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Study Aid 7:The High Renaissance in Italy

The period known as the "High Renaissance" (approximately 1500-1570) was centered in Rome although its accomplishments were spread throughout central and northern Italy. If the early Renaissance can be characterized by striving and experimentation, then the high Renaissance can be characterized by assured perfection. In palace design, the Romans moved beyond the heavy rustication of the Florentines to more classically balanced and detailed structures, though there were no real ancient models for them to work from, e.g.Palazzo Farnese, Rome, 1517-, Antonio da Sangallo the younger architect, altered by Michelangelo in the 1540s.

Donato Bramante produced the first great monument of the High Renaissance, the Tempietto (aka S. Pietro in Montorio), Rome, 1500, commissioned by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The building's centralized plan reflects the Renaissance preoccupation with geometry and perfect forms that can be traced to designs by Leonardo da Vinci and even further back to Brunelleschi. Bramante also produced a centralized plan for the rebuilding of St. Peter's (S. Pietro) in Rome, (c. 1506-, which was substantially redesigned by Michelangelo, c. 1547-; and eventually enlarged by Carlo Maderno, c. 1610-). Unlike his plan for St. Peter's, Bramante's Cortile del Belvedere (begun 1503, finished 1563) for Pope Julius II at the Vatican Palace was largely carried out. A complex melding of landscape and architecture, the Cortile was his largest completed composition.

Among the notable High Renaissance buildings outside of Rome were centralized pilgrimage churches, e.g. Santa Maria della Consolazione, Todi, 1508-, Cola da Caprarola architect; Madonna di San Biagio, Montepulciano, 1518-29, Antonio da Sangalla the Elder architect. The great Palazzo (or Villa or Castello) Farnese built for Cardinal Farnese in Caprarola employed a pentagon for its plan. Initially planned by Giuliano da Sangallo and Baldassare Peruzzi starting c. 1530, Giacomo da Vignola is largely responsible for the final composition as he was appointed to complete the building starting in 1556 (it was finished in 1583, after Vignola's death).

Some of the most famous High Renaissance buildings outside Rome were created in the Venetian republic. Sansovino's Library of San Marco (1536-) was a serene yet richly decorated structure that helped define the famous Piazza San Marco. Andrea Palladio's designs for churches and villas were also praised for their balance, serenity and manipulation of classical forms, e.g. San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 1566-; Villa Barbaro, Maser, c. 1560; Villa Rotonda (aka Villa Capra), Vicenza, 1566- built for Cardinal Almerico Capra. However, several of his later buildings display a decorative tension or variety that has been called Late Renaissance or Mannerism. Palladio's most influential work was his architectural treatise entitled I Quattro Libri dell' Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), which was first published in 1570. The book offered practical advice and also featured beautiful illustrations of his own buildings as well as other Renaissance designs and ancient Roman buildings.


Tempietto

Date: 1500-
Location: Rome, Italy
Architect: Bramante
Patron: Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain

Proportion Diagrams

Section / Elevation

Interior View

Elevation


St. Peter's

Date: 1536-1564
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Various Architects

Comparative Plans for St. Peter's

Top Left: Bramante 1506
Top Right: Peruzzi 1513
Bottom Left: Da Sangallo 1539
Bottom Right: Michelangelo 1546-64


Date: 1546-1564
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo

Diagram of the Heights of the Interior Spaces


Date: 1506-
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo & Maderno

Plan


Date: 1536-1564
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo

Michelangelo's Design for the Front Elevation

Engraving (1569) - Based on Michelangelo's Designs Before the Actual Completion of the Building


Date: 1506-
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo & Maderno

Front Elevation Proposed by Maderno, 1603-1612


Date: 1506-
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Bramante

Model Based on Bramante's Possible Design for St. Peter's


Date: 1506-1590
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Various Architects

Comparative Sections of St. Peter's and
the Cathedral of Amiens, France


Date: 1506-
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo & Maderno

Model of Michelangelo's Dome with Possible Alterations by Della Porta


Date: 1506-1612
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Maderno, et. al.


Front (East) Elevation


Date: 1546-1564
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo, Et. Al.

Interior View of the Nave

Apse and Transept of St. Peter's


Date: 1546-1590
Location: Vatican-Rome, Italy
Architect: Michelangelo, Et. Al.


Interior View of the Dome


Palazzo (or Villa or Castello) Farnese

Date: 1520, 1559-
Location: Caprarola, Italy
Architect: Vignola, et. al.
Patron: Farnese Family

Plan

Aerial View


Date: 1530, 1556-1573
Location: Caprarola, Italy
Architect: Vignola, et. al.
Patron: Farnese Family


Circular Court

Map Room
Frescoes by da Reggio & da Varese

Main Stair

Interior View - Grand Stair


Library of San Marco

Date: 1536-
Location: Venice, Italy
Architect: Sansovino

Elevation

Exterior View

Detail of Upper Story

Interior View of the Salon


San Giorgio Maggiore

Date: 1566-
Location:Venice, Italy
Architect: Palladio

Section from the "Four Books of Architecture"

Front Elevation


Villa Rotonda

Date: 1566-
Location: Vicenza, Italy
Architect: Palladio
Patron: Almerico Capra

Section & Plan from the "Four Books of Architecture"

Proportion Diagram

Aerial View

Elevation

Aerial View

Interior - Central Domed Room


Four Books of Architecture

Date: 1570-
Architect: Palladio

Plate from the "Four Books of Architecture"
The Corinthian Order