Week 12: Bernini and the Popes

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini was born in 1598 in Naples and lived through 1680. When he was young he moved with his father, a sculptor, to Rome where he stayed for the rest of his life. He was one of the most important Baroque sculptors of 17th century Rome. Not only was he successful in his sculpture, but he went on to combine that with his success as an architect. He worked with three Popes: Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644), Innocent X Pamphili (1644-1655), and Alexander VII Chigi (1655-1667). He was knighted at age 23 and he became the Architetto della fabbrica at 31 (1629). He was a master in the era of Counter Reformation Baroque, where the art is meant to communicate religious themes and involve the viewer.

Baldacchino, 1624-33

Urban VIII Barberini, who was Pope from 1623 to 1644, would be in charge of commissioning a young Bernini to decorate much of the interior of St. Peter's, including the notable Baldacchino. Placed above the tomb of St. Peter, the Baldacchino is made of bronze as well as other materials. There are four spiraling columns, the rotary motion expresses an upward feeling of movement.

The entire structure is covered with papal symbolism, for example the Barberini bees. The structure stands at 100 feet and with its mix of natural, architectural, and decorative it acts as a mediator between the pilgrim and the vastness of St. Peter's. Bernini, who went on to be the most important sculptor of the Baroque period, highlights his variety of skills. By considering architecture and sculpture, he produces a continuum through space where the viewer is involved in activating the scene.

At the altar behind the Baldacchino is Bernini's Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter), is a reliquary holding a wooden chair that is said to have belonged to St. Peter. The sculpture backing the throne is an example of how Bernini combined sculpture with architecture; the sculptural beams of light and the stained glass evoke the harmonious relationship.

S. Andrea al Quirinale, Bernini

San Andrea is a Jesuit church that was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII. It was started in 1658 and completed in 1662. The space allowed was restricted, a challenge Bernini met with inspiration.

The interior uses an oval plan. As you can see in the floor plan, Bernini carved out four equal chapels on either side of the altar. The facade has a convex entryway flanked by two concave walls creating movement, a typical Baroque convention.

Also featured:
- tripartite composition
- single pedimented bay, versus the usual double tabernacle facade
- monumental Corinthian pilasters reminiscent of St. Peter's
- portico with freestanding Ionic columns
- semi circular entrance repeated in entablature

By diminishing the size of the coffers and narrowing the ribs toward the oculus, Bernini used illusion to suggest a higher dome. The dome has a ring of windows at the bottom to illuminate the interior.

An excellent example of the melding of architecture and sculpture is the High Altar with Antonio Raggi's sculpture of St. Stephen. Again the motif of projecting and recessing is used here. The plastic center pulls forward and projects the figure of St. Stephen breaking through the pediment in his ascent to heaven.

San Pietro gets some work done, 1629

Bernini was appointed Architect of St. Peter's in 1629, following Carlo Maderno. Commissioned by Urban, Bernini would go on to renovate the facade, create the open piazza, and raise the Scala Regia. Maderno has planned to add towers on opposite ends and Bernini attempted to follow through. However, due to the instability of the ground these towers, near completion, began to crack. They were subsequently taken down. During this time Urban died and was replaced by Innocent X, who was not as supportive of Bernini's choices.

Luckily, by 1655 Alexander VII was in place and together they got the construction of the piazza started. Composed of a trapezoidal shape feeding into a large oval, all of which is surrounded by colonnades. The rows of Tuscan columns are topped with a trabeated entablature. This innovative design gave the church an illusion of greater height (countering Maderno's bottom heavy facade but did not overpower it. Bernini had included in his plan a third colonnaded section, adding an element participation. It would have allowed those passing by to see through the columns, treated to different views of the awe inspiring church. This was not added on, however.

Around 1663 Bernini started work on the Scala Regia. As you can see in the plan, there were some discrepancies in the continuity. In order to maintain the illusion of naturalism, Bernini has varied the distance between the columns and the walls and reduced diameter when needed. This use of perspective along with the Palladian motif of a broken entablature arch on columns creates a sculptural effect.


Counter Reformation and Early Baroque Rome

The Counter Reformation was a period in which, with the intention of inspiring a Catholic revival in Rome, Pope Pius IV in 1560 set up a series of reforms. This worked in tandem with the Council of Trent (1545-63) where Pope Paul III addressed the corruption and abuse within the church. Saint Charles Borromeo worked in support of this revival, which also included the rejection of Protestant practices and the establishment of new religious orders. One of the strongest orders to come from this are the Jesuits, founded by S. Ignatius of Loyola in 1534. This would effect architecture by the changing needs of churches and the creation of pilgrimage routes. In this period we will see the transition from Late Renaissance to Early Baroque.

