Michelangelo’s Women-Men’s Breasts

So in the first part of this post, I’ve argued that Michelangelo’s women had access to female models, and that his use of male models for female figures wasn’t unusual. The other thing that is often mentioned in class is that Michelangelo was gay and thus somehow had an inbuilt distaste, or even inability, to portray women’s bodies accurately. Now, without getting too closely into the fluidity of sexual identities in the Renaissance/early modern period (if you’re interested, a great starting point is the essays in Judith Brown and Robert Davis, Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy), I don’t think it’s possible in this period that a person’s sexuality can be taken as a straightforward explanation for his or her artistic choices. Moreover, it certainly doesn’t explain why this type of image should be popular with a broader audience.

There are two easier explanations:
1)  androgynous bodies were thought to be beautiful in the Renaissance,
2) artistic nudes weren’t meant to be realistic.

The boundaries between male and female were conceived differently in renaissance culture than they are today.  Thomas Laqueur has argued in relation to renaissance anatomical practice that at this time there was “only one canonical body and that body was male”. Although people have objected to what Laqueur has called the “one-sex model”, it seems to have been a highly influential way of understanding sexual difference in the renaissance. The idea was that the normative human body was male, and that women’s bodies were simply imperfect versions of men’s. For this reason, in  early anatomical books, the bodies used to demonstrate human physiology are always male unless the female reproductive system is specifically being studied

Women, after all, were related to Eve who was created from Adam’s rib. Leone Ebreo in his Dialogues of Love (written from the 1490s but first published in 1535) explains that when God created Adam, he was a complete human, containing both male and female parts; Eve was created from his rib whilst he was sleeping, as women represent the imperfect, passive and corporeal aspect of men – who are representative of the intellectual and spiritual tendencies of humans.

Leonardo da Vinci, John the Baptist, 1513-16, Paris, Louvre

No wonder then, that for some in the renaissance, the most beautiful women were those who looked the most like that perfect original form. Like is attracted to like, Marsilio Ficino explained: “Women truly easily capture men, and even more those women who bear a masculine character. And even more easily, men catch men, as they are more like men than are women”. Ficino’s follower, Mario Equicola, claimed in 1525 that “the effeminate male and the manly female are graceful in almost every aspect”. This was shown to comic effect in Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography, where he tells a story of a dinner party where he brought his young and beautiful model, Diego, dressed up as a woman, and Diego was declared the most beautiful of all the ladies. There are plenty of images of feminine-looking young men in the Renaissance that show the interest in male androgyny too – many of Leonardo da Vinci’s male figures look feminine (hence the non-controversy about John the Evangelist “really” being Mary Magdalen that Dan Brown talked about in the Da Vinci code).

There are good reasons, therefore, beyond convenience, why renaissance artists might study a male r model as the basis for their female figures. What we need to do when looking at this type of renaissance nude is to disassociate ourselves from expectations of naturalism and to recalibrate our understanding of what is beautiful.

Habits of a Renaissance Man: Learning How to Learn from Leonardo da Vinci

Adopt these habits to enhance your learning process.

A few days ago, I finished reading Leonardo da Vinci’s biography by Walter Isaacson. This book is easily the best 30 bucks I’ve spent in lockdown. Such an amazing read! My mind was absolutely blown.

I’m sure you know who Leonardo da Vinci is (or at least have heard his name before), but I’ll refresh your memory anyway: With expertise spanning virtually all fields known to man — arts, science, engineering, humanities — Leonardo is an Italian polymath who has been dubbed the “Renaissance Man.”

He is, arguably, history’s most creative genius.

How is it possible to become an expert in so many fields? And no, not in a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of way, but to actually become a master of all those trades. The answer is intricate, of course, but if I were to boil it down into one thing, I’d say it’s this: Leonardo is a master of learning.

