This is the final part of a two-part series on 15th century architecture. While last week focused on Italy, this part will bring you various structures in Great Britain and mainland Europe. Some architecture is Christian in nature; others were inspired by such design or were designed and built by those associated with 15th century Gothic cathedrals and churches.
King’s College Chapel is the chapel to King’s College of the University of Cambridge, and it is considered one of the finest examples of late Perpendicular Gothic English architecture. The chapel was built in phases by a succession of kings of England from 1446 to 1515, a period which spanned the Wars of the Roses. The chapel’s large stained glass windows were not completed until 1531, and its early Renaissance rood screen was erected in 1532–36.
The picture shows the King’s College Chapel (partially obscured by the Gibbs’ Building), seen from the Backs (a picturesque area where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back on to the River Cam).
During the 14th and 15th centuries Gothic architecture ceased to be international and split into definable regional styles. In England the first Gothic style (Early English) was succeeded by Decorated and Perpendicular styles. The King’s College Chapel, shown here, represents the Perpendicular style at its most lavish, with vast windows divided by grid-like mullions and that uniquely English speciality, the fan-vault.
The Sens Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Sens) was one of the earliest Gothic buildings in France, and the largest of the early Gothic churches. The choir was begun in 1140. As was typical in cathedral construction, work progressed westwards, building the nave, with the west front completed around 1200. The structure was finally completed in the 16th century.
During the 14th and 15th centuries Gothic architecture ceased to be international and split into definable regional styles. In France, this is characterized by its curvilinear, flame-like window tracery – hence the name Flamboyant.
The picture shows the south transept with its huge Flamboyant window.
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium. It is located about 25 kilometres east of Brussels, close to other neighboring towns such as Mechelen, Aarschot, Tienen, and Wavre.
The first stone of the Town Hall was laid in 1439, the designer was the architect Sulpitius Van der Vorst. He died shortly afterwards and architect Keldermans continued his work. When Keldermans died in 1445 a third architect, Mathijs de Layens, continued the construction from 1448 until 1468. It was Mathijs de Layens who gave the flamboyant Gothic look to the building. He is therefore also considered the creator of the town hall.
This building is a superb display of decorative sculpture.
Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Its port, Zeebrugge, is an important center for fishing and European trade. The city-center Markt features horse-drawn carriage rides and 17th-century houses converted into restaurants and cafes, as well as the 13th-century belfry with its 47-bell carillon and 83 meter (272 foot) tower with panoramic views. The immensely tall belfry dwarfs the surrounding buildings.
The belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower in the historical center of Bruges. It is one of the city’s most prominent symbols. It was added to the market square around 1240, when Bruges was prospering as an important center of the Flemish cloth industry. After a devastating fire in 1280, the tower was largely rebuilt. The octagonal upper stage of the belfry was added between 1483 and 1486.
The Hôtel-Dieu was founded on 4 August 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the Duke’s Chancellor, and his wife Guigone de Salins, when Burgundy was ruled by Duke Philip the Good. It was intended to be a refuge for the poor. The main ward, called the Room of the Poors, measures 50x14x16 meters. On the ceiling, the exposed painted frame is in an upside down boat-skiff shape and in each beam are sculpted caricatures of some important Beaune inhabitants. The pieces of furniture were brought together in 1875 by the son in law of the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Each bed could welcome two patients.
The hospital at Beaune is one of the largest and best preserved of medieval hospitals. Originally there would have been simply rows of beds without canopies.
Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in the Côte d’Or department in eastern France. It is located between Paris and Geneva.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, and is nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires.” It is known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, with a popular show. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with 30 statues of saints.
The fantastic clock on the Old Town Hall of Prague was made by Magister Hanus, the university astronomer. The big outer ring, with Arabic numbers, relates to the Bohemian 24-hour day (which began at sunset), and the face with Roman numerals to the motions of the stars and planets. The smaller ring shows the position of the sun and moon in the Zodiac. At the top, at each hour, the mechanical figures of the Apostles, Death and allegorical Virtues process out of one opening and into another.
The mechanism of the clock was renewed in the 16th century and its face had been restored on a number of occasions in later times.
Next week, we return to Italy for 16th Century Architecture for Sacred Sunday.
The term “vintage” may now have a whole new meaning for wine lovers—a treasure trove of 170-year-old champagne has been unearthed from the bottom of the sea. In 2010, a group of divers in the Baltic Sea happened upon the remains of a sunken trade schooner just off the coast of Finland. Scattered amongst the wreckage 160 feet below the surface, they discovered a treasure sent from Dionysus himself—168 bottles of French bubbly that had aged in near perfect conditions for decades.
