Early Renaissance architecture in Italy  



Early Renaissance architecture in Italy

Lotz, Wolfgang, and Deborah Howard. Architecture in Italy, 1500-1600. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. Print.


                          The classic revival

Gothic architecture abandonment in Italy and in its place classic models was occasioned was not obviously a local revolution. Evidently, the revolution was because of a reflective and universal intellectual faction, with roots traced to the middle ages. All these were manifested in Italy, as the conditions were extremely propitious. The spread was rapid in Europe with similar conditions witnesses in other countries, which seems to be prepared to embrace the concept.

November    4


Conversely, classic Roman architecture has never lost Italian taste influence. Gothic art, which is already experiencing a decline in the West, was never embraced in Italy rather than a borrowed garb with clothing architectural conceptions preferred to Gothic. The antique monuments abounded on each hand seemed present in artist models and Florentines associated with the early fifteenth century. Civilization represented a human culture, which was ideal. The situation resulted in churches losing their hold on culture with the increased penetration of the new culture in private luxury as well as a public display.

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The 13th century saw the pulpits of Niccolo Pisano in Sienna together with Pisa reveal the fact the master’s direct recourse associated with antique monuments for motivation. There was the frequent appearance of classic forms in the fourteenth century as evident in the followers of frescoes of Giotto and Gothic buildings architectural details. This was evident in Florence that was considered Italy artistic capital. There had never been a community permeated with love for beauty and endowed with the ability to recognize it since Pericles days.


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There are four classic styles that emanated from the Renaissance, the first one being the early Renaissance (1420–90). It was characterized by freedom of attractive detail, recommended by Roman prototypes. The composition entailed great variety and authenticity. The second one was high renaissance (1490–1550). The period saw classic details being copied with rising fidelity evident in orders appearing in approximately all compositions. At the same time, the decoration seemed to lack grace and autonomy. The third style was Baroco (1550–1600), which was a classic formality period, exemplified by the usage of colossal orders, scanty direction and engaged columns. The last one was Later Baroque and was marked by the invention of poverty as portrayed in their composition. The predominant factor was vulgar sham and decoration display. Broken pediments characterized the style with vast scrolls, florid stucco-work in addition to complete ignorance of architectural propriety considered universal.

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The Renaissance architect occupied themselves mostly with form rather than construction, and hardly ever experienced constructive challenges. Even though, the new architecture started with the gigantic cathedral dome in Florence with the culmination of an astonishing St. Peter church in Rome. It mainly was a palaces and villas architecture decorative display façades. Constructive challenges were reduced to lowest terms with constructive framework concealed and not highlighted by the decorative design apparel. The early Renaissance masterpieces were buildings of small dimensions like gates, fountains chapels, and tombs.

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Florence early renaissance

The year 1417 saw a public competition conducted for the completion of Florence Cathedral by a dome over the huge octagon, which was 143 feet in relation to the diameter. A sculptor called Filippo Brunelleschi and an architect (1377–1446) together with Donatello began their journey to Rome with an aim of studying ancient art masterworks. Their demonstrations of weaknesses in all the proposed solutions buy the competitors permitted them to undertake the huge task.

The plan had an octagonal dome found in two shells liked by other eight major in addition to sixteen minor ribs crowned at the top by a lantern. The original conception, went beyond the Moslem art was made an external feature terminating light forms and with the upward lantern movement carried out between 1420 and 1464. Even with no wise Roman forms imitation, it remained classic in spirit, vastness and line simplicity. All these were made possible by Brunelleschi Roman design study as well as construction.

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Other Churches

Brunelleschi’s designs also were constructed in   Pazzi Chapel found in  Sta. A charming Greek design called Croce cross covered a dome at an intersection and paved way for vestibule with an opulently decorated vault as evident with the two grand churches such as S. Lorenzo and S. Spirito. The two of them were reproduced to measure the Pisa Cathedral plan and had three-aisled transepts in addition to nave with a dome crossing over. On the other hand, the side aisles had domical vaults coverings with the centre aisles having plaster ceilings and flat wooden.

The column details, arches, as well as moldings,  were imitations of Roman models with the result being something new. Deliberately, Brunelleschi revived Byzantine, which is different from Roman conceptions in relation to planning or structural design associated with the domical church. At the same time, the attire, which he dressed them, seemed Roman in detail. Another dominant design of grand beauty associated with Old Sacristy was S. Lorenzo.

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Courtyards; arcades

The palaces were constructed around interior courts, with the walls resting on columnar arcades evident in P. Riccardi. The arcades origin might be found in arcaded cloisters linked to churches, which were medieval monastic and suggest classic models. An example of such a scenario was of St. Paul and St. John Lateran in Rome. It is evident that Brunelleschi not only come up with columnar arcades to a number of cloisters in addition to palace courts but used them efficiently as exterior elements in Loggia S. Paolo and Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence. The main drawback is the light arcades remained their incapability to endure vaulting thrust over the space, which was behind them, and the subsequent recourse of iron tie-rods while using vaults. Conversely, the Italians, nevertheless, cared less about the disfigurement.

November 17

Minor Works

The new style details developed quite rapidly in solely decorative works evident in monumental buildings. Altars, pulpits, mural monuments, ciboria and tabernacles, afforded a range genius, distinguished artists. Among the celebrated artists were  Lucca Della RobbiaMino da Fiesole and Benedetto da Majano. The possession of wonderful invention fertility multiplied their works in unexpected number s as well as variety not only in northern Italy but in Rome as well as  Naples. The most celebrated examples of were a pulpit located in  Sta. There was a terra-cotta fountain in the sacristy by Croce, Novella done by Della Robbia, Marsupini tomb found in Sta. The works of these characters were instrumental in making Renaissance first appearance in a new setting as the case in Naples, Lucca, Senna and Pisa.

November                                                              I HOUR EXAM

November                                                                 JOURNAL DUE  Chapter 20

November                                                                   Final exam

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