Renaissance Architecture

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  • Topic: St. Peter's Basilica, Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV of France
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  • Published : November 9, 2010
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Between the early 15th and early 17th centuries, a return to classical ideas ushered an "age of "awakening" in Italy and northern Europe. This period is known as the Renaissance, which means born anew in French (Craven, 2010). Renaissance architecture was inspired by architecture of classical Greece and Rome. Earlier Gothic architecture was asymmetrical and complex. The Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, and geometry. Developed first in Florence, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then to France, Germany, England, Russia and elsewhere. The following are ten different examples of Renaissance Architecture.

Tempietto of San Pietro
Donato Bramante
Italian Renaissance Architecture
Montorio, Rome, Italy

The Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio is a small church built by Donato Bramante in Rome, for Pope Julius II, in 1502. The Tempietto is a cardinal masterpiece of High Renaissance architecture. The Tempietto is one of the most harmonious buildings of the Renaissance. The sanctuary was commissioned by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and marks the spot in Rome where, according to tradition, Saint Peter was crucified. Despite its small scale, the construction has all the grandeur and rigorous conformity of a Classical building. Perfectly proportioned, it is surrounded by slender Tuscan columns and surmounted by a dome (Essential Architecture, n.d.).

Chateau de Chambord
King Francois I
French Renaissance Architecture
Loir-et-Cher, France

The royal Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir=et=Cher, France is one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance Architecture that blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Italian structures. The massive castle is composed of a central keep with four immense bastion towers at the corners. One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular double-helix open staircase that is the centerpiece of the castle. The two helixes ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the castle. There are suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase, but this has not been confirmed.

Fig. 3
Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne
Baldassare Peruzzi
Italian Renaissance Architecture
Rome, Italy

The Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne is a Renaissance palace in Rome, Italy. The palace was designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi (Wikipedia, 2009). The entrance is characterized by a central portico with six Doric columns, paired and single. Inside there are two courtyards, of which the first one has a portico with Doric columns as a basement for a rich loggia, which is also made of Doric columns. The column decorations gave the name to the palace, alle Colonne. The façade is renowned as one of the most masterful of its time, combining both elegance with stern rusitcation.

Fig. 4
1546 to 1564 and 1590
The Basilica of Saint Peter
Michelangelo with Giacomo della Porta
Italian Renaissance Building
Vatican City, Rome, Italy

The dome was designed by Michelangelo, who became chief architect in 1546. At the time of his death, the dome was finished as far as the drum. The dome was vaulted between 1585 and 1590 by the architect Giacomo della Porta. St Peter's Basilica, according to tradition, is built at the site of Peter's crucifixion (Essential Architecture, n.d.). The dome conceived by Donato Bramante was planned to be carried out with a single masonry shell, a plan discovered to be infeasible. San Gallo came up with the double shell, and Michelangelo improved upon it. The piers at the crossing, which were the first masonry to be laid, and which were intended to support the original dome, were a constant concern, too slender in Bramante's plan, they were redesigned several times as the dome plans evolved.

Fig. 5
The Church of San...
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