Although the local government ultimately claimed the bottles, a team of scientists led by Philippe Jeandet, a professor of food biochemistry at the University of Reims, was able to obtain a small sample of the preserved beverage for testing—and tasting. Their chemical and sensory analysis, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a unique lens into the past, offering information about conventional winemaking…
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Leonardo da Vinci’s talents and gifts were so massive, so encompassing and his contribution to the world so great, Art Wednesday will spend the next 4 Wednesdays to do his works and him justice.
Leonardo’s many extant drawings, which reveal his brilliant draftsmanship and his mastery of the anatomy of humans, animals, and plant life, may be found in the principal European collections; the largest group is at Windsor Castle in England. Probably his most famous drawing is the magnificent Self-Portrait (c. 1510-13, Biblioteca Reale, Turin).
Because none of Leonardo’s sculptural projects was brought to completion, his approach to three-dimensional art can only be judged from his drawings. The same strictures apply to his architecture; none of his building projects was actually carried out as he devised them. In his architectural drawings, however, he demonstrates mastery in the use of massive forms, a clarity of expression, and especially a deep understanding of ancient Roman sources.
As a scientist Leonardo towered above all his contemporaries. His scientific theories, like his artistic innovations, were based on careful observation and precise documentation. He understood, better than anyone of his century or the next, the importance of precise scientific observation.
Unfortunately, just as he frequently failed to bring to conclusion artistic projects, he never completed his planned treatises on a variety of scientific subjects. His theories are contained in numerous notebooks, most of which were written in mirror script. Because they were not easily decipherable, Leonardo’s findings were not disseminated in his own lifetime; had they been published, they would have revolutionized the science of the 16th century.
Leonardo actually anticipated many discoveries of modern times. In anatomy he studied the circulation of the blood and the action of the eye. He made discoveries in meteorology and geology, learned the effect of the moon on the tides, foreshadowed modern conceptions of continent formation, and surmised the nature of fossil shells.
He was among the originators of the science of hydraulics and probably devised the hydrometer; his scheme for the canalization of rivers still has practical value. He invented a large number of ingenious machines, many potentially useful, among them an underwater diving suit. His flying devices, although not practicable, embodied sound principles of aerodynamics.
A creator in all branches of art, a discoverer in most branches of science, and an inventor in branches of technology, Leonardo deserves, perhaps more than anyone, the title of Homo Universalis, Universal Man.
Pure depictions of landscape, in other words of depicting directly observed nature, were a complete novelty during Leonardo’s time. While imitating nature was the central task of artists at the time, none of them had until then been so rigorous as to go out into the open and draw an actual landscape. Instead, it was customary to create a landscape in the workshop with the aid of sketches or elements copied from models.
The landscape was seen as an accessory designed to support the central subject in compositions of the time, the human figure. Thus Leonardo’s drawings depicting real Italian landscapes are of great importance.
During classical times, plants were studied mainly because of their healing powers, but during the Christian Middle Ages a symbolic dimension was added to it. (For example, the lily appears as a symbol of the purity of Mary in paintings of the Annunciation.) In his early paintings Leonardo also used symbolic plants to extend the visual syntax.
In the 1490s his awakened interest in anatomy and proportion, visible in his studies of horses, altered fundamentally his study of botany. In order to understand the process of genesis and growth, Leonardo moved his attention from the appearance of the shape and began to investigate the influences on plants of light, earth and water. He grew to realize the importance of water for the nutrition of plants and was able to explain the various shapes of roots in terms of the varying capacity of soils to store water.
Leonardo was associated with engineering projects in all his life. In 1482 he offered his abilities in a letter to Lodovico Sforza, in ten points he presented himself as a designer and inventor of war machines – of movable bridges, battering rams, scaling ladders, mines, explosive devices, cannon and guns, naval arms, tunnels, armoured vehicles, catapults, projectiles and other things – as well as an architect of public and private buildings and water pipes. In his final years in France he dealt with architectural projects as well as hydrological projects intended for several French rivers.
Leonardo dealt with themes that had been considered by engineers before him and usually also written about in treatises. Nonetheless, Leonardo the engineer remains an exciting figure, for his method of developing machines is one that can still be called exemplary today.
He made a systematic study of the flying movements of birds and investigated the anatomy of the wing. He also studied general forms of movement in nature and understood that motion was the result of force and counterforce. He studied the element of air, and conducted extensive studies of water.