That is essentially the skill that makes polymaths like Leonardo shine so brilliantly: They have mastered the art of learning. I know, it’s a bit meta — but that’s exactly why it’s amazing. After all, once you’ve learned how to learn, you can replicate that process to whatever subject you want and ultimately become a master at it.

Here, I’ll outline seven habits that I’ve identified in Leonardo. While I encourage you to read the full book to get the whole picture, you can use these seven takeaways as a starting point.

1. Relentless curiosity

“Describe the tongue of the woodpecker,” Leonardo wrote in his notebook.

Did you know that the tongue of the woodpecker can extend more than thrice the length of its bill? And when it’s not used, it retracts into the skull and wraps itself around the brain, thus becoming a cushion for when the bird does what it’s known for: Smashing its beak repeatedly against tree bark.

That’s amazing, isn’t it? Another one of Mother Nature’s magic.

But you don’t really care, do you? Me neither. Why should I know about a woodpecker’s tongue? It won’t affect my day in any way. In fact, I can go about my entire life without needing to know about it in the slightest.

But that’s the trait that defines geniuses like Leonardo: They’re ridiculously, painfully curious. They just ought to know everything. Every little object or occurrence piques their interest and leads them down an inquisitory rabbit hole. When they have a question, they have to answer it no matter what.

But weren’t we all like that when we were children? Everything we see fascinates us. We bother adults around us with questions they deem unnecessary and at times comical. Sadly, we lose that behavior as we grow up, once we’ve learned that the world isn’t as forgiving as we thought it to be.

But there are some like Leonardo, who maintained that childlike sense of wonder well into their last breath. And that relentless curiosity has made all the difference — it shaped them into peerless learners, able to process all sorts of raw data into extraordinary insights.

As Albert Einstein, another one of history’s greatest geniuses, once said:

“I have no special talents, I am just passionately curious.”

2. Sharp observation

Sherlock Holmes, another renowned (albeit fictional) polymath known for his deduction skills, once said to his friend John Watson:

“You see, but you do not observe.”

Geniuses don’t just see, they observe. Leonardo certainly embodies this habit of keen observation. He proves to be an incredibly acute observer, as shown through the woodpecker example before, and more:

  • He noticed how people’s facial expressions relate to their emotions
  • He watched how light bounces off different types of surfaces
  • He identified birds who flap their wings faster in their upswing, and others who are faster in their downswing

Furthermore, we know that Leonardo is a man who acts on his curiosity.

When something catches his eye, he doesn’t just think “Oh that’s cool,” and carry on. He actually tries to understand why and how it works—and ultimately, he emulates the findings into his creations, like his exceptionally realistic paintings and sophisticated mechanical devices.

Leonardo notices patterns where others didn’t even glance twice. In other words, geniuses like him see things unseen.

As said by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer:

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”

3. Emphasis on experience

While Leonardo is famous for his extraordinary intellect, not many people know that he had barely any formal education. He went to an abacus school when he was young, and that was it.

A substantial part (if not all) of the brilliance we know him for is not the product of institutionalized learning — they’re the result of Leonardo’s own efforts. More specifically, his observations and experiments.

When it comes to learning, Leonardo puts a heavy emphasis on experience. He doubts people who like to cite experts but spend no independent effort on becoming experts themselves. He said:

“They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of, but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words. And [experience] has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases. Though I may not, like them, be able to quote other authors, I shall rely on that which is much greater and more worthy: on experience, the mistress of their masters.”

To become a master at any trade, one has to actually experience that trade. Everyone can read books about engineering, for instance, but not everyone can become an engineer. They have to actually practice the craft.

Change “engineer” with any other profession and the lesson will still apply.

School can be a solid source of enlightenment, but no one can become a master unless they move beyond the classroom and into the real world.

4. Seeking knowledge for knowledge’s sake

When you eat ice cream, do you eat it because of its nutritional value? I would say no, otherwise, you would’ve gone for a salad instead. One reason for that could be because we associate ice cream’s taste with “happiness” and salad’s nutrition with “usefulness.”

