UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Andrea Palladio's influence on Venetian church design, 1581-1751 Green, Richard James


Andrea Palladio was born in Padua in the Republic of Venice in 1508 and practiced his architecture throughout the Veneto until his death in 1580. Today, there are some forth-four surviving palaces, villas, and churches by the master. These buildings have profoundly moved the imagination of countless generations of academics, artists, and architects for over four hundred years. Without a doubt, he has been the most exalted and emulated architect in modern history. While Palladio is well-remembered for his innovative palaces and villas of the Veneto, he is also most distinguished for his revolutionary religious architecture in Venice Itself. His designs for San Francesco della Vigna (1562) (Fig. 1), San Giorgio Maggiore (1565) (Fig. 3), Le Zitelle (1570) (Fig. 4), II Redentore (1576) (Fig. 5), and the Tempietto (1580) (Fig. 6) at Master, represented fresh and independent visions, exemplifying his deep-seated understanding of the ideas of the High Renaissance. Nowhere was Palladio's influence on the future development of ecclesiastical design more profoundly felt than in Venice itself. Collectively, the emulators of Palladian church design form a coherent episode which can be discernedly traced from Santa Maria Celeste (Figs. 7 and 8) in 1581 through to San Giovanni Novo (Fig. 9) of 1751. Between these years and buildings, there were sixty-two churches erected in Venice. Of these, some thirty-five structures, or fifty-six percent, exhibit, through their system of organizing plans, elevations and spatial relationships, different degrees of debt to Palladio. All in all they demonstrate a highly significant concurrency in the overall development of religious architecture in Venice. The aim of this present thesis is to investigate the architectural character of a large number of Venetian churches built between 1581 and 1751 in an attempt to clarify the extent of Palladio's influence on their design. This study will be divided into four chapters. In order to better understand sixteenth century Venetian building in general and Palladio's prominent position within it, Chapter One will explore the unfolding ambience of Renaissance architecture in Venice, elucidating the rich, productive, and international development of the city's most innovative architects. Herein, the saliency of Palladio and his churches, as crowning symbols of this period, will be examined. Chapters Two, Three and Four will explore the thirty-five churches under investigation. These last sections will analyze some ten or more buildings each, and, for the most part, in the chronological order of their construction. In the end, it is hoped that this study will demonstrate a clear and coherent tradition of Venetian church design which fulfilled itself through an integration of a whole series of Palladian prototypes.

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