Style and decorum in sixteenth century Italian architecture.
This thesis is a study of sixteenth century Italian
theories of appropriateness in architecture, of their influence
on style in practice and of their origins in
antiquity, the Middle Ages and the fifteenth century.
The importance of such theories is suggested by the
assertion of Vasari that Sansovino's Lain contribution to
Venetian architecture was the introduction of the practice
of varying the design of buildings according te their
function and siting. As the stylistic change brought about
by Sansovine in Venice was similar to that effected in Rome
at the beginning of the centur, an understanding of Yasari's
aeaning may help us to appreciate the essential character
of High Renaissance architecture as a whole.
In Part I I study the most important group of Sansovino's
buildings in the light of contemporary texts and
other documents. Using this material I propose a set of
theories which explain Sansovino's choice of elements in
their design. These theories are closely related to those
in the contemporary writings of Serlio. They are also
chiefly concerned with the appropriate use of the different
orders,Part II is a survey of previous writings on architecture
from ancient Greece to the Rome where Serlio and
Bansovino were trained. Attention is paid to theories of
appropriateness in general and of the use of the orders in
particular. These theories are throughout related to contemporary
practice which is discussed in appendices to the
Main conclusions are; 1) The style of Sansovino's
buildings is largely governed by theories of decorum.
2> Mid-fifteenth century theoriet were stimulated chiefly
by the need to justify morally expenditure both on large
private buildings and elaborate classical forms. 3) Lt the
end of the century and the beginning of the sixteenth a new
respect tsr the sense of sight and a corresponding increase
in the authority of the visual arts gave architecture
expressive and. communicative powers which had previously
been attributed only to literature and music.