Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of
The Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture, of which many examples remained. Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings.
Developed first in
Characteristics of Renaissance architecture.
The obvious distinguishing features of Classical Roman architecture were adopted by Renaissance architects. However, the forms and purposes of buildings had changed over time. So had the structure of cities. Among the earliest buildings of the reborn Classicism were churches of a type that the Romans had never constructed. Neither were there models for the type of large city dwellings required by wealthy merchants of the 15th century. Conversely, there was no call for enormous sporting fixtures and public bath houses such as the Romans had built. The ancient orders were analysed and reconstructed to serve new purposes
Historians often divide the Renaissance in
Historians often use the following designations:
·Renaissance also known as the Quattrocento and sometimes
Early Renaissance (1400–1500
· High Renaissance (1500–1525)
· Mannerism (1520–1600)
In the Quattrocento, concepts of architectural order were explored and rules were formulated. (See- Characteristics of Renaissance Architecture, below.) The study of classical antiquity led in particular to the adoption of Classical detail and ornamentation.
Space, as an element of architecture, was utilised differently from the way it had been in the Middle Ages. Space was organised by proportional logic, its form and rhythm subject to geometry, rather than being created by intuition as in Medieval buildings. The prime example of this is the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Florence by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446).
During the High Renaissance, concepts derived from classical antiquity were developed and used with greater surety. The most representative architect is Bramante (1444–1514) who expanded the applicability of classical architecture to contemporary buildings. His San Pietro in Montorio (1503) was directly inspired by circular Roman temples. He was, however, hardly a slave to the classical forms and it was his style that was to dominate Italian architecture in the 16th century.
During the Mannerist period, architects experimented with using architectural forms to emphasize solid and spatial relationships. The Renaissance ideal of harmony gave way to freer and more imaginative rhythms. The best known architect associated with the Mannerist style was Michelangelo (1475–1564), who is credited with inventing the giant order, a large pilaster that stretches from the bottom to the top of a façade. He used this in his design for the Campidoglio in
Prior to the 20th century, the term Mannerism had negative connotations, but it is now used to describe the historical period in more general non-judgemental terms.
The plans of Renaissance buildings have a square, symmetrical appearance in which proportions are usually based on a module. Within a church the module is often the width of an aisle. The need to integrate the design of the plan with the façade was introduced as an issue in the work of Filippo Brunelleschi, but he was never able to carry this aspect of his work into fruition. The first building to demonstrate this was St. Andrea in
Façades are symmetrical around their vertical axis. Church façades are generally surmounted by a pediment and organized by a system of pilasters, arches and entablatures. The columns and windows show a progression towards the center.
One of the first true Renaissance façades was the Cathedral of Pienza (1459–62), which has been attributed to the Florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli (known as Rossellino) with Alberti perhaps having some responsibility in its design as well.
Domestic buildings are often surmounted by a cornice. There is a regular repetition of openings on each floor, and the centrally placed door is marked by a feature such as a balcony, or rusticated surround. An early and much copied prototype was the façade for the Palazzo Rucellai (1446 and 1451) in
Columns and Pilasters.
The Roman orders of columns are used:- Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. The orders can either be structural, supporting an arcade or architrave, or purely decorative, set against a wall in the form of pilasters.
During the Renaissance, architects aimed to use columns, pilasters, and entablatures as an integrated system. One of the first buildings to use pilasters as an integrated system was in the Old Sacristy (1421–1440) by Brunelleschi.
Arches are semi-circular or (in the Mannerist style) segmental. Arches are often used in arcades, supported on piers or columns with capitals. There may be a section of entablature between the capital and the springing of the arch. Alberti was one of the first to use the arch on a monumental scale at the St. Andrea in
Vaults do not have ribs. They are semi-circular or segmental and on a square plan, unlike the Gothic vault which is frequently rectangular. The barrel vault, is returned to architectural vocabulary as at the St. Andrea in
The dome is used frequently, both as a very large structural feature that is visible from the exterior, and also as a means of roofing smaller spaces where they are only visible internally.
