Sunday, February 10, 2008

500 years anniversary of Palladio's birth

Andrea Palladio (1508-80) was an Italian architect, one of the most influential architects of our time. Palladio was born November 8, 1508, in Padua, and trained as a stonemason. Palladio moved to Vicenza in his early twenties. Originally named Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, he was named Palladio (after Pallade the goddess of wisdom daughter of Zeus) by the Italian poet and patron Giangiorgio Trissino, who oversaw Palladio's architectural studies. Trissino took him to Rome, where Palladio studied and measured Roman architectural ruins; he also studied the treatises of Vitruvius, one of the most important of the Roman architects.
In and near Vicenza he designed many residences (Villas) and public buildings (Palazzi). He also planned several churches in Venice, San Francesco della Vigna, San Giorgio Maggiore, and Il Redentore. One of his last work was the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, completed after his death by architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Palladio's own use of classical motifs came through his direct, extensive study of Roman architecture. He freely recombined elements of Roman buildings as suggested by his own building sites and by contemporary needs. At the same time he shared the Renaissance concern for harmonious proportion, and his facades have a noteworthy simplicity, austerity and repose.
Palladio was the first architect to develop a systematic organization of the rooms in a house. He was also the first to apply to houses the pedimented porticos of Roman temples-formal porches defined by a shallow triangular gable (Timpano) supported by a row of columns. Both these features are exemplified in the Villa Almerico "The Rotonda". Palladio's buildings were highly functional. Palladio was the author of an important scientific treatise on architecture, I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), which was widely translated and influenced many later architects. Its precise rules and formulas were widely utilized, especially in England, and were basic to the Palladian style, adopted by Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, and other English architects, which preceded and influenced the neoclassical architecture of the Georgian Style.
Palladio married Allegradonna, daugther of Marcantonio, and had five children, Leonida, Marcantonio, Orazio, Silla and Zenobia.
He died on August 19, 1580 in Vicenza, or probably at Maser (Treviso), while attending construction of the Tempietto of Villa Barbaro.

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