Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) Considered by many to be the “Father of Architecture,”
and the most influential architect of the western world, Andrea Palladio’s style – arches, columns, pediments,
porticos, symmetry, and the Palladian window – traveled throughout Europe, to England, and then to America.
Born Andrea di Pietro
in Padua (region
of Veneto), Palladio trained as a stonecutter and was hired
in the mid-1530s to work on a building addition for Count Giangiorgio Trissino. It was under Trissino’s tutelage that
Palladio acquired his name, an understanding of ancient and prevailing architecture through travel to Rome, and the social
connections that led to commissions of many villas and several notable churches, among them San Giorgio Maggiore. Inspired
by the attention to proportion of Vitruvius – a Roman architect and engineer in the first century B.C., and also the
inspiration for Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man – Palladio created systematic designs to be integrated into the architecture
of a building. These designs followed standardized formats that could be customized according to the owner’s preferences.
In 1570, Palladio wrote
I Quattro Libri dell' Architettura, The
Four Books on Architecture, the most famous and influential books on architecture of all time, and still in print. Thomas
Jefferson cited the books as “the Bible” on architecture and designed Monticello
and other buildings using Palladio’s concepts.
In 1994, the city of Vicenza and its 23 Palladian Villas was named a World Heritage Site.
This year, to celebrate Palladio’s quincentenary, Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio,
in Vicenza; London’s
Royal Academy of Arts; and the Royal Institute of British Architects are sponsoring a major exhibit of Palladio’s
life and work. The exhibit will travel for one year from Vicenza to London,
and to the United States.
In New York, Palladio is this year’s theme of Italian
Heritage and Culture Month, and programs and events will celebrate his accomplishments.
All About Palladio
I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura on CD
The Villas of Palladio
San Giorgio Maggiore (Beautiful Photograph)
Palladio’s Villas - UNESCO World Heritage Site