Il Gesu, 1568

Jacopo Vignola's design for Il Gesu in Rome is important for several reasons. As a result of the Council of Trent, a new kind of architecture was established in Rome. Il Gesu, as the Jesuits inaugural church, reflected their mendicant status with reliance on donations and focus on education and missionaries, it also established the shift toward desegragating congregations. With the abbreviation of side aisles and transepts, a larger nave was allowed. Instead of large aisles, carved out chapels were created. It also eased the problem of joining the exterior levels. There are Albertianesque scrolls to suggest continuity. Following patron Cardinal Farnese's wish that all would have access to the altar, Vignola combined a suppressed basilica plan with a Latin cross plan. Additionally, Farnese was interested in the sound quality. In order to project the preaching for all to hear, a barrel vaulted nave was decided upon.

Vignola was relieved of his position on Il Gesu, the creator of this facade is Giacomo della Porta (1537-1602). He followed, to some degree, Vignola's original plan. There is a double tabernacle facade, with horizontal and vertical symmetry. Framed by a pediment, the top story seems to be set back from the more plastic lower story. The emphasis is on the portal, where there are double pilasters and columns. The exterior structure is reminiscent of Palladio's Il Redentore, with a strong sense of compact focus.
Also, the interior decoration is not as Vignola had planned. His wish was to reflect the humble mendicant order, lighter colors, whites, and the simplification utilized by Il Redentore. Instead there are lavish frescoes by Giovanni Battista Gaulli.

City planning and Pope Sixtus V

Pope Sixtus V (Felice Peretti, Pope from 1585-90) was interested in organizing a modern Rome, he planned to do this using a combination of marking important monuments with Christianized pagan obelisks and renewing urban infrastructure. As the patron of Domenico Fontana (1543-1607) he made it possible for Fontana to straighten, widen, and lengthen circuitous routes between religious sites. The overarching goal being pilgrim accessibility.
Fontana was also responsible for moving and erecting these obelisk markers, which could weigh over 300 tons. He was sometimes assisted by his brother, Giovanni and nephew, Carlo Maderno.

Some of the monuments which had obelisks erected are St. Peter's and S. Maria Maggiore, which is centrally located with streets radiating from it and is an important pilgrimage church.

Domenico Fontana was also behind the Fountain of Moses (Acqua Felice, 1587). As Rome's first source of water since the 6th century, it was meant to symbolize Pope Sixtus V as Moses bringing water to Rome. With the building of this modern Rome, the transition to Baroque was approaching.

Carlo Maderno (1556-1629)

S. Susanna

Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) was the successor and nephew of Domenico Fontana. He had assisted his uncle in the placement of several obelisks, during the wave of city planning. After becoming a more established architect he was put to work on the renovation of S. Susanna in Rome (1597-1603).
Faced with the now common situation of seamlessly applying a temple front on an irregular Medieval structure, Maderno looked to Vignola's original design of Il Gesu for ideas, using volutes to connect the two stories and topping the whole with a pediment. However, he made the design his own by giving strength and force to the classical orders. Using ornamental build up, layers are created giving a sense of projection and recession. Especially in the upper story, where the columns have shifted from being engaged on the lower to thick pilasters reaching out on the top story.

St. Peter's

Maderno is also important because of his work on St. Peter's. In 1603 he was appointed by Pope Paul V to succeed della Porta's position as Architect of St. Peter's. Several years into his residency, Maderno began to make decisions that would complete the construction. While making an effort to follow Michelangelo's plan, Maderno added a three bay nave (1609-1615) and in the facade (1607) succeeded in making an undetectable transition from the older centralized structure to his longitudinal addition. Maderno used some of the same principles featured at S. Susanna, progressive layering and a central focus marked with a pediment. Maderno added a secondary order on the lower story portals, which gives the facade a more human scale and adds to the overall rhythm.

The Michelangelo designed dome was vaulted by Giacomo della Porta (1588-93) with the assistance of the engineer Domenico Fontana.

Palazzo Barberini

Conceived by Taddeo Barberini, relative of Pope Urban VIII Barberini, this semi suburban palace has an unusual U-plan, with an extended arm and no interior courtyard. While this was common in the designs of other suburban Roman villas, for example Villa Farnesina, Palazzo Barberini was seen as an innovation and fit into the Early Baroque genre. Carlo Maderno was involved in the replacement of the pre-existing Villa Sforza, he worked on this project from 1627 to 1629, when he died. He was replaced by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) was to be his assistant. Featured here:
- 2 story hall with an oval salon
- 3 tiers of arch headed windows
- Borromini's arcade windows on top story, these were set in using perspective to suggest depth

- superimposition on main facade, loggias facing street
- 2 staircases, one by Bernini and another more interesting oval staircase by Borromini

The interior was decorated with exuberant frescoes by Pietro da Cortona. Bernini finshed the Palazzo in 1638.


