Palladianism ( 1500 )

Palladianism is named after the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, whose work had a relevant influence on architecture in Europe from the 17th century to the present day.

Palladian villa from Book IV of Palladio's 'I quattro libri dell'architettura'
Palladian villa from Book IV of Palladio’s “I quattro libri dell’architettura”

Image source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andrea-Palladio

Origins and Features of this Style

Palladio reinvented Roman architecture for contemporary use and published “I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura” which was translated and republished all over Europe. His architecture was featured with symmetry, proportion, and his codification of Classical Orders. He used classical forms and decorative motifs. These are the main features:


  • Corinthian columns and acanthus leaves;
  • Shells, symbol of the Roman goddess Venus;
  • Pediments and masks used as decorations inside and outside of buildings.
  • Terms are used to recall Roman god, Terminus, used as boundary markers.
Mask on table
Mask on table

Image source: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/palladianism-an-introduction 

Architects

Andrea Palladio was featured with a style that strongly recalls Classical times, his concept was based on ancient Roman architecture. He wrote “I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura” which contain illustrations and explanations of his own architecture. His first commission was Villa Godi. It features many elements of architecture of castles, such as “La colombaia”, resembling a small tower, which allowed the owners to control the overlook.

Villa Godi, Lugo di Vicenza
Villa Godi, Lugo di Vicenza

Image source: http://www.villagodi.com/

English Palladianism

Chiswick House was finished between 1725 and 1729, its designer was Lord Burlington ; the centralized structure and square plan of the estate was inspired by Andrea Palladio’s Villa Rotonda near Vicenza (Italy).

Chiswick House
Chiswick House

Image source: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/chiswick-house/

Wanstead House instead, was designed by Colen Campbell, architect and pioneer of the Palladian style. The grand entrance portico, arched windows, huge blocks of the basement and the end pavilions adorned by arched “Venetian” windows at Wanstead will later become key Palladian architecture features.

Wanstead House
Wanstead House

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanstead_House

Palladian Furniture

Architects were interested in buildings, grounds, and gardens. Furniture was something different and had to be in line with other elements. William Kent designed Palladian furniture linked to Palladian architecture. Kent worked as decorator and he designed many furnitures for Burlington’s villa, and Chiswick House. The “Kentian” conception was ornate, monumental and with golden details.

Inside of Chiswick House- Octagonal Room
Inside of Chiswick House- Octagonal Room

Image source: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Architecture_of_Chiswick_House

Benjamin Goodison is another important designer that needs to be mantioned. He was part of the Royal cabinet under George II of Great Britain, he took inspiration from the neo-Palladian designs of William Kent.

George II white and gold carved console table, Benjamin Goodison
George II white and gold carved console table, Benjamin Goodison

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/97108935702804901/

Info source: https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/palladianism

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