Architecture Around the World
Musei Civici Vicenza / Civic Art Gallery of Palazzo Chiericati
Civic Art Gallery of Palazzo Chiericati - Official Home Page (online August 2016)
||A palatial building, especially in Italy
||1550-1557; finished at end of the 17th century
|Vicenza Civic Art Gallery conversion:
||UNESCO World Heritage Site: "City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto"
TEXT Beneath Illustrations
Urban palazzo/suburban villa
Center portico flanked by loggias above and public arcade below ...
"To endow the building with magnificence, but also to protect it from the frequent floods (and from the cattle sold in front of the palace on market days), Palladio raised the palace on a podium, whose central section displays a stairway clearly adapted from an antique temple." - Skyscrapercity.com (online August 2016)
"The city of Vicenza was almost completely rebuilt with edifices after Palladio's designs. The Palazzo Chiericati (now the Museo Civico) is a two-story structure facing on the square with a continuous Doric colonnade on the ground floor after the idea of an ancient Roman forum; the walled and fenestrated central section of the upper floor is flanked by Ionic colonnades." - Encyclopedia. com (online September 2016)
"Up to 1556 Palladio produced three basic palace types. The first, in 1550, was the Palazzo Chiericati, in which he extended his Palazzo Civena forum idea of a block with its axis parallel to the pavement, which it envelops in a loggia, or roofed open gallery. The tripartite division of the colonnaded elevation, which gives the building a definite central focus, was an innovation." - "Andrea Palladio," by Margaret Ann Richardson. Pub. in Encyclopaedia Britannica (online August 2016)
Left bay ... Detail below:
Left bay detail ... Modillions support the cornice ... Rosettes decorate the spaces between modillions
Center Bay: Portico
Center bay ... Portico projects only at the center of the façade ... Four details below:
Detail #1 ... Two lion head gargoyles(?) ... Two copper pipes replaced lion head gargoyles(?)
Detail #2 ... Two Roman (smooth shaft) Ionic columns ... Two Roman gods(?) decorate the triangular pediment in the door surround ... Double balusters
Detail #3 ... Two Roman gods(?) decorate the triangular pediment
Detail #4 ... Double balusters
Right bay ... Nine details below:
Detail #1 ... Second story Roman Ionic order
Compare the Roman (smooth shaft) Ionic columns used in Palazzo Chiericati to the drawings of Greek Ionic columns in Palladio's "The Four Books of Architecture" (Dover Publications online August 2016)
Detail #2 ... Venus(?) and Mars(?)
Detail #3 ... Finial ... Lion head gargoyle(?) ... Block modillions support the cornice ... Rosettes decorate the spaces between modillions
Detail #4 ... Venus(?) carrying a shield
Detail #5 ... Roman Ionic columns ... Doric order frieze at bottom of photo
Detail #6 ... Roman Ionic columns ... Ceiling coffer
Detail #7 ... Double guilloches and coffered rosettes on ceiling ... Roman Ionic column
Detail #8 ... Frieze: Bucranes and paterae decorate the metopes between the triglyphs ... Guttae beneath the triglyphs
Detail #9 ... First story: Tuscan column with Doric frieze ... Most historians describe this as a Doric column; however, see below:
Andrea Palladio's, "The Four Books of Architecture" ...
The shape of the column used in Palazzo Chiericati is closest to Palladio's Tuscan drawing; however, note the frieze above the Palazzo's column which is clearly Doric
Street name ... Corso: Promenade
Side elevation ... Two-storey loggia at left of buildings ...
"The tiny size of the old existing houses induced Girolamo [Chiericati] to ask the City Council for permission to utilise a strip of roughly four and a half metres of public land in front of his properties in order to realize the portico of his house on the site, but guaranteeing its public use." - Skyscrapercity.com ... Five details below:
Detail #1 ... Ceiling coffers
Detail #2 ... Double balusters
Detail #3 ... Roman Ionic columns
Ancones support overhanging cornice
Typical museum room
Detail #1 ... Coffered ceiling ... Leaf-and-dart ... Center rosette
Barrel ceiling depicts classical scenes and arabesques ... Center detail below:
The Civic Art Gallery is in the Palazzo Chiericati, designed by Andrea Palladio in 1550 in his early maturity for Gerolamo Chiericati.
The grandiose building was completed at the end of the seventeenth century, generally in keeping with the original design.
The Municipality di Vicenza bought it from the noble Chiericati family in 1839 to house the city’s art collection. It was subsequently restored by the architects Berti and Miglioranza and the museum opened on 18 August 1855.
- Civic Art Gallery of Palazzo Chiericati (online August 2016)
Skyscrapercity.com (online August 2016)
In November 1550, Girolamo Chiericati recorded a payment to Palladio in his own “account book” for the designs of his palace[palazzo] in the city, sketched out at the beginning of the year.
In 1546 Girolamo had inherited a few old houses looking onto the so-called “Piazza dell’Isola”[ market place island], an open space on the southern outskirts of the city, which owed its name to the fact that it was bordered on two sides by the Retrone and the Bacchiglione [Rivers], whose courses flowed into each other. As the city’s river port, the “Isola” [island] was the seat of the timber and cattle markets.
The tiny size of the old existing houses induced Girolamo to ask the City Council for permission to utilise a strip of roughly four and a half metres of public land in front of his properties in order to realize the portico of his house on the site, but guaranteeing its public use. Once the request was accepted building work begun immediately in 1551, only to halt in 1557 on the death of Girolamo, whose son Valerio limited himself to decorating the internal spaces, employing an extraordinary équipe of artists.
For more than a century Palazzo Chiericati remained a majestic fragment interrupted half way along its fourth bay, as documented in the "Pianta Angelica" and voyagers’ sketchbooks. Only at the end of the Seicento [17th century] would it be completed according to the design in the "Quattro Libri" [Palladio's "The Four Books Architecture].
Several autograph drawings by Palladio survive to record the evolution of the project, from the first solution where the portico projects only at the centre of the façade (as well as being capped by a pediment, like that later executed on the Villa Cornaro) to the actual one.
To endow the building with magnificence, but also to protect it from the frequent floods (and from the cattle sold in front of the palace on market days), Palladio raised the palace on a podium, whose central section displays a stairway clearly adapted from an antique temple.
The extraordinary novelty which the Palazzo Chiericati offers in the panorama of renaissance urban residences owes a great deal to Palladio’s capacity to interpret the site on which it rises: a great open space on the margins of the city, in front of the river, a context which rendered it an ambiguous building, simultaneously palazzo and villa suburbana. On the Piazza dell’Isola, Palladio set a façade with a two-storey loggia capable of visually holding the open space, and which also established one side of a hypothetical, ancient, Roman Forum.
Even though superimposed loggias are present, the use to which Palladio puts them on the façade of the Palazzo Chiericati is absolutely unheralded in terms of its power and expressive awareness. The Basilica and Palazzo Chiericati represent Palladio’s definitive passage from the eclecticism of his early years to the full maturity of a language where the stimuli and sources of both the Antique and contemporary architecture are absorbed into a system by now specifically Palladian. This is the first occasion on which the loggia flank is closed by a wall section containing an arch: a solution adopted from the Portico di Ottavia in Rome which will thereafter become usual practice in the pronaos [a vestibule at the front of a classical temple, enclosed by a portico and projecting sidewalls] of his villas.