Andrea Palladio takes over...

Palladio started as a stonecutter, later in life he was trained by Giangiorgio Trissino and in Rome he was under the patronage of the Barbaro family. As an older man and a young architect Palladio had the advantage of being exposed to many influences, after he won the competition in Vincenza for the remodelling of the basilica he became the go to architect. While he was working mostly in Vincenza, neighboring Venetians heard of his great talent and soon they began commissioning Palladio for their own city. Influenced by classical antiquity, Bramante, and Michelangelo, Palladio incorporated his innovative trademarks such as: temple fronts on domestic buildings, consolidating buildings for agricultural villas, interlocking orders on churches, and above all classical proportion and harmony. In 1570 his treatise, I Quattro Libri (four books), highlighting his rules of architecture was printed.

Palazzo Thiene, Vincenza

Compare the House of Giulio Romano, another architect who influenced Palladio (1540/Mantua)...
- combination of Renaissance style with local tradition of decorating exterior, festoons
- layering on facade
- stitch like string course which follows line of pediment

...to Palladio's Palazzo Thiene (1537-42) which features:
- Bramantean 2 story type
- rough rusticated podium
- use of Roman orders, here in pilasters
- influence of Bramante's, House of Raphael
- inventive stonework design, quoining with different stone on lower level and upper level frames around windows
- alternating pediments, triangular and segmented
- doubled pilasters on ends only, otherwise single
- wrapped pilaster around corner
- Italian balustrade

Palazzo Iseppo del Porto, 1549-52

Created as a new palace (as opposed to adding or remodelling) in Vincenza, Palladio is still working with the vocabulary of other architects (here Sanmicheli), but his ideas here will become standards in modern Renaissance structures. As Sanmicheli does, Palladio merges classical concepts with Northern Italian decor, signified here with the keystone heads, alternating pediments, and winged victories in the spandrels. Palladio installs proportion, solving the problem of the attic story by using pedestals and adding statues. The termination point incorporates the order.

Palazzo Chiericati, 1550-57

Still in Vincenza, Palladio's Palazzo Chiericati should be noted for:
- its public/private relationship
- the open loggia and portico done in a classical style
- classicaly treated Doric and Ionic orders, superimposed
- expert handling of corners and note the cluster of Doric columns which seem to thrust the exterior forward
- 3 bay wings on each side, with a triumphal arch
- alternating pediments, with sculptural decor
- terminating point statues
- metope triglyph frieze

Palazzo Valmarana, 1565-66

In Palladio's Palazzo Valmarana (Vincenza), he invokes St. Peter's and Michelangelo's Capitoline Hill with the use of the Giant orders. Stretching from top to bottom and ending abruptly at the edge of the building to reveal underlying minor orders. This gives you an important view into the concept of layering planes. Also at the edge is a Mannerist type pedimented window framed with a full length statue. In keeping with the Northern love for decoration there are reliefs and balustrades.

Villa Rotunda, 1551

The Villa Rotunda, a vacation home just outside of Vicenza, illustrates several of Palladio's ideas. One is the importance of site in regards to the points of the compass as discussed in his Four Books of Architecture. Here he has placed the villa on a hilltop where it is embedded in its natural surrounding, radiating out over the land. Also demonstrated here is the application of the temple front to a secular building. The porticoes are topped with pediments and statues and the whole is topped with the dome. Before this structure personal secular buildings did not make use of elements traditionally found in religious buildings. By including the temple front and the dome, which links this to the Roman pagan temple, the Pantheon, Palladio created a new style of architecture. Even though it may have enraged some at the time, this combination of sacred and secular architecture would be copied for the rest of history, especially for civic buildings. The most prominent examples of this being the United States Capitol in Washington, DC and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia, both started in the late 18th century.

With six Ionic columns creating an open loggia on all four sides, Palladio has enhanced the absolute symmetry. As shown in the plan, the Rotunda is basically a circle in square, conceptually going back to Bramante, Brunelleschi, and of course the mathematical theories of Vitruvius.

