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Architecture of the Renaissance Period - a photo essay
In my travels throughout Europe I have found the architecture of the Renaissance Period to be the most beautiful and breathtaking of all I saw. Even greater than the Gothic cathedrals and their tall spires, I found the simpler lines of the Renaissance architecture to really define what is beauty to me. Many of the photos shown here are of buildings, cathedrals, palaces, and bapisteries I searched out in my quest to see for myself all the beautiful architecture I was shown on slides during the Western Cultural class I took in college. Yes, Dr. Reid would be proud of me for finding each of the buildings he had shown us as great examples of Renaissance Art. So, I have compiled them for you here so you can admire the beauty and hopefully be inspired in some way by them as I have been. Because some of my photos were more than 30 years old and fading, the photos depicted here are from wikipedia.
A little about Renaissance Architecture
The architecture of the Renaissance Period is the period in time from the early 15th century through the 17th century in different regions of Europe. Stylistically, Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architecture and was followed by the Baroque style. The Renaissance architecture can be described as the revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture.
Renaissance architecture was, of course, developed first in Florence, Italy with Filippo Brunelleschi, one of its finest architectural innovators. He used mathematical and geometrical calculations in his designs and was one of the first architects to do so. His innovations and the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then throughout Europe. The Renaissance style in architecture included the following:
- emphasis on symmetry, proportions and geometry
- regularity of parts to the whole as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical Rome
- orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters, and lintels
- use of semi-circular arches, niches,, and aedicules, replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings
Mannerism became part of the later Renaissance style. Michaelangelo is credited with using the Mannerist style and with inventing giant order: a large pilaster that stretches from the bottom to the top of a facade. Mannerism is also described a style in which harmony gave way to freer and more imaginative rythms. Architects also experimented with using architectural forms to emphasize solid and spacial relation.
The Renaissance Architecture outside Italy
As the new architectural style spread out of Italy throughout Europe, most of the other European countries developed a proto-Renaissance style. Each country constructed its own architectural traditions to the new style, so that the Renaissance buildings across Europe are diversified by region. Outside Italy, Baroque architecture was more widespread and fully developed than in Italy and the Renaissance style.