Wednesday, March 18, 2009

P Week

Santa Maria Novella

the process of transitioning from the gothic world to the renaissance style of the rebirth of the classics varied throughout Europe. While France clung to the gothic world, Spain and Italy embraced the classics much more readily. England, being isolated on its own island faraway from the mediterranean also held onto gothic architecture, but with their own twist of the "country house." During this transition these classic "rules" of architecture that the great buildings of the greeks and romans embodied were written down. These architects "invented a term to describe their decisive break with the Gothic past, saying their work marked a renaissance, or rebirth.” (Roth 397)

Villa Rotunda

A level of professionalism was established, with the renaissance style focusing on geometry, order, and gestalt principals. A designer had to essentially learn to "bring things to rest" by balancing feminine and masculine properties. I wonder if they felt if they were starting from scratch, that architecture still had leaps and bounds ahead of it. The most famous designers were the ones that understood the rules and chose to push the boundaries, with “most of the palazzi and villas, the architects confidently devised a blend of ancient Roman architectural themes with local tradition” (Roth 376). Palladio was one of those designers, becoming popular for using the sacred for the profane.

Doges Palace

His portfolio is full of buildings that are timeless, because although he revives the ancient world, the rulebreaking is in the details. In today's world I think it's more difficult to be a designer because it seems all the rules have been broken. It is important for an artist/designer's portfolio to show how they stand out. For it is their job to exhaust the limits of the possible, and because of "their restless quest of innovation, these high Renaissance architects were not content to stop their manipulation of form once the rules had been defined.' (Roth 381)

After focusing on the home for so long, people began to conquer beyond the exterior of their homes and into the yards, and "this new awareness and appreciation of the natural landscape was one of the important contributions of the Renaissance” (Roth 356). The Farnese family took their city Palazzo one step further by buying the open space in the front to make their house look even more unattainable. In the country villas, landscape architecture became a prominent part of the estate. This even effected the shape of the villa, making it one room wide and long, using the building's periphery to control the architecture.

During the renaissance the surface got the most attention. From frescos and murals plastered on every open wall, to the intrinsic marquetry on the furniture. Paintings and furniture decoration was able to sore after the discovery of the perspective. Perspective was able to give a fluidity and third dimension to surface decoration that was impossible before, especially “in Baroque architecture and art, the line between three-dimensional reality and mystical illusion was increasingly blurred.”(Roth 404) Surface decoration was also obtained holistically on a city-wide level. In Venice, who made its fortune through selling glass and lace, had their architecture embody both of these products. This, (as well as being built on a swamp marsh) gives the city a genius loci--you can't take one thing away and it still be Venice.

The Renaissance's obsession with order lead to a new level of
professionalism. With the basic rules of architecture written down and followed, designers were to consort their quickly amassing portfolio to look at standardized ancient marvels from around the world. Then they were able to take that foundation and use their own perspective to improve upon the past. This process left the boundaries of their homelands, going beyond the periphery of classic stylings to follow their vision of reviving the ancients while making it their own.

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