The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade: Structures of by Charles Burroughs

By Charles Burroughs

The architectural facade -- a very important and ubiquitous portion of conventional cityscapes -- addresses and complements the distance of town, whereas showing, or dissembling, inside preparations. during this ebook, Charles Burroughs lines the improvement of the Italian Renaissance palace facade as a cultural in addition to architectural and spatial phenomenon, and as a brand new approach of environment a restrict to, and defining, a personal sphere. the writer attracts on literary facts in addition to analyses of vital Renaissance structures, noting the paucity of specific dialogue of the topic in an period of in depth architectural publishing.

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Additional resources for The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade: Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense (Res Monographs in Anthropology and Aesthetics)

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106 In court society, various forms of dissimulation and subterfuge were necessary; this is perhaps the background of Serlio’s idea of an architecture in maschera. Serlio suggests, of course, that the mask in question can be removed at will, revealing an essential architecture. In relation both to architecture and human subjectivity, however, the question arises of an essential identity beyond the masks, for even sincerity may be no more than a mode of self-presentation. FACE AND PRE-FACE IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE An important trend in recent Renaissance studies has been the rehabilitation of the notion “Renaissance” itself, not simply as part of, but rather, in significant respects, in distinction to, an “early modern” historical era.

Sebastiano Serlio, design for portal from the Extraordinario libro, 1551. In the “bestial order,” as Serlio calls it, the opposition of rough stone and elegant craft is carried to an extreme, and the striations of the rock in the spandrels suggest monstrous faces. In Serlio’s examples, the cartouches are left blank, prompting the viewer to imagine, first of all, traditional forms of self-identification and representation, like coats of arms and other heraldic signs. By reason of their proliferation in diverse shape and position, however, the cartouches seem designed to accommodate the growing fashion for nonheraldic, broadly emblematic figurative material, notably imprese or “devices” associated with the exploits and ambitions of a specific individual, thereby indeed tacitly distinguishing such an individual from his or her lineage.

75 Yet the facade of a building endowed with subjectivity of a kind, might, like a human visage or face, inspire powerful desire. 76 VITRUVIUS, DE ARCHITECTO: TRANSPARENCY AND PROFESSIONALISM Self-revelation is an important theme in Vitruvius’s De architectura, as well as – perhaps especially – a motive for writing. 77 By his own admission an unprepossessing, uncharismatic man, Vitruvius laments the success of forms of self-promotion that are beyond his reach. 79 Vitruvius insists, then, on the need for an architect to win assent through the sober communication of professional qualifications, and without duplicitous rhetorical devices in attracting the attention and sponsorship of a society’s decision makers.

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