Italian Renaissance

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Renaissance begins in Florence around 1400 as they emerge victorious from the attempts of subjugation by the powerful Duke of Milan, and the Florentines see their city as a “new Athens”.


Designs are based on, but do not copy, classical antiquity. Designers recognize that centuries separate them from the ancients, so instead of reviving the ancient styles, they aspire to create modern works that vie with or, surpass antiquity.


Early Renaissance 

Appear light due to slender construction. Feelings of tension or awkwardness as designers learn to use classical design principles. Classical details may be used incorrectly, and designers borrow freely from antiquity and middle ages

S. Maria del Fiore, Florence

High Renaissance 

Follows the development of architectural theory, and show a better understanding of classicism. Numerical ratios and geometric forms dominate. Architects emulate, but do not copy, antiquity.

Tempietto (S. Pietro in Montorio), Rome

Late Renaissance 

Some follow High Renaissance principles, but others create a parody of classicism known as Mannerism. Classical elements are put together incorrectly or in odd ways. Classical proportions are rejected, and lightness and tension reappear. Does not reject classicism but deliberately brakes its rules.

II Rendentore, Venice


Classical motifs appear extensively as embellishment and include: Classical Figure, cherub, swag, rinceau, rosette, scroll, cartouche (oval medallion), and geometric Patterns.

Blank Cartouche


Key concepts are a return to the classical orders, the adoption of classical forms, and a mathematical approach. Begin to relate the parts of buildings using simple whole-number proportions, usually derived from musical harmonies.

Public Buildings 


Churches and public structures are most important.

Palazzo della Ragione, Vicenza

Site Orientation

Stand in self-contained isolation with little relationship to their surroundings.

Palazzo Davanzati, Florence

Floor Plans 

Churches resemble the Latin Cross, and plans feature carefully articulated square modules. In the second half of the 16th century, chapels began replacing side aisles. Experiment with centralized plans. Public buildings may feature rectangular plans defined by symmetrical columns and architectural openings.


Use local stone or brick.

Church Facades 

Most resemble the gable ends of ancient temples with triangular pediments supported by arches and pilasters and engaged columns dividing the composition into regular bays.

S. Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

Other Facades 

Classical imagery, details, and organization are characteristics. The Florentine arch is a new distinctive architectural form.

Building facades of Palazzo Strozzi

Windows and Doors

Arched and rectangular. Rounded Roman arches appear more frequently during the Early Renaissance.

S. Lorenzo


Gabled and/or domed, and terra-cotta roof tiles.


Become important. Churches follow traditional patterns and are symmetrical, regular, formal, and majestic.

Public Buildings 


Stone and marble are common, and Pietra serena (gray stone) appears extensively.


Stone or tile

S. Maria del Fiore


Develop with classical ordering to include a dado, shaft, and entablature. Moldings, arches, and pediments accent doors and windows. Walls may be plain or embellished with painted trompe l’oeil (photographically realistic) decoration.

S. Giorgio Maggiore


Groin or barrel-vaulted ceilings. nave ceilings are high to accommodate windows; some have flat and coffered ceilings with vaulted side aisles.

S. Maria del Fiore


Scarlet, cobalt blue, gold, deep green, and cream.


Shutters, blinds, and awnings block light and heat. Candles and firelight give little illumination. Candleholders, floor stands, and wall sconces. are typically of wood, iron, brass, and bronze.


Furniture is rectilinear and massive with classical ornament and proportions.


most common pieces include the sedia (box-shaped armchair with runners), X-form chairs like the Dante (X-form with four legs, sometimes a seat of honor), and Savonarola (X-form with many interlacing slats, often used by scholars), trestle table, Cassone (chest or coffer with hinged lid), and cassapanca (a long wooden bench with a seat and back; seat has hinged lid).

Prince Chair

Sgabello Chair

Distinctive Features

Chairs feature quadrangular or turned legs with side runners terminating in lion’s heads, Back legs form the back upright, and front arm posts form the front legs.


walnut is the main wood, but oak, cedar, and cypress and typical. some are made of iron.


Sedias, ladder-backs with rush seats, the Dante, the Savonarola, and the Sgabello.



Long, narrow, oblong trestle tables for dining, tables with marble or pietra dura (semiprecious stones inlaid in wood) tops, folding tables, andsmall side tables or sideboards.


Cassones used for storage and seating, Florance introduces the casapanca (chest with a back used as a seat).



The lettiers, four-poster beds, and simple boards with legs derived from the middle ages. Few trundle and folding beds exist.


Velvet or leather. some seat covers, cushions, and coverlets are made of tapestries, embroidered fabrics, cushions, and wall and bed hangings.

Decorative Arts

Mirrors or silver, Ewers, basins, inkwells, candlesticks, and other decorative objects are of bronze and brass. Prints or paintings. Devotional scenes are common in bedrooms, portraits and maps hang in halls, galleries, and reception rooms. Bronze, terra-cotta, or plaster statuettes, antique and new sculptures.


Decorative objects and informal dinnerware are made of Italian majolica (tin-glazed earthenware painted in bright colors).

  1. Shivrajkumar says:

    thanks for the info devru nimmanna chenaggi itirli(keep) 😛

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