Many of us have a similar association with playing and learning. Playing equals happy, and learning equals useful. We only learn when we think it’ll help in our career, or when we need a good grade to pass a class in university. Or, worse yet, only to look smart in front of others and garner their praise.

But why does it have to be like that? What if you indulge your curiosity like you indulge your appetite? What if you learn whatever you want to, not just what’s useful or what’s demanded of you?

As we see in Leonardo’s observation on the woodpecker’s tongue, a piece of practically useless knowledge can also be a source of joy. Sometimes, seeking knowledge for its own sake is enough. Maybe you’ll find a use for it later, but even if you don’t, at least you’ve enjoyed the process. That’s already a win.

When you associate knowledge itself with happiness, not just usefulness, it becomes almost impossible to stop learning — you’ll crave it like ice cream.

5. Purposeful procrastination

This one might sound weird at first. After all, do I need to tell you to procrastinate? If you’re like me, you already procrastinate so much it’s become a problem. If anything, you want to get rid of this habit, not adopt it. But Leonardo can give us a different perspective.

He once said:

“Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least, for their minds are occupied with their ideas and the perfection of their conceptions, to which they afterward give form.”

Sometimes, when Leonardo is struck by inspiration, he doesn’t immediately act on it. Instead, he dwells on that inspiration and lets it shapeshift and evolve. Once he knows for sure what form he can give it, only then he started creating.

When painting The Last Supper, for example, sometimes he stares at the canvas for an entire hour, makes a single stroke, and that’s it. He leaves and continues another day. But now we see how magnificent that painting is.

If you do it purposefully, procrastination can be a powerful tool.

Think of it like this: A steak that’s marinated for 30 minutes, and another that’s marinated for an entire day — which one do you think tastes better? Honestly, it depends, but you’ll have a better chance with the second one, simply because the seasoning has more time to seep into the meat.

Creativity is kind of like that. When an idea comes to you, sometimes you shouldn’t act on it right away. Let it marinate in your mind. Play around with it, imagine what strange things can you do with it. If you do it right, the resulting idea will be far more interesting than its initial form.

6. Timely perfectionism

Still related to the previous point, this one is also a bit controversial. Isn’t perfectionism bad for learning?

“Real artists ship,” Steve Jobs famously said. What matters more than creating one immaculate art is creating a hundred good-enough ones, because the process will teach you many important lessons. But he underwent a long process before he arrived at that conclusion.

Jobs used to be a perfectionist, not wanting to release a device unless its motherboard looks beautiful — a motherboard, mind you, not a screen or a logo. Who sees a motherboard? Almost no one. You have to crack the device open to see it, after all. But Jobs wanted every aspect to be perfect, even the ones not visible from the outside.

Leonardo is the same. To him, an artwork is not finished until it’s perfect. That’s why he often leaves his work unfinished. “Finished but imperfect” is not in his vocabulary, so he’d rather they stay unfinished forever. Examples of this are The Battle of Anghiari and Adoration of the Magiwhich are both paintings that Leonardo left unfinished until his passing.

Often, perfectionism runs contrary to improvement. Your obsession with perfection can hinder you from making mistakes and reflecting on the lessons. The main goal in learning is to do your best even if it’s imperfect, improve in the process, then move on to the next work and do better with it.

Yes, that’s true. But learning is not a static process.

There will be times when your goal is to create the best work — not “the best you can possibly make,” but “the best, period.” And during those moments, there is no greater virtue than perfectionism.

7. Connecting everything to everything else

This is my favorite quote from Leonardo:

Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.

Perhaps, the biggest fallacy of modern education is that we’ve put knowledge into separate boxes when it’s supposed to be a unified entity.

Science, art, history, philosophy — they’re all supposed to work in tandem. They inform and expand on each other. They fill each other’s gaps. After all, they have the same purpose: To help us make sense of the universe.

By separating knowledge into silos, we’re breaking the universe into fragments, and this way we will never understand it in its entirety.

