Year of Palladio

I Quattro Libri Dellíarchitettura Di Andrea Palladio The Four Books

Palladio was but one of numerous architects of the era who undertook an investigation of the ruins of antiquity. Like others, he published a treatise on classical architecture, beginning with an exposition of the ìFive Orders,î or the five basic types of columns employed by the ancients. Palladioís illustrations and explanation of the five orders, however, stood out among similar works by his contemporaries for their clarity and precision _. This study of the five orders was included in Palladioís seminal work: _I Quattro Libri dellíArchitettura (The Four Books) _, one of the most influential writings on architecture ever produced. Published in 1570, _The Four Books, as its title implies, was divided into four books or sections. As noted, its first book or section dealt with the orders. The second book included a series of Palladioís own designs, showing the application of the orders to his schemes for villas and large urban dwellings, or palazzos. As we shall see, this section in particular had an important impact on American architecture, both directly and indirectly. The third book concentrated on engineering works, including roads, bridges, town planning, basilicas, and xysti, or ancient gymnasiums. The fourth book was a survey of the ancient Roman ruins that Palladio had studied and measured. Here Palladio combined his scholarship and design skills to produce reconstruction drawings. These included plans, elevations, and sections showing how he thought these edifices looked originally. This section too was to have a huge impact on Americaís architectural image as well as much of that of the Western World.

It is axiomatic that architectural ideas and influence are spread as much or more through the medium of publication than by actual buildings. Palladioís lavishly illustrated and coherently written The Four Books, assured his immortality far more than his surviving architectural works, wonderful though they are. Palladio was exceedingly generous with his knowledge and talents. He wanted The Four Books not to be a self-serving monograph, but rather a manual for other architects so that their designs could be as literate and true to ancient principles of aesthetics as his own. Through his instructions on delineating the orders, his own brilliant designs, as well as his observations on engineering and planning, and his seductive reconstructions of ancient monuments, Palladio charted a course for architectural design that has extended to the present.

Figure 2
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 3

Palladioís Influence in America | I Quattro Libri Dellíarchitettura Di Andrea Palladio The Four Books | The Four Books and America

Download PDF | Back to Index | Back to Essays