World Architecture (1350-1500)

…Renaissance began with the Italian merchants who led the society to a sophisticated one. Since the authority of church was not dominant and opressive as it was once, the situation was an opportunity to examine Roman-Greek sources, and the artists and architects wanted to discover antiquity and surprass them. The emergence of perspective vision accompanied the development of the principal public space of the city. Filippo Brunelleschi was known as the first Renaissance architect, and he achieved the constructing the largest dome. He used classial orders of Greek-Roman architecture together with system of proportion.

     Later on, harmonious proportions and classical details was developed by Leon Battista Alberti. He was famous for his treatise on architecture, written in Latin as De re aedificatoria. Patrons showed their virtue and achieved fame by sponsoring appropriate according to Alberti’s treatise. Alberti designed two works for his lifetime friend Rucella; a mausoleum which is inspired by Holy Sepulchre, and the facede of the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella. The mausoleum was better proportioned than the original in Jerusalem. In the facade of Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, Alberti framed the existing base of avelli niches with green Corinthian columns and gave it a relief apparence of Greek Temple front. His antiquarian interest in Etruscan temples led to church of S. Sebastiano that he designed unconventional central plan. Generally, the layout appeared so strange, Cardinal Gonzaga wondered whether it was a church, a mosque, a syngagogue, or superman. In the pilgrimage church of Sant’Andrea, the repetition of the rhythmic system of the facade on the interior offered a rare instance in 15th century architecture of an organic correspondence between inside and outside.

Alberti established a standard for Renaissance patrons and architecture. Rather than copy the past, he considered that the revival of classic architecture shall follow a coherent set of rules which should result in something new. Proper use of symmetry and proportionality that he prefer led the buildings to be apparent in terms of organism produced by nature. I think this is the general idea of renaissance which is not about copying but surprassing it, and creating something new which is based on Greek-Roman architecture.


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