Palladio: the Genius of Architecture

Palladio totally renovated architecture and inspired many generations of artists. These are clues to rediscover his message.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Andrea_Palladio.png

Andrea Palladio was born on November 30, 1508. Around 1524, he went to Vincenza where he joined the corporation of masons and stone hewers. The beginnings of the young Andrea in the artistic career were not ostententious. In Padova, he attends the workshop of Bartolomeao Cavazza, a good stone carver who teaches him the art. In Vincenza, he works with Giovanni da Porlezza. He does not seem to be an early artist since in 1537 he is still employed as a stone hewer at the Villa Cricoli. Shy and unpretentious, he however grows his artistic ideal with the Paduan humanists. The works of Falconetto have a special influence on him before his eventual meeting with  Serlio and his reading the "Regole Generali di Architettura" of the Bologna architect.

With an amazing liberty, Palladio whilst drawing his inspiration from the elements of Classical architecture, renovates edifices rythms and proportions. When he uses the Antiquarian Orders, he refers to Michelangelo, and for the Colossal Order to Sangallo. He, however, does not ignore Serlio's solutions neither Sansovino's suggestions and is also related to Sammicheli. But these reminiscences give birth to new expressions with a surprising freshness. The feeling of balance and serenity characterizing his compositions is not at all affected by certain unsuspected and sometimes bizarre licences. This simply reveals the non-conformism of his architecture whose "forms live in a climate of poetry" as Becherucci said. Thanks to a musical sense full of delicacy, the master creates his works with the purety of crystal and a love for colours that underlines and magnifies the volumes harmony.  Didn't he himself wrote in 1570: "The proportions of voices are harmony for the ears, those of measures are harmony for the eyes". 

Religious architecture appears lately in Palladio's works. He designs the façade on two plans, the one in the centre resembling the pronaos of a Pagan temple, and tetrastyles with a triangular tympanum. Inside, the orders harmoniously match in the light on the walls and vaults. They are not, like in the Neo-Classical Style, cold and academic creations and confer the church a serene atmosphere that soothes spirit as well as favours meditation and prayer. The Church of San Giorgio in Venice presents a high cupola that overlooks the naves, at the Redentore, the apse surrounds the altar with a suggestive shade.

End of Part I, please check out also Palladio Part II: The guide for Architects.

Palazzo Chiericati, Vincenza.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/IB-Vicenza-01.jpg

Villa La Malcontenta.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/VillaFoscari_2007_07_10_03.jpg

Villa La Rotonda

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Villa_Rotonda_side%282%29.jpg

Interior of La Rotonda.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Palladio_Rotonda_interior.jpg

Il Redentore in Venice.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Redentore01.jpg

Basilica Palladiana, Vincenza.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/Palladio_Palazzo_della_Raggione_tower.jpg

Teatro Olympico, Vincenza.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/1968Italia1081.jpg

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