Thursday, February 05, 2009

Andrea Palladio his life and legacy

Above: Model of the church of the Redentore, Venice, 1972. Lime and beechwood with bisque details, 152 x 241 x 87 cm [Photo Alberto Carolo, from The Royal Academy collection]

The Royal Academy, London UK
Until 13 April, daily 10am to 6pm (Fri to 10pm), £9

The Royal Academy is the setting for an exhibition dedicated to 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio. This is the first exhibition devoted to Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) to be held in London for over 30 years and celebrates the quincentenary of his birth. Coming back from his Grand Tour of Venice and the Veneto in 1717, Lord Burlington set about having his Piccadilly mansion remodelled in the new style and, with its unveiling, instantly started a trend. Where even the most modest terrace could boast its set of white pilasters, until the revival of Victorian Gothic.

It is hard to doubt that Palladio really was an important and influential architect. Studying the architecture of classical Rome, he set about creating a system of design based on rigorous, mathematical principles and his numerous country villas, such as the Rotunda, astonished those who marvelled at their perfect proportions.

Palladio was not only one of the greatest Italian architects; he was also a practitioner whose work has continued to resonate down five centuries. Active in Vicenza, Venice and the Veneto region, he crafted a new architectural language derived from classical sources yet shaped to fulfil the functional demands and aesthetic aspirations of his own age. His impressive oeuvre includes public buildings and churches. It was, however, his town palaces and country villas that influenced subsequent generations of European and American architects. Large-scale models, computer animations, original drawings, books and paintings present the full range of this exceptional architect’s output and his legacy, demonstrating why Palladio’s name has been synonymous with architecture for 500 years.

The Royal Academy

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