Villa Barbaro, 1557-8

Palladio's design for agricultural villas were functional, not the typical pleasure villas of other cities. By consolidating scattered buildings into one strong and cohesive unit, the villa could reflect harmony with its environment and proportion and symmetry in its design. Details of Villa Barbaro in Maser:
- tripartite plan
- temple pediment on central facade distinguishing main building from others
- 4 Ionic columns

San Giorgio Maggiore, 1560

At S. Giorgio Maggiore, Palladio was faced with the challenge of combining a classical temple front with a Christian church and its high nave/low side aisle configuration. In 1460-70, Alberti had been the first to approach this situation with a remedy.
Palladio solved the problem by placing a large pediment with pilasters across the aisles, and a smaller pediment supported by the nave and monumental pilasters set on pedestals. It seems that there are two layers on the facade, the background horizontal lower story and the vertically ascending outer layer, complete with statues. The open portico adumbrated here may have been meant to extend out into a full portico, deviations may have been made due to the lack of space in the front. The church is on an island off of Venice, where it is flush with the Canal.
- Palladian windows in the transept arms
- different materials used, especially in the dome
- niches with sculptures alternating with monumental columns on pedestals
- plasticity in center of facade, sense of projection
- interior transition from Renaissance to Baroque, removal of screens, allowance of equality in churchgoers

Il Redentore, 1577-92

A state commission for the annual Doge visit, Palladio's Il Redentore is also located on an island off Venice. There are many similarities to the Maggiore:
- interlocking temple fronts
- possibility of intention of portico, but again lack of space
- layering and plasticity
- niches with sculptures
- varying materials

- campanile flanking dome
- main temple front is supported with a combination of pilasters and engaged columns
- compact structure
- triumphal arch entrance
- instead of pedestal, a wide staircase

Teatro Olimpico, 1584

The Teatro Olimpico in Vincenza follows classic Roman models, especially the principle of having a permanent backdrop. In this case Palladio, using perspectival illusion, has created an ideal cityscape. There are several entrances, which lavishly depict ancient architect.


Week 9, Northern Italy and Venice!

Thanks to the printing press (and the Sack of Rome), Venice was able to join in the continuation of Renaissance architecture. I say thanks to the Sack, because several architects took refuge in Venice where jobs were still available, whereas other central cities could not offer commissions. The printing press allowed treatises written by Serlio to be distributed and the pupils of earlier architects continued to spead influence, Bramante for example. This week the focus is on archaelogical and antique influence and the Renaissance in Northern Italy.

Fra Giocondo's Loggia del Consiglio

Fra Giocondo was born in Verona 1433 and lived until 1515. He was interested in the study of archaelogy and furthering the understanding of Vitruvius' On Architecture. Around 1511 he had written his own edition, complete with illustrations. This would consider a wider audience and allow them to access the writings of Vitruvius.
In 1500 Giocondo began work on the Loggia del Consiglio in Verona. This building points out a variety of differences.
- frescoed exterior
- strong sense of verticality, half column leading up to pilaster, topped with statue
- double window placed above double archway, making an ascending triangular
- complex use of all'antica relief in decoration above above windows
- grotesche on pilasters
- use of capital, but no pier
- shift between columns then pilasters on ground floor
- use of color in Veronese red and black marble
The Loggia is noticeably more colorful and decorative than the cental Italian buildings we've seen in the past. Perceptions of symmetry and design are also innovative.

Loggia Cornaro, Padua

Created by Giovanni Maria Falconetto (1468-1535) and for Alvise Cornaro in 1524, the Loggia Cornaro also employs antique themes and would set the stage for Palladio and and his interest in antiquity. Located in Padua, featured here are:
- tabernacles
- 5 arcaded bays divided by half columns
- statues alternating with windows on top story
- segmented pediments
- a richly decorated frieze

Palazzo Bevilacqua, Verona

Commissioned by Antonio Bevilacqua, Michele Sanmicheli (b. Verona 1484-1559) made renovations in the early 1530's. The structure is based on a Bramantean two story palace type. At first glance there seems to be an unclear point of centralization, this is due to the lack of space at the time of building. The original plan called for more bays and a central entrance. The facade is consists of two distinct ideas, the top story highlighting the concept of layering and the lower going back to the fortress look. The top story creates a complex rhythm with columns alternating between striaght and left and right spiraled fluting and the fenestration should also be noted here, while the windows themselves are alike the frames around them alternate between a small arch with a triangular or segmental pediment and festoons and a larger arch with a bust keystone and all'antica figures in the spandrel and entablature. Marking the transition of exterior levels is a balustraded balcony with modillions underneath. The lower level is heavily rusticated, with rusticated columns, lintels carried on brackets, and unequally spaced bays. Figural keystones are also used on the lower story. Mannerism and Romano's Palazzo del Te were influential here, as we can see a complex and rhythmic layering. There are factors that point to the emulation of antiquity, especially since Verona had some classical remains. One example is the Porta de'Borsari, which shows that there was interest in later antiquity.

Also designed by Sanmicheli in Verona, the Palazzo Canossa. Probably before the Bevilacqua, you can see some similarities:
- Bramantean two story type
- contrast between stories, arched window frames above and a rusticated lower floor
- balustrade
- layered planes

Differences include:
- doubled pilasters
- continuous base for orders
- statues above cornice