He was born Andrea di Pietro della Gondola in Padua, then part of the Republic of Venice. Apprenticed as a stonecutter in Padua when he was 13, he broke his contract after only 18 months and fled to the nearby town of Vicenza. Here he became an assistant in the leading workshop of stonecutters and masons. He frequented the workshop of Bartolomeo Cavazza, from whom he learned some of his skills.
His talents were recognized in his early thirties by Count Gian Giorgio Trissino, who also gave him the name Palladio, an allusion to the Greek goddess of wisdom Pallas Athene. In 1541 he moved to Rome to study classic architecture.
The Palladian style, named after him, adhered to classical Roman principles, similarly to styles of the Early and High Renaissance, when classical revivalism was at its peak. His architectural works have "been valued for centuries as the quintessence of High Renaissance calm and harmony" (Watkin, D., A History of Western Architecture). Palladio designed many churches, villas, and palaces, especially in Venice, Vicenza and the surrounding area. A number of his works are protected as part of the World Heritage Site Palladian Villas of the Veneto. Façade of Palazzo Chiericati in Vicenza.
Façade of Palazzo Chiericati in Vicenza.
Palladio's work became well known after the publication of I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture) in 1570. Interest in his style was renewed in later generations and became fashionable all over Europe, for example in parts of the Loire Valley of France. In Britain, Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren embraced the Palladian style. Another admirer was the architect Richard Boyle, 4th Earl of Cork, also known as Lord Burlington, who, with William Kent, designed Chiswick House.
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