Italian Renaissance Architecture 1400-1600: Regola + Invenzione


Fall 2012

Daniel Sherer, instructor

The course provided a historical overview of the major figures of Italian Renaissance architecture from 1400 to 1600—Brunelleschi, Alberti, Leonardo, Bramante, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Michelangelo, Peruzzi, Giulio Romano, Sanmicheli, Sansovino, Palladio and Serlio. Stressing the dialectic of rule and license implicit in the revival of the classical code, we studied the diverse cultural and artistic factors that entered into the project of forging a new language based on antiquity. Topics covered included: the social and cultural implications of the link between architecture and humanism; the role of architecture in elaborating new urban strategies, chiefly in Florence; the search for a new type of canon that simultaneously presupposed and challenged the authority of Vitruvius and the study of ancient buildings; the emergence of new conventions of graphic representation based on orthographic and perspective projection; the transformation of architecture by print culture, whose mechanical reproduction of image and text revolutionized the dissemination of theory; the division of architects into three major categories, derived from their training as masons, painters or sculptors; the assertion of an unprecedented cultural status for the architect constituted by novel concepts of authorship; the relation of architecture to new uses of visual representation that helped inaugurate the modern era.