As a canal engineer, he built canals, bridges and locks and therefore had to understand the effects of forces such as whirlpools, surface eddies and rates of flow, as these had an effect on the direction of flow. Comparative phenomena can also be observed in the air. The science of winds, which Leonardo studied by observing water, helped him the understand air thermals.
Above: Manuscript page: Codex B, fol. 180r.
Next to the car, the flying machine was one of mankind’s great dreams and it is, therefore, not surprising that the inventive Leonardo should have devoted himself to this problem as well. His flying machines underwent several developmental stages. The machine illustrated here was meant to be powered by the muscle power of a man standing upright. He had to move the pairs of wings, that beat crosswise on top of each other, up and down like those of a bird. If built, the machine would have been so heavy that it would have been completely unsuitable for flight. Leonardo recognized this problem and attempted to reduce the weight by using lighter materials.
Above: Codex Atlanticus, fol. 812r.
The automobile that Leonardo attempted to power with a modified clockwork mechanism is one of his best-known inventions. It was not, however, an invention in the strict sense of the word, for other engineers before him had also made attempts to produce a self-powered vehicle. It is probable that Leonardo was familiar with these studies, though it is remarkable how intense Leonardo’s research of this technical phenomenon was.
Next week, Art Wednesday featuring Part 4 of Leonardo da Vinci.
On the Web:
Da Vinci Decoded Article from The Guardian
References for the Art Wednesday 4-part series:
My personal notes and papers when I was working at the Louvre, Paris completing my Master of Arts and my international art master’s degree.
Frank Zollner (2003). Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings. Taschen.
Martin Kemp (2004). Leonardo. Oxford University Press.
Theophilus (1963). On Divers Arts. U.S.: University of Chicago Press.
Angela Ottino della Chiesa (1967). The Complete Paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. Penguin Classics of World Art series.
Fritjof Capra (2007). The Science of Leonardo. U.S.: Doubleday.
Müntz, Eugène (1898). Leonardo da Vinci. Artist, Thinker, and Man of Science. Volume 1. London: William Heinemann.
Müntz, Eugène (1898). Leonardo da Vinci. Artist, Thinker, and Man of Science. Volume 2. London: William Heinemann.
Leonardo da Vinci: anatomical drawings from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1983.
Fred Bérence (1965). Léonard de Vinci, L’homme et son oeuvre. Somogy. Dépot légal 4° trimestre 1965.
The Heritage of the Military Funeral and Burial at Sea
Honoring the deceased is a centuries-old practice that includes many traditions across cultures. The customs and traditions behind military funerals and burial at sea date as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. In the Navy’s culture, as the final honor to give to shipmates, traditions are employed that not only signify the service of the deceased, but also display our nation’s commitment to their legacy.
Reversal of Rank
In Royal Connell and William Mack’s “Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions,”it is noted that the reversal of rank at military funerals is modeled after an ancient Roman custom of “reversing all rank and position when celebrating the feast of Saturn,”showing that, at death, all are equal. This is signified by positioning the honorary pallbearers and all other mourners, if practicable, in reverse order of rank.
Firing Three Volleys
The custom of firing three volleys at funerals comes from an old superstition. It was once thought that evil spirits escape from the hearts of the deceased, so shots are fired to drive away those evil spirits. “The number three has long had a mystical significance,”write Connell and Mack. They note that in Roman funeral rites, earth was cast three times into a grave, mourners called the dead three times by name, and the Latin word vale, meaning “farewell,”was spoken three times as they left the tomb. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also notes that the firing of three volleys “can be traced to the European dynastic wars when fighting was halted to remove the dead and wounded.”The funeral volley should not be mistaken for the twenty-one gun salute which is fired for the U.S. President, other heads of state, Washington’s birthday, and the Fourth of July. At Navy military funerals today, three volleys are fired by a firing detail of seven riflemen during the funeral of active duty personnel, Medal of Honor recipients, and retirees just before the sounding of taps.
The sounding of taps is perhaps one of the most moving and well known elements of military funerals. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, taps originated from the French final call, “L’Extinction des feux,”to extinguish the lights. This “lights out”bugle call was used by the U.S. Army infantry during the Civil War, but in 1862 Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield suggested a revision of the French tune, and we now have the 24-note bugle call we hear today. Taps was first played at a military funeral in Virginia when Union Capt. John Tidball ordered it to be played as a substitute to the traditional three rifle volleys so as not to reveal the battery’s position to the nearby enemy. At Navy military funerals today, taps is played by a military bugler after the firing of three volleys and just before the flag is folded.
