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commission was at length confided to him, the disgraceful assignment to him of Lorenzo Ghiberti as a colleague, wliose incapacity for such a task our architect soon made manifest. Suffice it to say, that before his death he had the satisfaction to see the cupola finished, with the exception of the exterior of the drum under the cupola ; for whose decoration, as well as for the lantern with which he proposed to crown the edifice, he left designs, which, however, were lost. One of the directions he left on his death particularly insisted upon the necessity of following the model he had prepared for the lantern, and that it was essential that it should be constructed of large blocks of marble so as to prevent the cupola from opening; an advice which experience has since proved in other cases to be far from sound. This cupola is octagonal on the plan, as will be seen by reference to the figures, and is 138 feet 6 inches in diameter, and from the cornice of the drum to the eye of the dome of the height of 133 feet 3 inches. Before it nothing had appeared with which it could be fairly put in comparison. The domes of St. Mark and that at Pisa are far below it in grandeur and simplicity of construction. In size it only yields to St. Peter's at Rome, for which it is probable it served as a model to Michael Angelo; for in both, the inner and outer cupolas are connected in one arch at their springing. It is moreover well known that Buonarroti's admiration of it was so great that he used to say that to imitate it was indeed difficult, to surpass it impossible. Vasari's testimony of it shall close our account of this magnificent structure: — “ Se puo dir certo che gli antichi, non andarono mai tanto alto con lor fabriche, ne si messono a un risico tanto grande, che eglino volessino combattere col cielo, come par veramente ch'ella combatta, veggendosi ella estollere in tant altezza che i monti intorno a Fiorenza paiono simili a lei. E nel vero pare, che il cielo ne abbia invidia poiche di continuo le saette tutto il giorno la percuotono." It might be supposed that such a work was sufficient to occupy the whole of Brunelleschi's time; not so: the Duke Filippo Maria engaged him on the fortifications at Milan, besides which
he was employed on several other military works; a proof of the great diversity of talent le possessed." It is, therefore, from the extensive employ he enjoyed, not only in Florence, but in many other parts of Italy, quite certain that he infused a new taste into its buildings, and that he is justly entitled to the title of the Restorer of Architecture in Europe. He died, and was buried in the church he had raised in 1444. He left a number of scholars, among whom Luca Fancelli and Michelozzo were perhaps the ablest. These pupils spread throughout Italy the effects of the vast change that had been thus begun; a taste for architecture was excited ; its true principles became known; and in a short space of time, as if the matter had been one of arrangement between them, the illustrious house of Medici, the dukes of Milan, and the princes and nobility of the country contended who should most patronise its professors. The learned began to expound to artists the books of Vitruvius, the only writer among the ancients whose works on that subject have come down to us.
324. Leo Battista Alberti, of the ancient and illustrious family of the Alberti of Florence, succeeded Brunelleschi in carrying on the great change of which we have been speaking, and was, indeed, a great contributor to the art, not only by his literary labours on architecture, in which he displays profound erudition, knowledge of construction, and an intimate acquaintance with the works of the ancients, but also by the distribution, elegance, grace, and variety, which his designs exhibit. His book, De Re Edificatoriâ, is the foundation of all that has been since written on the art, and deserves careful perusal by every one who studies for the purpose of practice. We shall here present a short account of it, which, in imitation of Vitruvius, he divided into ten books.
