1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palladio, Andrea

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PALLADIO, ANDREA (1518-1580), Italian architect, was born in Vicenza on the 30th of November 1518. The works of Vitruvius and Alberti were studied by him at an early period, and his student life was spent in Rome, where he was taken by his patron Count Trissino. In 1547 he returned to Vicenza where he designed a very large number of fine buildings—among the chief being the Palazzo della Ragione, with two storeys of open arcades of the Tuscan and Ionic orders, and the Barbarano, Porti and Chieregati palaces. Most of these buildings look better on paper than in reality, as they are mainly built of brick, covered with stucco, now in a very dilapidated conilition; but this does not affect the merit of their design, as Palladio intended them to have been executed in stone. Pope Paul III. sent for him to Rome to report upon the state of St Peter's. In Venice, too, Palladio built many stately churches and palaces, such as S. Giorgio Maggiore, the Capuchin church, and some large palaces on the Grand Canal. His last great work was the Teatro Olimpico at Vicenza, which was finished, though not altogether after the original design, by his pupil and fellow citizen Scamozzi.

In addition to his town buildings Palladio designed many country villas in various parts of northern Italy. The villa of Capra is perhaps the finest of these, and has frequently been imitated. Palladio was a great student of classical literature, and published in 1575 an edition of Caesar's Commentaries with notes. His I qualtro libri dell' architettura, first published at Venice in 1570, has passed into countless editions, and been translated into every European language. The original edition is a small folio, richly illustrated with well-executed full-page woodcuts of plans, elevations, and details of buildings chiefly either ancient Roman temples or else palaces designed and built by himself. Among many others, an edition with notes was published in England by Inigo Jones, most of whose works, and especially the palace of Whitehall, of which only the banqueting room remains, owed much to Palladio's inspiration. The style adopted and partially invented by Palladio expressed a kind of revolt against the extreme licence both of composition and ornament into which the architecture of his time had fallen. He was fascinated by the stateliness and proportion of the buildings of ancient Rome, and did not reflect that reproductions of these, however great their archaeological accuracy, could not but be lifeless and unsuited to the wants of the 16th century. Palladio's carefully measured drawings of ancient buildings are now of great value, as in many cases the buildings have altogether or in part ceased to exist.

Authorities.—Montanari, Vita di Andrea Palladio (1749); Rigato, Osservazioni sopra Andrea Palladio (1811); Magrini, Memorie intorno la vita di Andrea Palladio (1845); Milizia, Menwrie degli architetti, ii. 35-54 (1781); Symonds, Renaissance in Italy—Fine Arts, pp. 94-99; Zanella, Vita di Andrea Palladio (Milan, 1880); Barichella, Vita di Andrea Palladio (Lonigo, 1880).