Concept: Italian Architecture
Charles Philippe Dieussart writes in his book “Theatrum Architecturae Civilis” about the architecture of the renaissance and especially the Italian/Roman architecture. I presume he wanted to bring more of their architecture or their knowledge of architecture to the northern side of the alps.
The book starts with the ancient Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius and his views and theories of architecture. Like the Italian architects of the renaissance he was inspired by Vitruv’s ideas and theories.
He continues with an architectural example, the roman theatres and amphitheatres, which shows his admiration not only for the Roman architecture but as well for their culture and way of life.
The dark middle ages are described by him as the downfall of architecture through amateurishness in building and the destruction of antique architecture by war. Here he shows his antipathy towards the romanesque and gothic architecture as well as the society at that time, he sees the renaissance as the movement that brought back the art and culture of the ancients.
Furthermore, he analyses the different classical orders of columns by the famous Italian renaissance architects Palladio, Vignola, Scamozzi, Serlio, Branca and Cataneo.
Dieussart shows his admiration for the Italian renaissance architecture throughout the book. He describes their architecture as a form of art and the expression of a culture more interested in education, invention, creativity and art, than in war. The Italian architecture of the renaissance shaped their cities, so one can see the progress that is going on in the society, from the middle ages dominated by struggle for survival and power, also expressed in the very functional architecture, to a society that strives for knowledge, for new invention and beauty in paintings sculptures and architecture.
That does not mean that all of society believed in or lived these ideals, it is just the image you get when you look at the things that remain like buildings, art and so on. I think it is the same image that Dieussart got when he visited Rome because architecture is always a mirror of the values of the society. But after centuries its mostly only the monumental buildings financed or forced by those with money or/and power, therefore we, centuries after, can only see the so called “high society”.
Keywords: Renaissance, Italy, Vitruvius