Wednesday, November 1:

HIGH RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE


Reading: Architecture, chapter eight, pp. 300--304.

The High Renaissance (c. 1495-1520): Rise of strong central governments all over Europe, parallel with growth of large-scale capitalistic enterprise. Accession of Henry VIII in England (1509), Francis I in France (1515), and Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor and heir to Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Naples and Sicily, etc. (1519).

In Italy, during the brief interlude of peace between two foreign invasions, shift of political and cultural center to Rome with expansion of papal territory and sphere of influence, especially under Julius II (1503-1513). Republic of Venice only competing power in Italy.

State patronage of the arts replacing private patronage. In Italy, romantic cult of antiquity replaced by rational recreation of classic principles in classic vocabulary for modern purposes: systematic balance between Christianity and paganism, with the two mutually complementing each other.

In the High Renaissance the focus of architecture moved physically from Florence to Rome and Venice, while its aesthetic objectives became the search for an all encompassing spatial experience. The three major architects of the century were Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, and Andrea Palladio. Bramante expanded on the Quattrocentro idea of self-awareness, which he transformed into a perception of one's position in a complex by response to mass and volume. (For Michelangelo and Palladio, see following notes.)

Positive-Negative Space: The perception of space in architecture at the end of the fifteenth century, especially in Leonardo and Bramante, in which space was treated not merely as a vacuum but as an almost tangible positive force in architecture.

Key works:

1. Donato Bramante: S. Maria presso S. Satiro, Milan, c. 1485: figs. 476, 477
2. Leonardo da Vinci: Architectural sketchbooks from Milan, 1480s and 1490s [ 101 detail: represention of a church interior in anti- perspectival rendering]
3. Bramante: Tempietto of S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome, 1502++ [ 098 reconstructed plan and section as intended to be built]; figs. 479, 480.
4. Donato Bramante and others: New St. Peter's, Rome, founded 1506 [ 093 fragment of proposed plan; 087 reconstruction of proposed plan; 094 and 092 views of construction underway]; fig. 483, 484

Works in context:

  • Leonardo: Adoration of the Magi, Florence, 1481; Last Supper, Milan, 1495--97
  • Bramante: Belvedere Palace, the Vatican, 1505 [ 111 exterior view]
  • Raphael: The School of Athens, fresco in papal apartments, The
  • Vatican, 1509 [ 091]; The Expulsion of Heliodorus, 1511-12.
  • Terms:

  • Harmonic Proportion
  • Mannerism
  • Positive-Negative Space