The National Ensign
The National Ensign plays a very special role in today’s military funeral traditions. The custom of placing a flag over the body of a fallen soldier has been recorded in the days before the American Revolution when a private in the British Guards by the name of Stephen Graham wrote that the Union Jack was laid upon the body of a fallen soldier who died in the service of the State to show that the State “takes the responsibility of what it ordered him to do as a solider.”Today, this custom is practiced in American military funerals as a way to honor the service of the deceased veteran. The National Ensign is draped over the casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. After Taps is sounded, the body bearers fold the flag 13 times—representing the 13 original colonies—into a triangle, emblematic of the tri-cornered hat word by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, only the blue field with stars should be visible. The flag is then presented to the next of kin or other appropriate family member.
Burial at Sea
Another type of ceremony for honoring the deceased is the burial at sea (also called the “at sea disposition”) performed on a U.S. Navy vessel. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, the tradition of burial at sea is one that dates back to ancient times and has been a practice for as long as people have gone to sea. The body was sewn into a weighted sailcloth and in very old custom, the last stitch was taken through the nose of the deceased. The body was then sent over the side, usually with an appropriate religious ceremony.
During World War II, many burials at sea took place when naval forces operated at sea for months at a time. Today, active duty service members, honorably discharged retirees, veterans, U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependent family members of active duty, retirees, and veterans are eligible for at sea disposition.
The ceremony for burial at sea is conducted in a similar manner to that of shore funerals, with three volleys fired, the sounding of taps, and the closing of colors. The casket or urn is slid overboard into the sea after the committal is read, or, if requested, the cremated remains are scattered into the sea. Flowers or wreaths are also allowed to slide overboard or tossed into the sea by a flag bearer.
Because the committal ceremony is performed while a ship is deployed, family members are not permitted to attend burials at sea. So, within 10 days after committal, the commanding officer of the ship will mail a letter giving the date and time of committal and include any photographs or video of the ceremony, the commemorative flag, and a chart showing where the burial took place.
For many centuries, funerals have been a way to give our final respects to our loved ones. The customs and traditions that we share during the ceremony make it all the more meaningful.
World War II Unknown Serviceman
Ceremonies for the selection of the World War II Unknown Serviceman were conducted on board USS Canberra (CAG 2) on May 26, 1958. Medal of Honor recipient Hospitalman William R. Charette, selected the Unknown Serviceman. After the ceremonies, the WWII Unknown Serviceman was transported for interment at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, which fell on May 31.
Above photo: An Army member of the joint services casket team carries the folded U.S. flag from the casket of the Unknown Serviceman of the Vietnam Era to President Ronald Reagan, left, during the interment ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Photographed by Mickey Sanborn, 28 May 1984.
The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984. The Vietnam Unknown was transported aboard the USS Brewton to Alameda Naval Base, Calif. The remains were sent to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., May 24. The Vietnam Unknown arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the next day.
Many Vietnam veterans and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.
1973, the first U.S. manned orbiting space station, Skylab 2, was launched with an all US Navy crew. Commanding was Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., with Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, as the pilot, and Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin as the science pilot. Recovery was by USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14)…
Heroes and Warriors, all of them!
On the Web: Request Military Funeral Honors
For information on requesting military funeral honors, visit https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh.
For detailed information and protocol for Navy military funerals, see Bureau of Naval Personnel instruction NAVPERS 15555D. For information on burial at sea, contact the U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs Burial At Sea Program.
This post begins a two-part series on 15th Century Architecture. Today’s focus will be on Italy. While not all were cathedrals, as some were private residences (even a bank), most were at one time or another used for places and centers of worship. While many of these structures were designed by unknown architects, many of the artisans used were the same who plied their talents at many of Italy’s well-known churches and cathedrals.
Pigallo Portinari was the branch manager of the Medici Bank in Milan. He supervised the construction of a burial chapel for his family at the church of Sant’Eustorgio. Its Florentine and specifically Medici-associated patronage is evident in its plan and elevation, which consciously recall the Old Sacristy at San Lorenzo in Florence. However, there are significant alterations to both the proportions and the decoration.
