loosely called the Rococo style, it arose in the seventeenth century, when the true Renaissance had exhausted its energy and succumbed to the formal rules and monotonous regulations of schoolmen and Classicists, notably Palladio and Vignola, who, however, were themselves greater than the rules they formulated. The Baroque was perhaps chiefly the outcome of reaction against the blind worship of Vitruvius, the Roman architect of the Augustan age, who had laid down rules and whose latter-day sixteenth-century disciples handed out prescriptions for building which killed the vital spark of the true Renaissance spirit. Thus, when the spirit of art which gave it life had died down, schoolmen and Classicists sought to revive it and to bind it on the nation by insisting on the letter of the law which killed it. But the men of the free cities of Italy loved freedom and would not submit to the dead hand in art. The bookish formality in design had tended to reduce architecture to a lifeless product uninspiring in aspect, against which it is not surprising that the beauty-loving Italians should after a time have risen in revolt. They were weary of lifeless conventions, and they rose against the tyranny of stereotyped rules and standards of proportion. They demanded freedom -freedom in plan, in design, and in ornament. Thus, in the fullness of time the Renaissance style suffered a new change and passed into the Baroque, which at the beginning of the seventeenth century gave expression once again to the human side in architecture, for it was a spontaneous breaking away from orthodoxy in plan, design, and treatment. It is at its best an assertion of freedom, and at its worst a lapse into licence. This spirit of artistic independence was often expressed in sinuous frontages, over-bur­dened decoration, and apparent disregard of true constructive principles. There was often a straining after originality for its own sake which was apt to detract from the general unity of the design. Other features of the Baroque style consist of columns with twisted shafts, often placed in front of pilasters with cornices broken round them, and surmounted by curved and broken pediments, huge wavy scrolls, and flying figures in dangerous-looking positions. Baroque interiors were often laden with exaggerated and unsuit­able detail of carved ornament emphasised by gilding and accompanied by sculptured figures in contorted attitudes.


11 The Baroque movement, in spite of its many and glaring defects: has perhaps been treated too harshly by critics, who have seized upon its faults without realising its genesis, as a breaking away from a type of architecture which had suppressed any efforts in novelty of design. Many a Baroque building, more especially in Italy, not only exhibits grandeur of general scheme, but also displays new possibilities in treatment and has sometimes been described as the architecture of the curved line. The Baroque treatment runs through the design and detail of the new villas and gardens of Italy which were built to meet the growing desire for freer life away from narrow streets and frowning prison palaces. The style itself is expressive of the joie de vivre, the spirit which inspired the desire for country life in the villas round Rome and in the pleasant Tuscan country. In designing these country residences the architects of the later Renaissance period could throw off the double restraint imposed by city sites, and the villas, summer-houses, gardens, fountains, and terraces as seen in the Villa Lante, Bagnaia, bear testimony to the architectural revolt which was abroad in the country. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that this latest phase of Renaissance was a joyous outburst of art which was mundane in conception, often florid in execution, and always intolerant of restraint. In spite of these characteristics, it was largely adopted for church architecture at this period in Italy, when the Church too was in joyous mood; inasmuch as it had successfully resisted the Reformation movement, and its coffers were enriched from so many sources that it was able to spend large sums on building both churches and palaces. It is nothing short of paradoxical that the Baroque style should have been seized upon by the Jesuits for their own, to such an extent that it became known as the Jesuit style of architecture; yet there is nothing Jesuitical about it, except perhaps that as Jesuits embodied resistance to austerity in religion, so the Baroque style was a revolt against the same qualities in later pedantic Renaissance art. Why should an art of such a nature have been forced to do service for churches, convents, and the cloistered life? The explanation is probably the usual one that applies to architectural style, and that is that it was the style of the time, and as such the Jesuits turned it to their own use and harnessed it vaingloriously to the triumphal car of their Church which they had saved from Reformation attack. As in the Mediaeval period all buildings, ecclesiastical and secular, were in the Gothic style, so in this later time all sorts of buildings were Baroque.

12 ENGLISH RENAISSANCE - ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER From Italy, where it had its origin about. 1400, the Renaissance movement travelled to the sister Latin country of France; to Germany, which, through the universities, welcomed the new movement; to the Netherlands, and to Spain. Not until a century after its birth in Florence did it make its first appearance in England in the famous Tomb of Henry VII (. 1509), which was a tentative display of a style which afterwards secured a firm footing, as suitable for the magnificent country mansions and stately town houses of the substantial professional and trading families which were rapidly forming England's new nobility. English Renaissance architecture may be divided as follows: Early Renaissance(Elizabethan; Jacobean 1560-1625) Late Renaissance {Stuart 1625-1702) GeorgIan (1702-1830)


14 EARLY RENAISSANCE Elizabethan Architecture.-The reign of Elizabeth (. 1558-1603) wit­nessed the establishment of the Renaissance style in England. Elizabethan architecture, which followed the Tudor, was a transition style with Gothic features and Renaissance detail, and in this respect it bears the same relation to fully developed English Renaissance as the style of Francis I does to fully developed French Renaissance. The zeal for church building in the Middle Ages in England had provided churches which remained sufficient for popular needs, and thus Elizabethan architecture was secular rather than ecclesi­astical in its nature, and was the outcome of the needs of a time when powerful statesmen, successful merchants, and the enriched gentry required mansions suitable to their new position, and these were built in England, as in France, mainly in the country, in contrast to the churches and palaces of the cities in Italy. These great houses throughout the English country-side displayed many new combinations of features. Externally towers, gables, parapets, balustrades, and chimney-stacks produced an effective skyline, and walls were enlivened by oriel and bay-windows with mullions and transoms, while internally the same style applied to fittings, furniture, and decoration, made for repose, dignity and uniformity. Elizabethan mansions were set in a framework of formal gardens in which forecourts, terraces, lakes, fountains, and yew hedges of topiary work combined to make the house and its surroundings one complete and harmonious scheme.