325. The first book treats on the origin and utility of architecture; the choice of the soil and situation for placing buildings; the preparation, measurement, and suitable division according to their nature, of the edifices to be erected; of columns and pilasters; of the different kinds of roofs, doors, and windows, their number and size; of the different sorts of staircases and their landings; of the sewage or drains, and of suitable situations for them respectively. In the second book the subjects are, the choice of materials; the precautions to be taken before beginning a building; the models, of whatever description, that should be made ; the choice of workmen ; the trees fit for use, and the season in which they should be felled; the methods for preventing rot, and susceptibility of fire; of stone in its varieties; the different sorts of bricks, tiles, lime, sand, and mortar. "The third book treats of construction; foundations according to the varieties of soil ; encroachments; the carrying up and bond of masonry; rough and rubble work; on the different sorts of masonry; on the inlaying and facing of walls ; on beams, joists, and the method of strengthening them; on foors, arches, and vaults; the covering of roofs, pavements, and the season for beginning and completing certain works. The fourth book is confined to the philosophy of the art, showing the causes which influence mankind in the adoption of modes of building according to the climate, the soil, and the habits or government of a people. It, however, treats of the proper position of a city; of the size to be given to it; of the form of the walls; of the customs and ceremonies of the ancients as applied to this point; of fortifications, bastions or towers, gates and ramparts; bridges, both of timber and stone; sewers, ports, harbours, and squares requisite in a city. The fifth book contains instructions for the erection of palaces for peaceable, and castles for absolute princes; for the houses required by a republic ; large and small religious edifices ; academies, public schools, hospitals, and palaces for senators. In are given some hints on military and naval architecture, on farm buildings, and country houses. In the sixth book Alberti treats on architectural ornament, columns, and the method of adjusting their proportions. After some observations on the principles of beauty, on taste, and on the mode of improving it, he enters shortly on the history of architecture. These are followed by several chapters on the doctrine of mechanics, machines, the method of raising and working columns, polishing them, imitations in stucco and incrustation in thin layers, and matters of that nature. The seventh book continues the discussion on ornaments in architecture, but chiefly in respect of columns, showing the edifices in which the use of them is suitable; and, in imitation of Vitruvius in his directions relative to temples, our author dilates on buildings for ecclesiastical purposes. He shows what sorts of columns and pilasters are best suited to them, how far the employment of statues is proper, and how they should be sculptured. The eighth book is on roads and their decorations, tombs, pyramids, columns, altars, epitaphs, &c. In it he turns to the subjects of streets, cities, ornaments appropriate to gates, ports, arches, bridges, crossways, markets, public squares, walks, porticoes, theatres, amphitheatres, circi, librarics, colleges, baths, &c.; and the style in which public buildings should be constructed and decorated. The ninth book is a continuation of the preceding
but in this he speaks in addition of the appropriate decoration of royal palaces, and of the ornaments respectively suitable to city and country dwellings, and of the paintings and sculpture that should be employed in them. In the tenth and last book the principal subject is the finding a supply of water for buildings both in town and country, and it closes with some useful hints on the aid of architecture to domestic economy. This truly great man constructed many works in different cities of Italy, some of which still remain to
attest his skill. We are not to examine them with the eye of an architect flourishing eve half a century later, though under that category they do him honour, but with the eye of an artist of his own day, and we shall then find our veneration for his memory cannot be too strongly expressed. In Florence he finished the Ruccellai palace, and built the choir of the Annunziata. At Mantua he built a church of singular beauty, consisting of a simple nave, crowned with a vault decorated with caissons, which rivals the works of the ancients. The additions he made to the church of St. Francesco at Rimini, a pointed church, though not in the same style, because it then came into disrepute, show an extraordinary aptitude for overcoming the most difficult and repulsive subjects with which an architect has to deal, and that work alone would stamp him as a man of genius. On his other acquirements it is not within our province to dwell ; we shall merely sum them up by saying that he was poet, painter, sculptor, philosopher, mathematician, and antiquary. Such was Alberti, in whom was concentrated more refinement and learning than have hardly since appeared in a single individual of our species. The time of his death is not accurately known; some place it at the end of the fifteenth, and others at the beginning of the sixteenth century.