In deference to Milanese traditions, the architect inserted a drum under the dome, increasing the height and providing a field in which polychromed terracotta angels dance and swing heavily laden festoons. The delight in color, so different from Brunelleschi’s spare, bichromatic scheme, continues in the vault, where frescoes simulate multiple rings of red, yellow, green, and blue overlapping tiles. The sequence of colours is that codified by Dominicans in the early fourteenth century as constituting the rainbow: a heavenly vision for Pigello, who was buried in the floor directly under the dome.
The name of the Chiostro del Noviziato (Noviciate Courtyard) comes from the fact that the novices’ rooms are located along one side. It was created in the latter half of the fifteenth century in a Gothic style.
The gateway into Venice’s great shipyard, the Arsenale, is an early demonstration of the influence of the antique in Venetian architecture. This grand portal, topped with a huge representation of the lion of the republic, is intended to express the importance of Venice as a marine power. The arched entrance, flanked by columns on high bases, is a reference to the ancient Roman triumphal arches.
The architect of this example of symbolic architecture is unknown.
The Venetian shipyard was perhaps the largest industrial complex in Europe at this time, it employed several thousand men in a system which has been compared to modern production line. The gateway has been enriched with later additions, including the female saint at the peak of the pediment, the bronze doors, the enclosed terrace in front of its statuary, and the lions to either side.
The entrance to the huge Arsenal complex is thought to be the first Renaissance work in Venice. The central arch is surmounted by the lion of St Mark; the statue on the tympanum is Justice by Girolamo Campagna.
This palace was built around the middle of the 15th century in late Gothic style. The upper floor is adorned with a four-mullioned window, with large quatrefoil elements. A projecting balcony is decorated with an elegant baluster held up by consoles. On the higher floor there is another open four-lancet window, with a small gallery set back from the façade. All Gothic windows are surrounded by dentate frames and pendentives on the spires. On the façade, between the side windows on the upper floor, there are two statues of shield-holding page-boys, placed inside marble niches in Renaissance style.
This building is one of the examples of combined houses along the Canal Grande. The current building is the result of a total reconstruction during the 15th century (incorporating the pre-existing 11th-century Byzantine building) and of modifications carried out in the 17th century. The façade, closed by spiral columns and quoins, is wider than it is tall, following a symmetrical arrangement on the vertical median axis, which seems to carry the two central five lancet windows, united only subsequently by a continuous balcony, evidence of the joining of two aristocratic houses.
This palace was built for two families belonging to the Bernardo house. The two water gates and the two main floors (one of which is less important than the other) of the homogeneous façade indicate that the interior is actually divided into two dwellings. The façade is framed with vertical bands of hewn stones alternating with small spiral columns and dominated by the big six-mullioned window on the second floor flanked by single light windows with interesting openwork and intertwined arches.
The palace, overlooking the Canal Grande opposite Ca’ d’Oro, was built by the Morosini family at the beginning of the 15th century. The façade has two upper floors characterised by two six-lancet windows with magnificent cornices. The light window on the first floor has rosettes at the tops of the arches and a projecting balcony resting on corbels, while the second floor window is decorated with openwork quatrefoils between the arches. At the corner ashlar-work in Istria stone of alternating size and twisted columns close the façade.
A recent and radical restoration allowed the original Gothic building to be recovered. It is typical of Venetian residential architecture in the 15th century. The façade, with uncovered brickwork, bends in order to follow the course of the canal and centres on the four-lancet window with extended columns and round arches, flanked by single light windows framed by dentate surround.
Carlo Goldoni, the Venetian playwright was born here in 1707.
The current appearance of the palace is due to the modifications made to the original Gothic style in the middle of the 15th century. The façade is organized in an unusual way, two picturesque avant-corps flank the central pointed arch five-mullioned window.
This palace represents a unique example of late Gothic Venetian architecture at the end of the 15th century. Its small façade is confined between denticulate corner bands with Istria stone quoins alongside small spiral columns and displays balance in terms of its proportions and symmetry. The marble capitals and the balconies decorated with round wheel openwork are interesting for their sober richness and prestigious fret work.
The name of the palace is due to the presumed passion of one of its owners for hunting of pheasants.
This large palace, isolated from other buildings in the area, was built around the end of the 15th century by the powerful Pesaro family. It has three façades: one faces onto Campo San Beneto, which is one of the most complex in the Gothic Venetian period, the other onto Calle Pesaro, and the last onto the Ca’ Michiel canal.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the palace was acquired by the Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo who created his art studio here.
This palace is the result of a reconstruction in Gothic style ordered by Francesco Foscari in 1452. Francesco Foscari was elected as Doge in 1423, his period in office was the longest in the history of Venice.
