Although unable to free themselves from the engineering and design legacy of either Romanesque architecture (c.800-1200) or Gothic architecture (c.1150-1375), the architects of the Italian Renaissance sought their main inspiration from Greek and Roman architecture - making liberal use of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders, combining classicism with the new principles of Humanism upon which so much of Renaissance art was based. Above all, they sought to establish the ideal proportions for a building, based on those of the idealized human body. Architecture during the Renaissance was also closely associated with urban planning and the dissemination of ideas, thanks to the new technique of printing. The 15th century quattrocento became the era of the treatise, as exemplified by Alberti's De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture) (1485), the printed translations of the writings of Vitruvius, the first century Roman architect, Vignola's The Rule of the Five Orders of Architecture, and Sebastiano Serlio's Seven Books of Architecture. The Renaissance was also a multi-media event: thus, architecture went hand in hand with sculpture as well as mural painting. Furthermore, some of the best sculptors (Michelangelo) and Old Masters (Raphael) became excellent architects.
Leading Renaissance Architects
The greatest architects of the Renaissance included: Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), Giovanni Giocondo (1433-1515), Giuliano da Sangallo (1443-1516), Donato Bramante (1444-1514), the theorist Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), Michelangelo (1475-1564), Baldessare Peruzzi (1481-1536), Raphael (1483-1520), Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1484-1546), Michele Sanmicheli (1484-1559), Jacopo Sansovino (1486-1570), Giulio Romano (1499-1546), Giacomo Barozzi (Vignola) (1507-1573), Andrea Palladio (1508-80), Pirro Ligorio (1510-83), Galeazzo Alessi (1512-72), Giacomo della Porta (1533-1602), the theorist Vincenzo Scamozzi (1548-1616), Carlo Maderno (1556-1629), Antonio Contini (1566-1600).
Highlights of Renaissance Architecture
Although the continuing demand for monumental religious art meant that most architectural projects involved cathedrals, basilicas, churches, chapels, sacristies, baptisteries, temples and tombs, Renaissance architects also designed a wide range of secular structures, such as palaces, villas, libraries, hospitals, piazzas, fountains, and bridges. Celebrated examples of Renaissance design include: the dome of Florence Cathedral (1420-36) and the Church of San Lorenzo (1420-69) by Brunelleschi; Palazzo Medici Riccardi (1445-1460) by Michelozzo di Bartolommeo; Palazzo Rucellai (1446-51) by Alberti; Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri (1485-1506) by Giuliano da Sangallo; Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio (1502) by Bramante; Palazzo del Te, Mantua (1525-34) by Giulio Romano; Saint Peter's Basilica (1506-1626) for which many famous Renaissance and Baroque architects contributed ideas, including Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Bernini (1598-1680) - the Villa Farnese at Caprarola (c.1560) by Vignola; the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (1562) and the Villa Capra (1566-91) by Palladio. Highlights of architectural Renaissance sculpture include Michelangelo's David (1501-4), and the Rape of the Sabine Women (1581-2, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence) by Giambologna (1529-1608).