326. About the time that Alberti was engaged on the practice and literature of the art, a very extraordinary volume, written by a member of the Colonna family, was published by Aldus, at Venice, in 1499, folio. Its title is as follows : - Polyphili Hypnerotomachia ; opus italicâ linguâ conscriptum ; ubi humana omnia non nisi somnium esse docet. This work deserves to be better known than we fear its rarity will ever permit. With the singularity of the plan, it unites the advantage of placing before the reader many elevated and elegant ideas, and, under the veil of a fable, of inculcating precepts of the greatest utility to artists and those that love the art. The testimony of Felibien in favour of this work runs so favourably, that we must transcribe it:-“ Sans préjudice," says that author, " du grand profit qu'on peut tirer de la lecture de Vitruve, et de l'étude qu'on doit faire de ses principes et de ses règles, il ne faut pas moins examiner les tableaux curieux de plusieurs superbes édifices, monumens ou jardins, que l'imagination riante et féconde de l'auteur du Songe a mis sous les yeux de ses lecteurs.” When it is recollected that the manuscripts of Vitruvius were extremely rare, and that when Colonna wrote (1467) that author had not been translated, when we reflect that in his descriptions he rears edifices as magnificent and regular as those which Vitruvius presents to us, we cannot withhold our surprise at the genius and penetration of the author. With him architecture appears in all her majesty. Pyramids, obelisks, mausolea, colossal statues, circi, hippodromi, amphitheatres, temples, aqueducts, baths, fountains, noble palaces, delicious gardens, all in the purest taste and of the most perfect proportion, attend in her train, and administer to the pomp with which the author attires her. With him all these ideal productions of the art were not merely the result of an ardent imagination, but were the fruit of an intimate acquaintance with its rules, which he explains to his reader, and inspires him at the same time with a taste for the subject of his pages. He often breaks out against the gross ignorance of the architects of his day, and endeavours to inculcate in them the sound principles of the art. He demonstrates that it is not enough that an edifice possesses stability and solidity, but that it must be impressed with a character suitable to the purpose for which it is destined ; that it is not enough that it be well decorated, but that the ornaments used arise from necessity, or at the least from utility. Architecture thus treated in fiction was much more pleasantly studied than it would have been by mere application to the dry rules of Vitruvius. The impression made by the work was increased by the poetic glow with which the precepts were delivered; the allegories it contained warmed the imaginations of a people easily excited, and Italy soon saw realised what Polyphilus had seen in a dream. This work is decorated with wood engravings of singular beauty, in which the details and accessories are strictly classical; it is written with great spirit and elegance, and we are not amazed at the magical effect which, with the accompaniment of Alberti's book above mentioned, it every where produced.
327. The Italian school, which ultimately appropriated and adapted the ancient Roman orders and their details to coinparatively modern habits, was for a long while engrafted on or amalgamated with what is called Gothic. We here (fig. 165.) place before the reader an instance of this, in the celebrated Loggia at Florence, designed by Orgagna. The same feeling appears, indeed, in what Brunelleschi did in his Duomo, and in many other buildings in Florence, in Pisa, Sienna, and other cities. Brunelleschi doubtless made a strong effort to emancipate himself altogether from the mixture of two discordant styles, and in some measure succeeded. Still there continued, as is evident in the Ricardi, Strozzi, and other palaces in Florence, a lingering love for the mixture, which the architects had great apparent difficulty in shaking off. It is, however, extraordinary that with all this lingering love for the ancient style, in which there was much littleness, when the architects of this period came to the crowning members of their edifices, they placed on them such massive and finely composed cornices that the other parts are quite lost; and in this member it is evident they were influenced by those feelings of unity and breadth that gave so much value to the best works of the ancients,
328. The revival of the arts in Italy was vastly assisted by the commerce and riches of the country; and with the decay of that commerce, nearly 300 years afterwards, their palmy days were no more: from that time they have never thriven in the country that gave them birth. It is our intention, in this view of Italian architecture, to consider it under the three schools which reigned in Italy – 1. The Florentine ; 2. The Roman; 3. The Venetian.
