Andrea Palladio - Table of Contents  .............................Architecture Around the World

 Palladian Basilica
Original building name: Palazzo della Ragione
Piazza dei Signori

Vicenza, Italy

Addition architect:
Andrea Palladio  1508-1580
Palladio's addition: Begun 1549; completed posthumously in 1614
Style
Renaissance
Status:
UNESCO World Heritage Site: "City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto"

For many years the city of Vicenza had been considering how to refurbish its Gothic law court, the Palazzo della Ragione. In 1546 Palladio's project to surround the old building with loggias was approved, and he was commissioned to erect one bay in wood as a model.

In 1547 and 1549 Palladio made further trips to Rome.

In 1549 he began to construct two superimposed, arcaded  loggias around the Palazzo della Ragione (completed 1617), known ever since as the Basilica Palladiana.

Each bay of the loggias is composed of an arch flanked by lintels supported by columns. The motif of the arch flanked by lintels, although it was first used by Bramante and was popularized in Serlio's book, has been called in English the Palladian motif since Palladio used it on the Basilica.

The Palladian Basilica is a public building facing onto the Piazza dei Signori. Its name is linked to Andrea Palladio, who redesigned it, adding the famous loggias with serliana openings in white marble to the existing Gothic building. The building on which Palladio worked was the Palazzo della Ragione, built in Gothic style in the mid-fifteenth century. The upper floor is entirely taken up by an enormous hall with no intermediate supports, where the Council of the Four Hundred met. The copper-lined, inverted ship’s-hull roof was inspired by that of the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua.

The Gothic facade was originally clad with diamonds of red and straw yellow Verona marble, which are still visible behind Palladio’s addition.

A loggia surrounding the building was commissioned after its completion, but continually delayed due to various structural difficulties and the nature of the ground beneath. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the double order of porticoes and loggias, though not complete, collapsed. The Council called on many leading architects of the time to resolve the difficult problem of its reconstruction. They included Jacopo Sansovino, Sebastiano Serlio and Giulio Romano.

The project was awarded to Andrea Palladio (1508-80) in 1549, following a competition, and he worked on it for the rest of his life. It was completed posthumously in 1614. The reconstructed building was called a basilica by Palladio himself, who had been inspired by the model of the Roman basilica for civic use.

The building has three independent exhibition spaces that are used to host architecture and art exhibitions of international renown.


The original term for a Palladian window is a serliana (or a Serlian Motif).  It is an archway or window with three openings, the central one arched and wider than the flanking openings (which were rectangular and enclosed at the top by an architrave).

The Italian Renaissance architect/master builder, Andrea Palladio, 1508-1580 popularized this architectural motif.  It is so called the Serlian Motif because it was first illustrated in Serlio’s Architecttura (1537), though it probably derived from earlier sources like a triumphal arch (the Roman emperor Caesar loved those to march his armies through to celebrate his victories!). 

It was much used by Palladio, and became one of the hallmarks of Palladianism in 17th & 18th centuries England.  It is more commonly known as a Venetian or Palladian window.
- Lindsay Daniel, Palladian Windows  (online Sept. 2016)

Piazza dei Signori  ...  Palladian Basilica is at the right



Clocktower (Torre Bissara/Bissara Tower) is the next door neighbor of the Palladian Basilica



Piazza dei Signori  ...  Palladian Basilica is at the left




Palladian Basilica is at the left  ...  Note the statue of Palladio




Palladio's contribution to the 15th century Palazzo della Ragione building was to design two superimposed, arcaded  loggias.  The building came to be known as the Palladian Basilica  ...  The balustraded parapet has statues by Giovanni Battista Albanese, Grazioli and Lorenzo Rubini.



"The upper floor is entirely taken up by an enormous hall with no intermediate supports, where the Council of the Four Hundred met. The copper-lined, inverted ship’s-hull roof was inspired by that of the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua." - Musei Civici Vicenza: Palladian Basilica
...  Three details of the statue and keystone below:



Detail #1  ...  Two rows of modillions  ...  Marble double vase balusters  ...  The balustrade is undoubtedly a Renaissance, especially 14th century Florence, invention. (The Romans used lattice motifs.)



Detail #2  ...  Marble double vase balusters  ...  Block modillions support the cornice below the balustrade  ...  Keystone features a classical Roman face, detailed in photo below:



Detail #3






The marble  loggia was added by Palladio  ...  Note the original Gothic entrance from the original 15th century Palazzo della Ragione  ... 

"Each bay of the loggias is composed of an arch flanked by lintels supported by columns. The motif of the arch flanked by lintels, although it was first used by Bramante and was popularized in Serlio's book, has been called in English the Palladian motif since Palladio used it on the Basilica." - Encyclopedia.com: Andrea Palladio  (online Sept. 2016) ...
Capitals on Roman Ionic columns are detailed in photo below:




Roman Ionic column  capitals



Marble double vase balustrade  ...  Doric order entablature substitutes Tuscan pilasters for the Doric pilasters  .. Frieze: Triglyphs and guttae below alternate with with bucranes (ox skulls) and dishes  ... Carved classical face on keystone  ...  Three details below:



Detail #1 ...  Frieze: Triglyphs and guttae below alternate with with bucranes (ox skulls) and dishes



Detail #2  ...   Marble architrave and Tuscan capitals




Detail #3  ...   Carved classical face on keystone






Photos and their arrangement 2016 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.