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genius of the week

andreas palladio

Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, known to history as "Palladio," was born in 1508 in Padua, a mainland possession of the island-based Republic of Venice. Apprenticed to a stonecutter in Padua when he was 13 years old, Andrea broke his contract after only 18 months and fled to the nearby town of Vicenza. In Vicenza he became an assistant in the leading workshop of stonecutters and masons.

Palladio learned the principles of Vitruvius, the classical Roman architect whose treatise had been rediscovered in the prior century, and of the Renaissance commentator, Leon Battista Alberti. Through personal contact, he became acquainted with the ideas and works of pioneering architects of his own period, including Giulio Romano, Giovanni Maria Falconetto, Sebastiano Serlio and Michele Sanmicheli.

Palladio was an accomplished user of the new technology of movable type, then only about one hundred years old. His first book was a guide to the classical ruins of Rome, prompted presumably by his own frustrations in attempting to locate various monuments during his visits to that city. He also published, with his sons, a new translation of Caesar's Commentaries and contributed illustrations to Daniele Barbaro's annotated edition of Vitruvius' treatise on classical architecture.

Then, in 1570, following years of preparation, he published in Venice the masterwork that ensured his place in architectural history, I Quattro Libri dell' Architettura [The Four Books of Architecture].

palladio centre and museum
great buildings online
giaconi watercolors

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