Domes had been used only rarely in the Middle Ages, but after the success of the dome in Brunelleschi’s design for the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and its use in Bramante’s plan for St. Peter's Basilica (1506) in Rome, the dome became an indispensable element in church architecture and later even for secular architecture, such as Palladio's Villa Rotonda.
Roofs are fitted with flat or coffered ceilings. They are not left open as in Medieval architecture. They are frequently painted or decorated.
Doors usually have square lintels. They may be set within an arch or surmounted by a triangular or segmental pediment. Openings that do not have doors are usually arched and frequently have a large or decorative keystone.
Windows may be paired and set within a semi-circular arch. They may have square lintels and triangular or segmental pediments, which are often used alternately. Emblematic in this respect is the Palazzo Farnese in
In the Mannerist period the “Palladian” arch was employed, using a motif of a high semi-circular topped opening flanked with two lower square-topped openings. Windows are used to bring light into the building and in domestic architecture, to give views. Stained glass, although sometimes present, is not a feature.
External walls are generally of highly-finished ashlar masonry, laid in straight courses. The corners of buildings are often emphasised by rusticated quoins. Basements and ground floors were often rusticated, as modeled on the Palazzo Medici Riccardi (1444–1460) in
Courses, mouldings and all decorative details are carved with great precision. Studying and mastering the details of the ancient Romans was one of the important aspects of Renaissance theory. The different orders each required different sets of details. Some architects were stricter in their use of classical details than others, but there was also a good deal of innovation in solving problems, especially at corners. Moldings stand out around doors and windows rather than being recessed, as in Gothic Architecture. Sculptured figures may be set in niches or placed on plinths. They are not integral to the building as in Medieval architecture.
Development of Renaissance architecture in
- Early Renaissance. Italy
The person generally credited with bringing about the Renaissance view of architecture is Filippo Brunelleschi, (1377–1446). The underlying feature of the work of Brunelleschi was "order".
In the early 1400s Brunelleschi began to look at the world to see what the rules were that governed one's way of seeing. He observed that the way one sees regular structures such as the Baptistery of Florence and the tiled pavement surrounding it follows a mathematical order—linear perspective.
The buildings remaining among the ruins of ancient
From the observation of the architecture of Rome came a desire for symmetry and careful proportion in which the form and composition of the building as a whole and all its subsidiary details have fixed relationships, each section in proportion to the next, and the architectural features serving to define exactly what those rules of proportion are. Brunelleschi gained the support of a number of wealthy Florentine patrons, including the Silk Guild and Cosimo de' Medici.
In the late 15th century and early 16th century architects such as Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and others showed a mastery of the revived style and ability to apply it to buildings such as churches and city palazzo which were quite different from the structures of ancient times. The style became more decorated and ornamental, statuary, domes and cupolas becoming very evident. The architectural period is known as the "High Renaissance" and coincides with the age of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Mannerism in architecture was marked by widely diverging tendencies in the work of Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Baldassare Peruzzi and Andrea Palladio, that led to the Baroque style in which the same architectural vocabulary was used for very different rhetoric.
Legacy of Renaissance architecture.
During the 19th century there was a conscious revival of the style in Renaissance Revival architecture, that paralleled the Gothic Revival. Whereas the Gothic style was perceived by architectural theorists as being the most appropriate style for Church building, the Renaissance palazzo was a good model for urban secular buildings requiring an appearance of dignity and reliability such as banks, gentlemen's clubs and apartment blocks. Buildings that sought to impress, such as the Paris Opera, were often of a more Mannerist or Baroque style. Architects of factories, office blocks and department stores continued to use the Renaissance palazzo form into the 20th century, in Mediterranean Revival Style architecture with an Italian Renaissance emphasis.
Many ideas in Renaissance architecture can be traced through subsequent architectural movements—from Renaissance to High-Renaissance, to Mannerism, to Baroque (or Rococo), to Neo-Classicism, to Eclecticism, to Modernism, and to Postmodernism. The influence of Renaissance architecture can still be seen in many of the modern styles and rules of architecture today.