The façade is characterized by the “inflationary” use of windows with pointed arches which we can also note in the adjacent Palazzo Giustinian. It is marked by the large central square which encloses the two large eight-lancet windows of the upper floors. Continuous balconies act as the base for small marble columns of different colours. The second floor offers an impressive white marble engraved band representing the Foscari coat-of-arms and a majestic helmet symbolizing the doge’s authority of the founder of the palace.
This late Gothic building is characterized by two upper floors with large windows surrounded by denticulate frames. Along the coping there is a balustrade occupying the entire terrace, including and joining together the building which was subsequently added, originally separated from the main building by a narrow street, closed probably in 1483 by a wall with superimposed arches.
The pictures above and below show the Gothic façade on Canal Grande.
This palace was constructed around the middle of the 15th century. In the 19th century it was subjected to radical modernization work and transformed into a luxury hotel.
The façade on the Canal Grande is marked by two five-lancet windows surrounded by dentate frames. The first floor has projecting balconies both for the main five-lancet and the lateral windows. The corners of the façade, as was typical in Gothic Venetian buildings, are marked by Istria stone quoins in different sizes, and by twisted columns. The façade was decorated with frescoes by Giorgione, but unfortunately they have completely disappeared.
This palace was built around the middle of the 15th century in typical Venetian late Gothic style. The façade is made up of the ground floor, with a double water gate for the use of the palace by two families, and of two upper floors. (The balustrade and the addition of the last floor are modifications made in the 19th century.) The rigorous composition is characterized by the rich quatrefoil decorations of the two central six-lancet windows, recalling the windows of the Palazzo Ducale.
There are two Soranzo palaces on the Campo San Polo, known as the “Casa Vecchia” (on the left) and “Casa Nuova” (on the right), the two façades are today unified by a single coat of plaster. The palaces would appear to break the Venetian rule which establishes that the main façade of the building faces onto the canal: in fact the palaces did face onto the Sant’Antonio canal but this was covered over in 1761.
On the two façades elements of a stylistic transition from 14th-century forms to late-Gothic models can be seen. The oldest part of the building dates from the mid-1300s and, indeed, the multi-mullioned first-floor windows are certainly reminiscent of typical 14th-century models, even though the two portals surmounted by Romanesque sculptures would appear to date back to an even earlier time. The second building, which features a stunning window with eight supporting arches, is clearly 15th-century in style and was once decorated with much-admired frescos by Giorgione.
This palace is one of the best conserved examples of a late Gothic two-family palazzo. The palazzo was built in 1473-79 by Nicolò Soranzo, with use of material of the predecessor Byzantine palace.
The layout and the front views are particularly unusual, because the palace is divided into two, each unit with rooms designed for two different families. There are therefore two entrances, both from land and water, two courtyards, two staircases, two wells, and obviously two façades. One façade faces onto the Panada canal, while the other looks out over the San Canciano canal, with two three-lancet windows in the centre.
The picture shows the façade on the San Canciano canal.
This palace was commissioned by Cardinal Raffaele Riario. It was designed before 1489, the façade was probably completed by 1495, the palace was completed c. 1511. It is a colossal building, with a principal façade of about 90 m long. It is regarded as the earliest Renaissance palace in Rome. The architect of the palace is not known, the names of Bramante, Andrea Bregno, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Baccio Pontelli are often connected with the building of the palace.
The Palazzo della Cancellaria is the most important – and certainly the most imposing – palace built in Rome during the late fifteenth century. It was commissioned by Cardinal Raffaello Riario and was designed before 1489, the façade probably completed by 1495, the entire palace completed c. 1511-13. When Cardinal Riario was discovered to have participated in a plot against Pope Leo X in 1516 he was forced to deed the palace to the papacy as part of his fine. The building was then used as offices for the papal chancellery, thus giving it its current name. The architect of the palace is unknown, the traditional attribution to Bramante and Andrea Bregno have been largely discredited, though many still attribute it to Bramante.
The palace’s finely dressed stone courses and rhythmic alternation of windows and pilasters recall Alberti’s Ruccelai Palace and the papal palace in Pienza. The slightly projecting bays at the ends help to give a sense of completion to the 92-meter façade. The great size, regular composition, and classicising decoration of this building, as well as its domination over the urban landscape, its creation of a piazza on its entrance façade, and its presence on the papal processional route, all made it a model for later Roman palaces.
Next week, the second and final part of 15th Century Architecture.