Geniuses like Leonardo, however, know that a fragmentary approach is incorrect. There is a science to art, just as there’s an art to science. Everything is connected to everything else — and we should learn to see that connection.

Final Thoughts

Presumed self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

To recap, here are the takeaways I’ve learned from Leonardo’s biography:

  1. Be relentlessly curious
  2. Don’t just see, observe
  3. Don’t just study, experience
  4. Seek knowledge for its own sake
  5. Procrastinate (purposefully)
  6. Be perfectionistic when you need to
  7. Connect everything to everything else

I have tried implementing these seven habits in my own life (that’s habit no. 3: Experience!) and I honestly think they’re worth a shot.

Some of them already come naturally anyway, like no. 4 — I learn because I enjoy it, I’ve always been like that. Maybe you already identify with one (or more) of these habits as well? Good, then you won’t be starting from zero.

Lastly, a tiny note: I’m not a historian. While I did my due diligence when writing this piece, I encourage you to do your own. Although even if we dismiss the historical accuracy and remove Leonardo’s name from this article, these seven habits can still be useful to adopt.

Finding Italy’s Oldest Pharmacy

Hiding in the centre of Florence

It took me two days to find the Profumo — Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Admittedly, I was jet-lagged, and the search was confounded by the fact four places on the one street have the same address — little wonder I gave up that first day.

In true existential fashion, however, I found the place next morning by heading off to find somewhere else completely different.

It was worth the effort. The oldest pharmacy in Italy, and possibly the oldest still-operating pharmacy in the world, the place was stunningly beautiful from the moment I pushed open the hard-to-find door to be bathed in perfumed air. (The third oldest pharmacy in Europe is the Franciscan Pharmacy in Dubrovnik; I’ve no idea where the second oldest pharmacy is. If anyone knows I would love to be enlightened.)

Typical for a medieval pharmacy, the Profumo — Farmaceutica di Santa Maria began life in a monastery, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Marble floors stretch through a series of rooms, with high vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and fading frescos covering the walls and ceilings. One room displays old apothecary equipment; another has a section dedicated to treatments for our four-legged friends.

The Dominican monks of Santa Maria Novella began the pharmacy in 1212. On arriving in Florence, they converted the church (known then as the Santa Maria Delle Vigne) into a monastery, and some fifty years later commissioned the Basilica. They became famous for the lotions and salves made from the herbs, spices, and flowers growing in their medicinal garden and used in their infirmary, but it was not until nearly 400 years later that a shop for the public was opened, in 1612.

In between these times came the Black Death, when an estimated 70% of the population of Florence died. The monks made a rosewater distillate for ridding homes of the dreaded disease — the Acqua di Rose is still for sale as a perfume and a skin toner. They also distributed the Aceto dei Sette Ladri — the Vinegar of the Seven Thieves (sold as smelling salts). The name is derived from a group of seven men who doused themselves in vinegar before robbing corpses, believing the strong vinegar would protect them from the miasma thought to spread the plague.

More fame arose when the monks created a special perfume for Catherine de Medici to commemorate her marriage to Henry II. The result was Acqua Della Regina (Water of the Queen) — for the first time alcohol, and not vinegar or olive oil, was used as the base for the perfume.

What I loved most were the rows of jars and bottles, many filled with lotions of different colours. There is one called Alkermes which is bright scarlet in colour — courtesy of dried and crushed ladybugs. Once given to new mothers to help recover from labour pains (possibly aided by the alcohol content) it is now used as natural food colourant, especially for deserts such as Zuppa Inglese.

Another potion is a delicate golden colour — the Elisir di China — used to treat malaria, once the scourge of Italy. (The liqueur contains quinine.) Now it doubles as a post-dinner digestif.

Today, the Profumo — Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella retains an international fame and customer base which began with Catherine de Medici in the seventeenth century. It is no longer under the control of the monks, for in 1886 the Italian State confiscated church property. It passed to the nephew of the last Dominican who ran the farmaceutica, and remains within the family to this day.

