Monday, April 23, 2018

Andrea Palladio, Villa Rotunda also called the Villa Capra Vicenza, Italy 1566-69 Italian Mannerism

Form:  This building, although a private villa (home) is still designed according to the basic schema of a central church or temple plan very much like the Pantheon.  Nevertheless, the mannerist differences include four porticoes facing each of the compass points.  These porticoes were designed by Palladio to give the resident a clear view of his lands.

Another change to the central church plan is the proliferation of windows and arches throughout the structure which light the interior of the building.  The building is also set up so that it has two stories that surround the central area over the dome with bedrooms and other rooms. 

Iconography: Overall the basic plan really doesn't make sense for a private home but this kind of plan wasn't created in order to house the Capra family in a pragmatic way but rather to clothe them in a temple.

Context:  By the middle of the 1500's the population of Europe began to grow most likely as the result of new types of crops coming from the Americas and the rise of a new social order.  As a consequence of these factors, war, famine and disease became a natural part of city living.  In addition to this, Venice, which had owned much land and controlled trade with Greece and some of the Eastern provinces lost some of its power.
Once wealthy Venetian merchants who made there original wealth trough trade now no longer had the continuous influx of wealth from it.  They now turned towards the investments they now held and one of these was the country estates in the Vicenza outside of Venice.

These lands allowed the wealthy merchant such as Giulio Capra, to escape the criminal, diseased and dirty smelly cities to the country and this lead to the development of the country estate.  This lead to new commissions for architects like Palladio and land became iconic of power which explains why Palladio chose to create the four porticoes called belvederes (Italian for beautiful view). 
Palladio's architecture and the fact that he published his own interpretations of Vitruvius lead to a wholesale adaptation of his building style and philosophy.  This style, now known as Palladianism, spread all over the world and is still used today.

Study with me here:  https://www.udemy.com/user/kenneymencher/