Year of Palladio

Civic Architecture : Sacred Building

San Francesco della Vigna (facade)

In 1563, when Palladio was comissioned to design the façade of San Francesco della Vigna, it was clear that he had gained the support of the Venetian nobility and had begun to outshadow his contemporaries in Venice. This was Palladio’s first executed church façade in Venice, and on this project “Palladio shifted his interest from the relationship between the architectural object and its context to a rational organization of the façade….” (Constant, p. 97) The San Francesco della Vigna façade is significant because it is Palladio’s response to Renaissance architects’ new attempt to modify “the façade of a single-volume buildings (i.e. the ancient temple) to the nave-and-aisles plan of Christian churches.” (Beltramini, p. 231) In order to bring about compositional unity, Palladio “used orders of different scales.” (Constant, p. 97) He also incorporated “corresponding pediments” into his design and “resolved the divergent scales of nave and side aisles with a single architectural motif. This solution was inspired by Palladio’s drawings of antiquity where he combined section and elevation with orders of different magnitudes on one sheet.” (Constant, p. 98)

Additional Reading

Andrea Palladio by Stephen R. Wassell

Additional Sacred Buildings