Just keep an eye out for the door. The Profumo — Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is at Via Della Scala, 16, near the Basilica. Three other doors along the street bear the same number, but there is a small sign (which proved of no help!) My advice — just keep walking. You’ll find it eventually, along with many other places along the way.

Recent Restoration

What no one explains to the Artist

In very plain words:

The artist connects (mostly unknowingly) to other realms, other eras, other timeframes. The artist peers into the future, the artist repurposes the past; the artist walks with the greats, past, present and future, and learns from.

And for all her pains, for all that the artist brings back from these exotic escapades, very rarely does the artist get recognition. Very rarely does she get success. Very rarely does she get fame.

But this is not what no one tells the artist. She will come to find that out on her own. If she’s lucky. And even if she doesn’t, the real pain in her life will come from an entirely different source.

What no one really tells the artist is who she really is.

What no one really tells the artist is where all her creations really come from.

What no one really tells the artist is what her art is meant for.

And so the artist assumes. And pays a steep price for it. What began as elation and motivation soon becomes a burden when it is not understood.

What once a source of living soon turns into a prison of isolation and misunderstanding.

What once could be relied on as a source of inspiration soon becomes a horror channel of surreal information and nightmarish suggestions.

All because no one ever told the artist.

But if no one tells the artist, can the artist at least ask?

Sure. Of course. That is one of the things I can encourage. And I am not one to encourage anything.

One of the reasons I don’t this is because with the encouragement I have above, I expect a follow up question like the one below:

Who does the artist ask?

I submit that this is not a very useful question; there are few people you will meet in your life capable of answering such questions.

A better question would be, ‘what does the artist ask?’

Very good. Now we are getting somewhere if you are asking this question. You have some direction you can explore.

And, if you asked the question, you likely consider yourself an artist.

An artist is a person who creates. The field of creation doesn’t matter. What she creates doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if the world is aware of the creation or not.

This is not meant to be an answer. It is not a definition. It is a direction to explore if you wish.

Here is one more.

An artist creates but she is not the creator.

Rebuilding an Identity: How Renaissance Architecture Reflected Italy

Rebuilding an Identity: How Renaissance Architecture Reflected Italy

Introduction

The architecture of Italy has always reflected the evolving culture of its people, a fact most easily seen in the major changes that took place during the Italian Renaissance. Leaving the design and cultural philosophies of the Medieval era in the past, Renaissance architects moved towards designs based on rationality, order, and a return to the Classical styles of the Greeks and Romans. This change in building styles reflected the changing priorities of Italian culture; where the Medieval period was focused on Buon Comune, or Common Good, of society, Renaissance sensibilities prioritized individualism and humanism. Civic duty was still a valued part of Italian life, as it was in the Medieval period, but Renaissance philosophy promoted the idea that every citizen was entitled to civic participation on some level, and that governments ought to be open and inviting to the people, rather than separate and imposing. 

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence, Italy



As such, architects in the Renaissance designed buildings to reflect these changing attitudes. Architecture in Renaissance Italy was a thriving crossroads of religion, philosophy, science, and politics. Whether designing buildings and whole cities from scratch, as in the case of the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence and the city of Pienza, or recontextualizing Medieval architecture within the Renaissance’s sensibilities, as in the case of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, architects played a major role in adapting and advancing the cultural changes that Italians were experiencing.

Palazzo Vecchio

The dominating feature of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, is undoubtedly the Palazzo Vecchio (1298-1314). With its towering offset clock tower and crenelated walls, a keen viewer can easily guess as to its history as a fortress. It is decidedly not of the Renaissance; rather, it is a product of a more authoritarian, Medieval Florence. Palazzo Vecchio was designed to be imposing, to separate the city’s ruler from the common people. Its design is in many ways the antithesis of Renaissance philosophy. Yet, the Palazzo Vecchio continued as Florence’s seat of power throughout the Renaissance, and acts as the City Hall today. Rather than abandon it, architects and city planners recontextualized the Palazzo Vecchio, building around it the Piazza della Signoria, a decidedly Renaissance space.

