Monday, December 7, 2009

NINETH ENTRY: Italian Renaissance

NOTE: 15th to 18th Centuries

Above Michelangelo's Laurentian Library in Florence, 1519.

The word renaissance means "rebirth". It identifies the renewed appreciation of the achievements of ancient Greece and Rome. This all begun in Florence during the 14th century and eventually spread throughout Europe.

Italian Renaissance was a revolutionary and not an evolutionary development in the history of design. It seems as it creativity was due to the profound change in human nature.

*GEOGRAPHY: Italian renaissance was mainly found in Florence, Rome and Venice for this is where all the painters, designers and architects thrived. Economic and political influences were found in Genoa, Milan, and Pisa because marble quarries were in the nearby mountains to help supply marble for flooring and intarsia, which is explained below in Renaissance Decoration.

*RELIGION: The Catholic church, with its headquarters in Rome had become very powerful in Italy. But with great power had come the corruption and misconduct of church authorities. This was due to the taxation system of church goers which eroded the faith in the church.

Some important religious leaders: Dominican Monk Savonarola, and German priest Martin Luther.They both lead activities of Reformation.

*BOURGEOISIE: The Medici family rose from obscurity to wealth through their work as merchants and bankers. They commissioned lots of the artists work of their time.


Palazzo Davanzati, Florence: The facade of the late 14th century, the exterior has 3 wide-arched openings on the ground floor. The interior combines old and new elements with the painted wood ceiling beams that could be mistaken for medieval designs. as well as the hooded fire place is also a relic of older times. The walls have been divided into geometric bands, and the band nearest to the ceiling has been frescoed with a pleasant arcade of vaults on pairs of Corinthian columns.

Florentine Arches: Round arches that are met in the middle with Corinthian columns paying homage to ancient Greek and Roman architecture. This is the rebirth. This is The Renaissance.

**The image above is of the courtyard at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

The Villla Capra: Also know as "The Rotonda" near Vicenza and was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1557-1583. Its four identical porticoes that outlooks the countryside. This was created for a priest, Paolo Almerico, on his retirement from the Vatican. His house was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
**Blow is the Floor Plan and Section:

The Basilica of St. Peter's: It has been called the pinnacle architecture achievement for the Renaissance. It Occupies the same site as the Old St. Peter's which was the most important of Early Christian structures. It covers 227, 000 sq. ft. and is roofed by barrel vault's that support Corinthian pilasters.

Buildings on the right are parts of Vatican City.and at the centre of the piazza is an obelisk from Egypt.


Michelangelo: Painter, sculptor, architect and engineer he was considered a renaissance man for the many traits he possessed; being able to be multi-talented. Known for his fresco's like the Sistine Chapel, Laurentein Library, St. Peter's Basilica, to name a few...

Statue of David: One of the great works by Michelangelo in 1504, Florence. Made out of marble and stands 17ft tall, David was the young boy who slayed Goliath in the biblical times. This statue captures David prior to the battle, unlike many other depictions which show David after the fact.

The statue came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city state threatened by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the The Medici Family themselves.

Leonard Da Vinci: Considered to be Michelangelo's rivial he was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist and writer. This again is what iluustrates a Renissance man! Leonardo's great works include: The Last Supper, The Virtruvian Man theory, and Virgin of the Rocks.

Mona Lisa: Is considered the most famous and iconic paintings of the world. This piece was done by Leonardo Di Vinci in the 16th century with the medium being oil. The lady's name is Lisa Gherardini and was nobody of fame but a wife of a wealthy man.

Here is a video on The Mona Lisa:


Sgabello: used for dining and as general seating. It has a hexagonal seat with a solid back that is carved of wood. The leg support design is a tressel base.

Savonarola: Named after the monk, it has interlacing curved slats with a carved wooden back and arms. It has 2 different forms fixed or folding. The main reason of design was to be portable.

Dante: X design and folding like the Savonarola chair. This piece usually has leather seats and the main construction is wood. Heavily carved arms and legs.

Cassone: was a chest or a box of any kind, from small jewel casket to the enormous and immovable wedding/ dowry chest that was the most important piece of furniture in the Italian room.
-Hinged lid
-Used as a seat or table
-Highly decorated (carved or painted)

Cassapanca: large cassone with a back and arms added to form a settee or sofa with storage below. Very popular in Florence; loose cushions used for comfort.


Intarsia: It derives from the Latin word 'interserere' which means "to insert". It was originally developed in Siena, Italy during the 13th century by crafters using inlays of ivory inserted into wood and also into wall murals, table tops and other furniture.

**Seen above in the cassone and cassapanca funiture pieces.

Fresco: is the art of painting hand ground natural earth pigments on a damp lime plaster wall. As the painted plaster wall dries it absorbs into the wall instead of sitting on top of the surface. It then becomes part of the structure of the wall.

The image above is Annibale Carracci's ceiling in Palazzo Farnese, Rome