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Nature and the Antique in the Work of Andrea Palladio

Bruce Boucher
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 59, No. 3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 296-311
DOI: 10.2307/991645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/991645
Page Count: 16
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Nature and the Antique in the Work of Andrea Palladio
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Abstract

This study examines some of Palladio's reconstructions of ancient buildings and attempts to locate a modus operandi behind the anomalies and inconsistencies in his theory of architecture. Special attention is paid to Palladio's inventive reconstruction of the terraces of the Roman theater at Verona and of the façade of the Temple of Minerva at Assisi, raising the issue of why he modified the evidence in both cases. The examination of these examples is complemented by a consideration of Palladio's presentation of his own projects in the Quattro libri and by an analysis of his writings in order to determine how the concepts of nature and the antique became intertwined in his theory of architecture. Palladio's theoretical approach was also bolstered by the literary and the architectural writings of his principal mentors, Giangiorgio Trissino and Daniele Barbaro, as well as Aristotle's Poetics and Horace's Ars Poetica. Palladio's distinctive elaboration of the relationship between trees and columns is also reviewed in the context of his critique of Gothic architecture with reference to the Doge's Palace in Venice and the façade of San Petronio in Bologna. Both Palladio's writings and his graphic work point to a tendency to edit the evidence of antiquity and of his own work to conform to his theories.

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