Royal Academy of Arts- Andrea Palladio


Today I went to the Royal Academy of Arts to see the Andrea Palladio exhibit.  I had never heard of this architect but my dad alerted me of the exhibit as he had seen an article about it in The New Yorker.  And am I glad!  It was really so very interesting- even for someone who knows nothing about architecture.  

I decided to pony up the 3 GBP for the audio guide and that was a very good thing as since it was the last day of the exhibit it was pretty crowded and the guide helped to, well, guide you!  Basically Palladio’s name is synonymous with architecture (I just learned that!).  His name is associated with buildings as Villa Rotonda near Vicenza (c. 1565-66), Basilica in Vincenza (from 1546), the great Venetian churches of San Giorgio Maggiore (1565) and the Redentore (1577), and the Villas Barbaro and Emo in the Veneto (1550s).  He was known for bringing theory and practice together, in both his publications and his buildings.  He recognized that farms, barns and bridges were projects as worthy as churchas and palaces, and that any building could be beautiful without the use of expensive materials.  His work really was absolutely astounding for the time period (b 1508, d 1580).
The exhibit was split into four galleries.  1: Padua and Vincenza, 1508-155o: From Stonemason to Established Architect.  2: Venice and the Veneto: New Patrons, New Projects.  3: The Later Years: Venice and Vicenza.  4: Making a New Architecture: The Architect’s Mind.
I think I liked the first gallery the best because it had the models and blueprints for his villas.  They were incredibly and you could just imagine escaping busy city life to rest and relax at one of them.  I could imagine someone building one like that today, 500 years later!
His publication, I Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture, 1570) is supposed to be like the Bible of architecture.  The exhibit had some original pages from it and it really was incredible.  The gallery also showed modern examples in England where architects had been influenced by Palladio and his Quattro Libri.  
More on the Royal Academy of Arts and this exhibit can be found here.  
More details on his work here.  And his wikipedia entry here.  
Next week I am going to go back to see the Kuniyoshi exhibit– he is considered one of the greatest Japanese print artists of the nineteenth century.  
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