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The High Renaissance and Mannerism


The architectural period, called the High Renaissance, is considered as the apogee of art Italian Renaissance and it lasted around fourteen years, from 1490 with the Last Supper of Leonardo Da Vinci until 1527 when Charles V ordered his troops to sack Rome.

The main characteristic of Renaissance Architecture in Italy consisted on symmetry, geometry and proportion. Many outstanding buildings in the country can be listed but the most impressive ones belonged to this period and they are the Tempietto, the Palazzo Fernese and the Palazzo Pandolfini.

During this period, we cannot fail to mention three architects who imposed their personal style and defied attachment to the early Renaissance: Bramante, Sangallo and Raphael. They revived the style and the ability to apply their own architectural concepts in churches and the structures of the city. Turning the style into a more decorative and ornamental one with domes and structures even more dominant.

The Tempietto or “the small temple” was designed by Donato Bramante around 1502 in the courtyard of St. Pietro in Montorio. Perfectly proportioned by slender Tuscan columns, a Doric entablature and a dome are the highlights of this imposing masterpiece that means an attempt to conciliate Christian and humanist ideals.

The Palazzo Fernese was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Michelangello around 1515. A building of stuccoes brick with beautiful proportions that has a powerful effect by their stately repetition of finely detailed windows and the massive rusticated portal. It is considered the greatest palace of this period.
Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, an Italian painter and architect, together with Michelangello and Leonardo da Vinici formed the traditional trinity of greatest masters of this period. Raphael designed numerous buildings, but most of them were finished by others. The most influential work was the Palazzo Pandolfini in Florence with two stories of strongly articulated windows.

The term applied to the artistic style which is mainly Italian is “Mannerism” which appears before the Baroque art in the early 17th in some regions. It marked diverse tendencies and in opposition to the High Renaissance predecessors, the mannerist architects exploited other qualities of ancient Roman architecture like the extreme sophistication, complexity and novelty. The main representative architects of this tendency were Michelangelo, Peruzzi, Romano and Andrea Palladio and Giacomo della Porta with their fabulous creations.

The building Villa Farnesina, unusual for its frescoes walls, and the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, with its peculiar façade curves gentle around a curving street in Rome, are the most famous works of Baldassare Peruzzi. On the other hand, Michelangelo Buonarotti built, with outstanding designs, the St. Peter’s Basilica, which has the largest interior when it comes to Christian churches. Michelangelo reverted to Bramante’s Greek-cross plan and redesigned the piers, the walls and the dome, giving the lower weight-bearing members massive proportions and eliminating the encircling aisles from the chancel and identical transept arms.

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