From left to right: Loggia dei Lanzi, Piazza della Signoria, and Palazzo Vecchio

Designed by Benci di Cione and Simone Talenti between 1376 and 1382, the Loggia dei Lanzi was built directly adjacent to Palazzo Vecchio, and perfectly represents the Renaissance ideals in architecture. Made up of three open-air arched portions, the Loggia is symmetrical and orderly per the rational design philosophy. Unlike the Palazzo, it is open and inviting to all citizens, with plenty of space and wide steps allowing for many visitors at once. It contains multiple sculptures representing some of the best of the Renaissance period, particularly Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women. All of the art in the Loggia is freely available to the entire citizenry of Florence, reflecting the openness and inclusiveness characterized by the period. With the inclusion of the Loggia dei Lanzi and other Renaissance style renovations to Piazza della Signoria, architects and city planners of the time were able to successfully fold Palazzo Vecchio into the Renaissance identity of Florence.

Ospedale degli Innocenti

Another seminal work of Renaissance architecture in Florence was directly inspired by the Loggia dei Lanzi: the Ospedale degli Innocenti, as designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Supposedly, Brunelleschi was deeply inspired by the uniformity and rationality of the repeating arches of the Loggia, and so designed the Ospedale degli Innocenti with the Loggia’s themes of rationality and openness in mind. In fact, the very first thing Brunelleschi designed and built was a loggia for his new Ospedale (see left), one which directly built upon the design used in the Loggia dei Lanzi. The loggia is quite long, dominating the entire Eastern side of the Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

The loggia of the Ospedale degli Innocenti went on to define the styling of the Piazza as a whole, with Michelozzo building an atrium and central bay for the Santissima Annunziata in 1454 purposefully based on Brunelleschi’s designs. In 1516, architects Antonio de Sangallo the Elder and Baccio d’Agnolo followed suit by designing the building on the opposite side of the piazza from the Ospedale’s loggia also within Brunelleschi’s design style. With all four sides of the square completed, Piazza Santissima Annunziata now stands as a unified example of Renaissance ethos, a perfectly rational square emulating the classical design choices of the Romans. In particular, the broad stairs that are present on either side of the square emulate stadium seating, giving the Piazza the feeling of a Roman amphitheater, an identity reinforced by the arcades with Classical pilasters.

Brunelleschi built on the existing design and functional traditions of Florence when designing the Ospedale degli Innocenti, with the most obvious inspiration coming from Florence’s Ospedale di Mateo, built at the end of the 14th Century. Impressively Brunelleschi incorporated and improved upon all of the functionality present in the Ospedale di Mateo, while giving the Ospedale degli Innocenti a unique identity rooted in the Renaissance philosophy. While the loggia serves as a monumental statement piece of the Ospedale, the interior serves all the different functions required by its inhabitants. What’s more, it incorporates the concept of cloisters into its design well past the principle of separation. Brunelleschi’s designs create an interior cloister that is cut off from every other part of Florence so that no exterior building can be seen from inside, no matter the angle one stands at. This artificial feeling of tranquility and isolation in the middle of a major city reflected the dual nature of the Renaissance itself, focused not only on functional rationalism, but on perfect form and idealized aesthetics.

Pienza

The Renaissance harmony found in Piazza Santissima Annunziata was not unique to one Piazza though. In fact, an entire city was able to accomplish this feat, the city of Pienza. Designed by Pope Pius and his architect Bernardo Rossellino, Pienza is the embodiment of Renaissance architecture, with around forty significant buildings being designed and constructed between 1459 and 1464. The city is designed around the central Piazza Pio Il, with all the buildings bearing specific features to link them together. As composer uses leitmotifs to build connective tissue between movements of a symphony, so to did Pope Pius and Rossellino use features like cross windows, doorframes, and pilasters to create a city united in its Renaissance identity. The piazza itself is designed with the humanist and commercial priorities of the Renaissance in mind, with broad streets and many entrances, making it easy for vendors and customers to come and go as they please. From the Piazza Pio Il outward, Pienza was rebuilt as the architectural embodiment of Renaissance principles.

