Year of Palladio

Andrea Palladio

(1508-1580)


A bibliography is made available for further reading; it contains full citations for the references used in this bio, along with several other important works related to Palladio.

  1. The first two quotations are from Lionello Puppi, Andrea Palladio, p. 27; the third is from Bruce Boucher, Andrea Palladio: The Architect in his Time, p. 20.
  2. This first-hand architectural information eventually became source material for Palladio’s first two publications, Le antichità di Roma and Descrizione della chiese di Roma, both published in 1554, as well as for Book IV of his treatise, I quattro libri dell’architettura, published in 1570.
  3. Andrea Palladio, I quattro libri dell’architettura, Book I, chapter i, p. 6–7 [p. 7]; similar statements are found in Book II, chapters i–ii, p. 3–4 [p. 77–78].
  4. Note Puppi’s quotes of Barbaro in the following: “For Barbaro the scientific basis of knowledge was to be found in mathematics, … [and] he concludes that ‘some arts have more of science and others less’, and the ‘more worthy’ are ‘those wherein the art of numeracy, geometry, and mathematics is required’.” See Lionello Puppi, Andrea Palladio, p. 18; Puppi cites his quotes as D. Barbaro, 1556, p. 7, i.e., from Barbaro’s translation and commentary of Vitruvius.
  5. Colin Rowe, The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays, p. 1–27.
  6. Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, p. 104 ff. Wittkower bases his analysis on the dimensions given in Palladio’s treatise. Two articles providing more in depth analyses related to Wittkower’s appear in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians: Deborah Howard and Malcolm Longair, “Harmonic Proportion and Palladio’s Quattro Libri"; and Branko Mitrovi, “Palladio’s Theory of Proportions and the Second Book of the Quattro Libri dell’Architettura." A more exhaustive study of potential proportional sources for Palladio is available in Lionel March, Architectonics of Humanism: Essays on Number in Architecture; indeed, Palladio’s corpus certainly supports March’s claim (p. xii): “In truth the Renaissance might be called the era of conspicuous erudition in which patrons, scholars and artists displayed their breadth of classical learning in various works and commissions.”
  7. See, for example, two articles in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians: Henry A. Millon, “Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism: Its Influence on the Development and Interpretation of Modern Architecture”; and Alina A. Payne, “Rudolf Wittkower and Architectural Principles in the Age of Modernism.”
  8. See the chapter “Palladianism Today” in Branko Mitrovi’s Learning from Palladio, p. 171–187, where he carefully analyzes and counters arguments against the use of classicism today, especially regarding the issue of appropriateness to time, and offers several examples of contemporary Palladian architecture.
  9. The principal competitor, over the years, to Palladio’s treatise has been Giacopo Barozzi da Vignola, Regola delli cinque ordini, first published in 1563; while some prefer Vignola’s canon of the five orders, his treatise lacked the plethora of drawings available in Books II through IV of I quattro libri dell’architettura.
  10. See Andrea Palladio, I quattro libri dell’architettura, Book I, chapters xii–xix; cf. Mitrovi, Learning from Palladio, p. 149.
  11. Andrea Palladio, I quattro libri dell’architettura, Book I, chapter xxi, p. 52 [p. 57]; the full text is:
    There are seven types of room that are the most beautiful and well proportioned and turn out better: they can be made circular, though these are rare; or square; or their length will equal the diagonal of the square of the breadth; or a square and a third; or a square and a half; or a square and two-thirds; or two squares.

    Palladio also gives constructions for the arithmetic, geometric, and harmonic means in Book I, chapter xxiii, p. 53–54 [p. 58–59], and he recommends choosing from them to find a vaulted room’s height given its length and width.

  12. Palladio included his Basilica amongst the public architecture in Book III, which is otherwise dominated by bridge design.

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