329. 1. Florentine School. — Climate and the habits of a people are the principal agents in creating real style in architecture; but these are in a great measure controlled, or it is perhaps more correct to say modified, by the materials which a country supplies. Often, indeed, these latter restrict the architect, and influence the lightness or massiveness of the style he adopts. The quarries of Tuscany furnish very large blocks of stone, lying so close to the surface that they are without other difficulty than that of carriage obtained, and removed to the spots where they are wanted. This is probably a circumstance which will account for the solidity, monotony, and solemnity which are such commanding features in the Florentine school; and which, if we may judge from the colossal ruins still existing, similarly prevailed in the buildings of ancient Etruria. In later times another cause contributed to the continuation of the practice, and that was the necessity of affording places of defence for the upper ranks of society in a state where insurrection continually occurred. Thus the palaces of the Medici, of the Pitti, of the Strozzi, and of other families, served almost equally for fortresses as for palaces. The style seems to have interdicted the use of columns in the façades, and on this account the stupendous cornices that were used seem actually necessary for the purpose of imparting grandeur to the composition. In the best and most celebrated examples of their palaces, such as the Strozzi, Pandolfini, and others in Florence, and the Picolomini palace at Sienna, the cornices are proportioned to the whole height of the building considered as an order, notwithstanding the horizontal subdivisions and small interposed cornices that are practised between the base and the crowning member. The
courts of these palaces are usually surrounded by columns or arcades, and their interior is searcely ever indicated by the external distribution. From among the extraordinary palaces with which Florence abounds, we place before the reader the exquisite façade of the Pandolfini palace, the design whereof ( fig. 166.) is attributed to the divine Raffaelle d'Urbino.
In it almost all the requisites of street architecture are displayed. It is an example wherein the principles of that style are so admirably developed, as to induce us to recommend it, in conjunction with the façade of the Farnese palace hereafter given, to the elaborate study of the young architect.
330. Without further allusion to the double cupola of the Duomo, already noticed, the first of its species, and the prototype of that of St. Peter's at Rome afterwards reared by Miclael Angelo, the principles and character of the Florentine school are not so inanifest in its churches as in its palaces. These nevertheless possess great interest ; for they were the bases on which those of the Roman school were formed, as well as of those examples wliich, with different degrees of purity, were afterwards erected in many of the capitals of Europe. Besides the plan of the Duomo, those of St. Michele, Sta. Maddelina, St. Pancrazio, St. Lorenzo, and St. Spirito, are the key to all excellence in modern art, as i espects real church architecture. It is unfortunate that of this school few of the churches have been finished, so that their façades are generally imperfect. The interior was properly, with them, a matter to be first considered and brought to perfection.
331. Amongst the many extraordinary architects of the Florentine school, whereof a list will hereafter be given, was Bartolomeo Ammanati, whose bridge, “ della Santissima Trinità," sufficiently proves that the greatness of the Florentine school does not alone depend on its palaces and churches. This, one of the most beautiful examples, as well for design as constructive science, in which was obtained for the waters of the Arno a maximum of waterway, combined with a beauty of form inappreciable through graphic means, still strides the river of Florence, to attest the consummate skill of Ammanati. The bridge in question consists of three arches : the middle one is 96 ft. span, and each of the others 86 ft.; the width of the piers is 26 ft. 9 in., and the breadth of the bridge between the parapets is 33 ft. The arches are very slightly pointed, the cusp being hidden by the rams' heads sculptured on the keystones; their rise above the springing is very little, hence they have been mistaken by some writers for cycloidal arches. Alfonso and Giulio Parigi, who assisted in constructing the work, left an account of the mode in which it was carried on, and the manuscript is still preserved in the Florentine Library. More recently, a description of this bridge has been published by Ferroni, under the title of “Della vera Curva degli Archi del Ponte della Santissima Trinità di Firenze." The Pitti palace had been begun in the time of Brunelleschi, in 1435, for Luca Pitti, a wealthy citizen of Florence. Remaining long unfinished, it was at last sold to Eleonora, wife of Cosmo I., who purchased the adjoining ground, and planted the Boboli Gardens. About the middle of the 16th century, Nicolo Bracciani, surnamed Tribolo, made designs for finishing the building; and was succeeded by Bernardo Buontalenti. After him came our Ammanati, who left other designs for finishing, which was accomplished by Alfonso and Giulio Parigi. It is now the residence of the grand duke, and has served as a model for imitation to many modern architects, though there is in it much to condemn. The details, however, and proportions of the orders used in it by Ammanati, are very beautiful. This architect died in 1586, at the age of seventy-five. He was a pupil of Baccio Bandinelli, and during his life composed a large work, entitled La Città, which contained designs for all the fabrics belonging to a regular and well-arranged city, beginning with the gates, then proceeding to the palaces of the prince and magistrates, the churches, the fountains, the squares, the loggia for the