Conclusion

One of the defining characteristics of Italy will always be its arts, and the architecture of the Renaissance is no exception. The buildings and city-planning perfectly reflected the humanist, rationalist priorities of philosophers, artists, and politicians of the time, and by extent the overall culture of Italy. These grand traditions have certainly carried into the modern day, and informed Italian culture in a way that not many other nations have been affected by their own past. Perhaps more so than any other people, to understand where they are and where they will go, it is most important to look at Italy’s past, both architecturally and otherwise.

Resources

Argan, G.C. “The Architecture of Brunelleschi and the Origins of the Perspective Theory in the Fifteenth Century.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 9, 1946, pp. 96–121.

Bohn, B., Saslow, James M, ProQuest, & Ebrary, Inc. (2013). A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art.

Friedman, D., & American Council of Learned Societies. (1988). Florentine New Towns : Urban Design in the Late Middle Ages.

Gromort, Georges. Italian Renaissance Architecture; a Short Historical and Descriptive Account, with a Series of 110 Photographs and Measured Drawings, and 45 Illustrations in the Text, Translated from the French by George F. Waters. A. Vincent, 1922, 1922.

Mack, Charles Randall. “Pienza as an Urban Statement.” Pienza. Cornell University Press, 2019. 156-164.

What is Renaissance Architecture Symmetric Style?

It had an emphasis on symmetry.

Chateau de Chambord (1519-1547)

Symmetry is economy.
Symmetry is simplicity.

“The architecture of our brains was born from the same trial and error, the same energy principles, the same pure mathematics that happen in flowers and jellyfish and Higgs particles.” — Alan Lightman.

The Piazza del Campidoglio.

This style has an emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry, and the regularity of parts, as demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity.

Renaissance architecture is the European architecture of the period between the early 14th and early 16th centuries in different regions.

Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architecture and was succeeded by Baroque architecture.

Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities.

Filippo Brunelleschi.

Italian, also known as Pippo 1377–15 April 1446 is considered to be the founding of Renaissance architecture.

He was an Italian architect, designer, and sculptor, and is the first modern engineer, planner, and sole construction supervisor.

The style was used in Spain, France, Germany, England, Russia, and other parts of Europe at different dates and with varying degrees of impact.

Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry…

It was demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture.

Systematic display of columns, pilasters, and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes…

Plan of Bramante’s Tempietto in Montorio.

Plan of Bramante’s Tempietto in Montorio.

Raphael’s unused plan for St. Peter’s Basilica.

Raphael’s unused plan for St. Peter’s Basilica.

Brunelleschi’s plan of Santo Spirito.

Brunelleschi’s plan of Santo Spirito.

Michelangelo’s plan for Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome (1546), superimposed on the earlier plan by Bramante.

Michelangelo’s plan for Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome (1546), superimposed on the earlier plan by Bramante.

“But why are we attracted to symmetry?

Why do we human beings delight in seeing perfectly round planets through the lens of a telescope and six-sided snowflakes on a cold winter day?

The answer must be partly psychological.

I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.

The search for symmetry, and the emotional pleasure we derive when we find it, must help us make sense of the seasons and the reliability of friendships.

Symmetry is also economy.
Symmetry is simplicity.”
― Alan Lightman

The emphasis on symmetry is very much noted on all construction from that time.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi by Michelozzo. Florence, 1444.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi by Michelozzo. Florence, 1444.

Symmetry is also economy.

Symmetry is simplicity.

Symmetry is repetition.