16 Jacobean Architecture.-The architecture of the reign of James I ( 1603-25) inherited Elizabethan traditions; but as Roman literature and models became better known, a subtle change crept in, and the sober regu­larity of Classic columns and entablatures gradually supplanted the quaint irregularity of Elizabethan architecture, although the main lines of the design were much the same in both periods. Buildings still con­tinued to be for domestic rather than for religious use, and thus the style developed along lines suited to popular needs, with considerable latitude in detail and ornament, not only for buildings, but also for fittings and furniture, which now became more abundant in quantity and more decorative in quality, and was supplied both for mansions and churches. As in the Elizabethan period, it was in the screens, pulpits, and monuments, which were freely added to Mediaeval churches, that Jacobean art found its outlet in ecclesiastical architecture, and much of the human interest of English Gothic churches is due to the historical continuity supplied by these Jacobean monuments (p. 846). The drawings of John Thorpe and of Huntingdon Smithson, both made between. 1570 and 1632, the former preserved in Sir John Soane's Museum, and the latter at the R.I.B.A., London, show how these architects designed their buildings.


18 LATE RENAISSANCE Stuart Architecture.-The term" Stuart" is used for the architecture of Charles I (1625-49), the Commonwealth (1649-60), Charles II (1660-85), James II (1685-89), and William and Mary (1689-1702). In England, as in other countries, and more especially in Italy, its parent country, the character of Renaissance architecture was chiefly determined, not by national traditions and developments, but by the personality and training of individual architects, and naturally the greater their genius, the greater was their influence, not on architecture alone, but on the men who surrounded them, and even on those who came after them. As in Italy, Michelangelo and Palladio dominated the host of artists, so it was in England with Inigo Jones and Wren. For this reason it is necessary to conceive all these men, not as architects merely who carried out schemes to meet the needs of others, but as men of genius bent on carrying out their own ideas in design.


20 Inigo Jones (1573-1652), by his dominating personality and genius, was responsible for the remarkable change which now took place, and which amounted almost to an architectural revolution. His prolonged studies in Italy, more especially of the works of Palladio, caused him to become an ardent disciple of Italian Renaissance architecture. Thus the Late Renais­sance in England was moulded on the precepts of Palladio which were intro­duced in the scenery designed by Inigo Jones for the Court Masques played between. 1605-40. As the Commonwealth proved to be an interregnum in architecture as in government, some of the favourite designs of Inigo Jones were never carried to completion.


22 Sir Christopher Wren (1631-1723) was the second great architectural personality of this period. Scholar, mathematician, astronomer, his scientific training at Oxford developed his constructive power, and largely counter­balanced his lack of early architectural training; for he did not start the study and practice of architecture until somewhat late in life, when in 1662 he became assistant in His Majesty's Office of Works. As Inigo Jones had come under Italian, so Sir Christopher Wren came under French influence. He was in Paris in. 1665, when the Palais du Louvre was in course of extension, and he then became associated with the group of architects and artists, such as Bernini, Mansard, and others, attached to the court of Louis XIV, and he studied Renaissance buildings not only in Paris, but also in the surrounding country. As he never visited Italy, the force of this French influence was further accentuated, and, moreover, his royal patron, Charles II, had been an exile at the French court, and had there imbibed similar ideas. The destructive ravages of the Great Fire of London (1666) offered Wren an immediate opportunity for practising his art on a grand scale in the rebuilding of S. Paul's and the city churches, although it was found not possible to put into execution his plan for the rebuilding of the City of London. Wren, apart from the palaces at Hampton Court and Greenwich, was called upon for the most part to design the smaller yet commodious dwelling-houses of the middle classes, who now formed an integral part of the social life of England; but here a new note is struck with the advent of Dutch influence under William of Orange, when brickwork gave a special character to the architecture. Wren had, in an unusual degree, the power of adapting his designs so as to secure the best results from the financial means at his disposal, and, as Opie has said, his" designs are mixed with brains" ; for he produced his effects, not by expensive elabora­tion, but by careful proportion of the various parts, by concentration of orna­ment in the most telling position, or by one outstanding feature in the design. His buildings, too, owe much of their character to the use of Portland stone, which proved to have such good weathering properties; while in his domestic buildings, and some of his city churches, he made an effective use of brick with stone dressings, as at Hampton Court and S. Benet, Paul's Wharf, London. Whether in the graded greys of quarried stone or in the warm reds of hand­made bricks, Wren's buildings seem native to the site for which they were designed, and his influence has permeated all subsequent architecture in Eng­land.



25 Georgian Architecture.-Under this title is classed the architecture of the reigns of Anne (1702-14), George I ( 1714-27), George II ( 1727-60), George III ( 1760-1820), George IV ( 1820-30). Many pupils and followers of Inigo Jones and Wren, some of whose chief buildings and designs we shall describe, were, like most Renaissance architects of all countries, men of general culture and many-sided in their artistic activities, and this is indicated in the short notices which follow. Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) was a writer of dramas as well as designer of palaces, besides being a military officer, a wit, and a courtier, who became Controller of the Royal Works, and who even attempted a theatre on a monumental scale for his own plays. Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736) held government appointments, and was clerk of the Works at Kensington Palace, Greenwich Hospital and Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.



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