INTRODUCTION The brilliant Renaissance culture of Italy was influential throughout Europe, though at first was often confined to ornamental details and spreading only slowly in view of the vitality of the Late Gothic tradition. In some countries, in England, for example, it did not flower in a pure architectural form until the early seventeenth century, by which time Italian architects were already moving on to the different phase of classicism we know as Baroque.
THE BIRTH OF RENAISSANCE FLORENCE AND BRUNELLESCHI Florence was a city which had never forgotten the classical past of Italy. The so called proto- Renaissance of the eleventh and twelfth centuries produced buildings designed in seductively elegant classic style which continued to influence Florentine architects for nearly three centuries. The main problem of Renaissance Florence was the problem of raising the dome on Santa Maria Del Fiore. The expected solution of raising the dome on a wooden framework, used in construction of vaults and arches would have been impossible. In the end the answer came from Filippo Brunelleschi. In 1418 Brunelleschi and Ghilberti produced brick models for the dome, but it was Brunessechi ’s proposal which was eventually adopted and erected.
Most of Brinelleschi ’s commisions came from the guild and banking circles of Florence. For the Guild of Silk-Merchants and Goldsmiths he designed the Founding Hospital, the first in Europe, with its elegantly arcaded loggia. Brunelleschi ’s two large basilical churches in Florence, S. Lorenzo and S. Spirito were designed to create an ordered harmonious balance which is a parallel to the discovery of the laws of the perspective by Florentine painters at that moment. These churches became models of proportional planning, since the square of the crossing is the basic module for the whole composition. San lorenzo San Spirito Palazzo Pitti FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI
The Pazzi chapel is a building of great delicacy and subtlety, is not strictly speaking centrally-planned since the central domed square is flanked by tunnel- vaulted side bays. The interior is articulated with a linear pattern produced by the structural and decorative members, made from pietra serena- local grey stone.
MICHELANGELO Michelangelo exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Italian Renaissance art. Michelangelo's architectural commissions included a number that were not realized, notably the facade for Brunelleschi's Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, for which Michelangelo had a wooden model constructed, but which remains to this day unfinished rough brick. At the same church, Giulio de' Medici commissioned him to design the Medici Chapel and the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo Medici. the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence the Medici Chapel
LAURENTIAN LIBRARY BY MICHELANGELO The Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) is a historical library in Florence, containing a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. The main and the most interesting part of the interior of the library is the staircase designed by Michelangelo. The staircase leads up to the reading room and takes up half of the floor of the vestibule. The treads of the center flights are convex and vary in width, while the outer flights are straight. The three lowest steps of the central flight are wider and higher than the others, almost like concentric oval slabs. As the stairway descends, it divides into three flights. The Michelangelo ’ s staircase is one more symbol of Renaissance architecture.
PALACES AND TOWN PLANNING IN PIENZA, URBINO AND FLORENCE. Alberti ’s influence can be felt at Pienza, near Siena, which was built in 1460 as the first ideal city of the Renaissance. This enchanting town, surviving today in untouched fifteenth-century form containing the cathedral, bishop ’s palace, Piccolomini palace and town hall, all built by the Florentine architect Bernardo Rosselino. Pienza is recalled in a beautiful architectural painting showing the piazza in an ideal town, which is often attributed to Piero della Francesca. The Duke of Urbino,who transformed the capital of his tiny principality into one of the most civilized courts in Europe concentrated his attention on the creation of the Palazzo Ducale.
LEON BATISTA ALBERTI Alberti was the other towering genius of the fifteenth century in architecture. He had not been trained as an architect, but in fact he represented the new type of genius described as the scholar, author, mathematician with a profound knowledge of all the arts. Alberti enshrined his conclusions about his view on architecture in treatise De re aedificiatoria. In his book Alberti does not see architecture as the crafts, but as an intellectual discipline and a social art in the practice of which two most necessary skills are painting and mathematics. Alberti organizes his treatise round the Vitruvius dictum that good architecture consists of three parts, Utilitas, Firmitas and Venustas( function, structure and beauty). The beauty depends on the combination of three qualities: number, proportion and location.
Not surprisingly for someone living and working in fifteenth century Florence Alberti saw architecture as a civic art. Alberti divided the buildings in a town into sacred and secular. The most important building was the temple fronts with a portico and raised on a high podium. Alberti ’s principal works are few: three churches, the façade of the fourth and the façade of a Florentine palazzo. San Andrea is the Alberti ’s finest work, there he created a new type of a church at a stroke by replacing the traditional aisles of the Gothic and basilican church with a series of side-chapels.
ANDREA PALLADIO Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) was the chief architect of the Venetian Republic, writing an influential treatise, I quattro libri dell'architettura (Four Books on Architecture). Due to the new demand for villas in the sixteenth century, Palladio specialized in domestic architecture, although he also designed two beautiful and impressive churches in Venice, San Giorgio Maggiore and Il Redentore. Palladio's villas are often centrally planned, drawing on Roman models of country villas. The Villa Emo was a working estate, while the Villa Rotonda in Vicenza was an aristocratic refuge. Both plans rely on classical ideals of symmetry, axiality, and clarity. Villa Rotonda San Giorgio Maggiore
DONATO BRAMANTE THE TEMPIETTO The so-called Tempietto is a small commemorative tomb built by Bramante, in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. Tempietto is one more symbol of Italian renaissance architecture and it is known all over the world. The "Tempietto" is one of the most harmonious buildings of the Renaissance. It is the earliest example of use of the Tuscan order in the Renaissance.
MAIN ARCHITECTURAL TERMS MASSIVE BRICK ELEGANT STAIRCASE LONG FLIGHT COZY COURTYARD FANCIFUL ORNAMENT LARGE PIAZZA GRAND DOME COMPOUND FRAMEWORK SMALL VAULTS TRIUMPHAL ARCH AXIAL SYMMETRY AXIALITY SERENE GRAVITY LATE CLASSICISM DARK WOOD URBAN CONSTRUCTION SPACIOUS LOGGIA HIGH-PITCHED ARCADE SIDE BAY MAIN AISLE ANCIENT VILLA HIGH STEP MAIN APSE CENTRAL NAVE
RESOURCES David Watkin " A History of Western Architecture " Fortunato, Giuseppe "The Role of Architectural Representation in the Analysis of the Building: The 3d Survey of San Pietro in Montorio's Temple in Rome“ " La Rotonda outside Vicenza" New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Lotz, Wolfgang; Howard, Deborah, Architecture in Italy, (New Haven: Yale University Press) Rosin, Paul L.; Martin, Ralph R. "Hidden Inscriptions in the Laurentian Library"
SOURCES Laurentian Library Wikipedia article San Pietro in Montorio Wikipedia article