Between 1400 to 1600 AD, a return to classical ideas ushered an "age of "awakening" in Italy and northern Europe. This period is known as the Renaissance, which means born anew in French.
Before the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by asymmetrical and ornate Gothic architecture. During the Renaissance, however, architects were inspired by the highly symmetrical and carefully proportioned buildings of Classical Greece and Rome.
Features of Renaissance Buildings:
- Symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors
- Extensive use of Classical columns and pilasters
- Triangular pediments
- Square lintels
- Niches with sculptures
Phases of the Renaissance:Artists in Northern Italy were exploring new ideas for centuries before the period we call the Renaissance. However, the 1400s and 1500s brought an explosion of talent and innovation. During the early 1400s, the painter and architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed the great Duomo (cathedral) dome. Brunelleschi also rediscovered the principles of linear perspective.
- Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture by Cammy Brothers, Yale University Press, 2008
A Classical approach to architecture spread through Europe, thanks to books by two important Renaissance architects:
- The Five Orders of Architecture by Giacomo da Vignola
- The Four Books of Architecture by Andrea Palladio
Long after the Renaissance period ended, however, architects were inspired by Renaissance ideas. At the turn of the twentieth century, American architects like Richard Morris Hunt designed grand Renaissance Revival style homes that resembled palaces and villas from Renaissance Italy.
- San Giorigo Maggiore in Venice, Italy
- The Basilica in Vicenza, Italy
- The Rotunda (Villa Capra) near Vicenza, Italy
- The Redentore in Venice, Italy
- St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
- The Louvre in Paris, France