Titian, Venus of Urbino, 1538
Venice’s great architect of the sixteenth century was Antonio Palladio (born Andrea di Pietro), who was
responsible for some of the most beautiful churches in the city, as well as dozens of villas and palaces on
the mainland around Venice. His work was inspired by classical architecture, although his churches, like
San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, layer those forms to create richly textured surfaces. Palladio solved the
difficult problem of applying classical forms to the façade of a basilican church by creating what appear to
be two different superimposed temple fronts. The first front is wide and low to cover the lower aisles; it is
defined by flat pilasters and small niches. The second is composed of engaged columns, with the pediment
corresponding to the high roofline of the nave. To keep the proportions correct, Palladio set this central
temple front on a high base.
Palladio, San Giorgio Maggiore, begun 1566 Palladio, Villa Rotonda begun 1567
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