INTRODUCTION dome is to be understood as an

 INTRODUCTIONThereare many architects who agree that Villa Rotunda the ideals that Palladio setforth in Quattro Libri (1570). His villa have been copied but often cheerlesslyor no idea of context or culture. The fact that drawings by Palladio in actualdoes not match with those published in Quattro Libri. Moreover, recently,Semenzato has obtained more between condition and accurate plans by using polygonal(1990). There have been various drawings, architectural scale models beenproduced in order to explain harmony and proportion of building.

 The useof proportions in the natural world such as those from measurements of thehuman body or musical interval in the expression of harmony in the universebecame very common in the field of art and architecture during the Renaissanceperiod (Wittkower 24). No other architect in western art history has had so spontaneous,and at the same time, through the centuries, so enduring and undiminished aneffect as Andrea Palladio. The inalienable laws of nature derived by man fromits economice principles and aesthetic principles is exhibited applied analogouslyto architecture. Accordingly, people not only belived that there was oneobjectively correct design, which reflected form of divine interventions.  He established rules of proportions on roomdimensions based on mathematical calculations required for creation of buildingand had to be experience by viewers and visitors.

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             Noother villa of Palladio’s won admiration from contemporaries and followinggenerations to an equal degree as Villa Rotunda. Situated south east of Vicenzain the hill region of the Monte Berico, it seems to grow directly out of thelandscape: the facades, which are the same on all four sides and have porticos,taking up the rising level on the ground in the light of steps; the centraldome is to be understood as an elevation over the hilltop. The attic was notbuilt until 1725-1740, although it was obviously planned by Palladio, and wasan essential component of his intentions. Palladiohimself pointed out the close connection of landscape and building his Quattro Libri del’ Architettura.

On onehand the close blending, indeed fusion of landscape and architecture ischaracteristic and on the other hand this building, which was built accordingto strict proportions and embodies the idea of centralized building in acomplete manner, stands as pure creation of art in contrast to evolved nature.Concrete things, or nature and abstract things, i.e. precisely thought outarchitectural forms, contrast with each other. On first levels, the villarotunda creates a work of mannerism   Proportions Thebuilding is characterized by perfectly symmetrical proportions. In tradition ofclassical antiquity, its beauty is derived from harmony of the number andproportion, or to quote Vitruvius; proper agreement between the members of thework itself, and relation between parts. Gabled portico with five columns arefound on all four sides of the central core. Hence, there is no differencebetween the primary and secondary facades.

The porticos take up half of theoverall width. The portico and stairs each correspond to half of its diameterof the core building. This is, in turn, identical to overall height, so thatcore of the building looks like cube from outside. Theconcept of central plan, which was realized here to such perfection, seems likea “purely” artificial structure in comparison to the natural world around it.

In his Quattro libri Palladio explains: “The site is as pleasant and delightfulas can be found; because it is upon a small hill, of very easy access…it isencompasses by the most pleasant risings, which look like a very great theatre…and therefore, as it enjoys he most beautiful views from sides… there areloggias on all the four fonts.” Guided by Palladio in this manner, we are ableto approach this building in an entirely different manner; it seems to grow upout of the landscape, the stairway on the facade echo the incline of theterrain, the central dome can be seen as an amplification of the hilltop. Doesthe central plan building crown the site- or, conversely, does the hill grow upthrough the building? Organic growth- nature- and the abstract- preciselycalculated architectural form- penetrate each other. Anyoneentering the villa expecting to find all the lines of sight unified at thecenter of the domed hall- a spot clearly marked by a circle of colored marbleon the floor- will undoubtedly be surprised by the darkness of this windowlessroom. One’s graze is drawn through the narrow access ways connecting theporticoes to the domed hall on all four sides to the sun- drenched landscapeoutside. Centering and centrifugal forces generate tension in the diametricalrelationship to each other. This contrast can be reconfigured as a designelement that became characteristic of Mannerism.  Unfortunately,there is no information on Palladio’s ideas for interior design of the mainroom.

The painting found there today was not done until 1680- 1687 by LodovicoDorigny and his assistants. Its effect is an irrational “destruction” of thewalls and their architectural structure. The villa Rotunda gave rise to a vasttradition in villa architecture.

       Wideflights of steps, each with about twenty steps, lead between horizontalstringboards up to the column arrangement, which on all sides projects far intothe garden. Palladio here uses once again the motif of an arcade on massivepillars which protrudes from the wall at right angles, against which each ofthe corner columns stands out freely. Of the five intercolumniations, thecentral one is accentuated by being slightly wider. Its counterpart on thewalls of the cubical main building is richly profiled and gabled main portal.The modelled and strongly protruding door gables are connected with the framesat the sides of the doors by elegantly sweeping volutes. The accompanyingopenings, windows drawn down nearly to floor level, are cut simply into thesurface of the walls in the axis of the side column arrangements.

Palladiochose the iconic order for his porticos, whose capitals with volutes rolled upat the sides lead from the vertical line of the columns to the horizontal lineof the ledge and base of the triangular gable. The inscription plaques over thecentral column arrangements refer to Count Capra, who bought the villa in 1591and are therefore later additions. Asalways, Palladio connects the individual parts of the building by formalcorrespondences or parallels. The ledge between the portico columns and thetriangular gables is continued around the building, and Palladio again stronglyemphasizes the smoothly sweeping profile in a way which has been familiar sincethe “basilica”. The windows in the wall surfaces next to the front of thecolumns take over the framing of the main portals- on the one hand theconnection of the portico and the wall surfaces, on the other that of the wallswhich are at right angles to each other. The base storey, whose height iscontinued by the walls at the sides of the steps, approximately correspondsboth in height and windowing to the Attic storey, but certainly, in itsfunction as the base for the entire building, appears more massive due tosimply layered profile.

 Theproportions and principles become clear in the ground- plan with positivelymathematical precision. The porticos take up half the width of the cubicalcentral building. The column entrance halls and flight of steps eachcorresponds to half the depth of the core of the building.

A narrow barrel-vaulted passage leads from each side into a central room built on a circularground plan. Rectangular rooms are ordered in a regular sequence around thecentral domed room. Theexternal view, ground plan and cross section of the Villa Rotunda seem toembody the ideal of the centralized building in a purity which the HighRenaissance often dreamt of but rarely realized. The surprise of the visitorentering the doomed room in all the greater.

While the middle of thecentralized lay-out is once again emphasized by a lion’s head, let into thefloor, from which alternatively red and white patterns radiate like spokes ofthe wheel, the impression of a center that gathers all he forces in itselffails to come across: without any direct light the room remains dark, thealmost shaft- like corridor on all four sides inevitably draw one’s eyesoutwards in the direction of the light. In place of centripetal forces, forwhich both the whole and details seem to be planned, there appear on thecontrary centrifugal impulses of movement. Comparable with the tense relationship between nature and art in theexternal view, Palladio interprets a classical principle in a strictly anti-classical sense in the disposition of rooms inside his Villa Rotunda. How farthe superabundant decoration of sculptures and paintings would havecorresponded to Palladio’s intentions in something we do not know.

The themesif the frescoes in the lower area of the great hall in the Villa rotunda areborrowed from ancient mythology. Echoing the representative function of thevilla, no scenes of “vita in villa” are depicted, but individual ancient gods. LudovicoDorigny did architectural sculptures and painting for the building. Between1680 and 1687, he decorated the walls below the balustrade in the style oflavish illusory Baroque. Other than in decoration were widening of room, healtered the walls of painted architecture and sculptures apparently placed infront of the walls to create small sections and a diversity that is contrary toAndrea Palladio’s architectural concept.

      

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