( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN the preceding chapter we have seen that classical tradition—derived from the days of the Roman empire—was too strong in Italy to allow the principles of Gothic to be received there with any degree of favour. The Italian never ceased to look upon the style as a foreign or imported one. The very name with which they branded it, " Gothic," which has now lost its original meaning, was intended to distinguish the " barbarous " style from their own national architecture. When the Gothic style was used, it was so modified by the Italian architect that many of its characteristic features quite disappeared. As an example, the great cathedral at Florence was noted, in which the nave was divided into four colossal bays, each with a span of almost 6o feet. The designer did not realize that these classical ideas of spaciousness and largeness of parts were fatal when applied to Gothic designs.
Yet Arnolfo del Cambio, the architect of the cathedral of Florence, was one of the greatest builders of the Middle Ages. " No Italian architect has enjoyed the proud privilege of stamping his own individuality more strongly on his native city than Arnolfo. When we take our stand upon the hill of Samminiato, the Florence at our feet owes her physiognomy in a great measure to this man. The tall tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the bulk of the Duomo, and the long, oblong mass of S. Croce, are all his. Giotto's campanile, Brunelleschi's cupola on the dome, and the church of Orsammichele, though not designed by him, are all placed where he had planned."
Arnolfo's plan of the cathedral embraced a huge dome—a classical feature—to be carried upon an octagon, 143 feet in diameter ; but he died before the dome, as he had designed it, could be constructed, and he left behind him no information as to the method he had intended to adopt for covering the octagon. Nothing further was done until, in 1417, as the result of a public competition, the task of constructing the dome was intrusted to a young competitor named Brunelleschi.
Story of the origin and growth of Renaissance architecture in Italy.
The Renaissance, or revival of classical forms in art and literature, was the result of a great intellectual movement which manifested itself in Italy during the fourteenth century, and thence spread over the whole of Western Europe. Many causes contributed to the revival:—the fashion, which became general, of reading and studying the ancient Greek and Latin authors; the existence, in Italy, of old classical monuments, from which the styles and details might be studied ; the inherited classical tradition ; perhaps, too, the asceticism of the Middle Ages, against which the freedom of the Renaissance was a reaction. Added to this, the Gothic style of architecture, which builders were endeavoring to introduce into Italy, was, as we have seen, unpopular, and unsuitable to the brilliant Italian climate.
These conditions gave Brunelleschi his opportunity. At the age of twenty-two he had unsuccessfully competed with Ghiberti for the great bronze doors of the Baptistery. Having left Florence after this, with his friend Donatello, he made his way to Rome, where he worked as a goldsmith, giving all his spare time to the study of the architecture of the old Roman empire, in an endeavor to grasp the true principles of the classical style. On his return to Florence his mind was full of the great scheme for completing the Duomo, which, though it had been in course of erection for more than 110 years, was still unfinished, Amongst those in authority there was much difference of opinion as to the best manner of covering the great octagon and the apses. It was not, as we have said, until 1417 that the council was held in Florence which definitely settled this great question, when the competitors submitted some extraordinary schemes. One advised that the dome should be supported by a central pillar; another suggestion, which seemed to find favour, was that the space over which the dome was to be built should be covered with a huge mound of earth. Coins were to be mixed with the earth, so that the people—after the dome was complete—might be willing to remove the soil from the site for the sake of the money they would find in it 1 Brunelleschi appears to have been the only architect who felt confident of being able to construct the dome without the use of internal supports, and the work was accordingly intrusted to him; but so little confidence had the authorities in him that they appointed Ghiberti—his successful rival of the bronze doors, who knew nothing of architectural construction—to be his colleague. Ghiberti was quite unfitted for the task, and Brunelleschi made many unsuccessful attempts to get rid of his partner. Vasari amusingly describes his last, successful ruse:
"One morning," he says, "Filippo [that is, Brunelleschi], instead of appearing at work, stayed in bed, and calling for hot fomentations, pretended to have a severe pain in his side. When the workmen heard of this, while they waited to know what they were to do that day, they asked Ghiberti what was the next thing ? He answered that it was Filippo who arranged all that, and that they must wait for him. ' But do you not know his mind?' they asked. 'Yes,' said Ghiberti, 'but I will do nothing without him.' And this he said to cover himself; for not having seen Filippo's model, and never having asked of him how he meant to conduct the work (for fear of appearing ignorant), he was now obliged to remain inactive. This lasted two days, and the workmen at last betook themselves to the Commissioners who provided the materials, asking what they were to do. 'You have Ghiberti,' was the reply; 'let him exert himself a little.' The Commissioners then went to see Filippo, and having condoled with him in his illness, told him of the harm which his absence was causing to the work. 'Is not Ghiberti there ?' he asked passionately. 'Why does not he do something?' He does not wish to do anything without you.' I could do very well without him,' said Filippo. The hint was not taken, however, for Ghiberti continued to draw his salary, without doing any work, although his removal was promised.
"Filippo then tried another expedient. He presented himself before the Commissioners, and addressed them as follows: 'The sickness, which has now passed,' he said, 'might have taken away my life, and stopped this work : therefore if it ever happened that 1 got ill again, or Ghiberti - whom God preserve!—it would be better that one or the other should continue his own work: therefore I have concluded that, as your excellencies have divided the salary, it would be as well to divide the labor, that each of us, being thus stimulated to show how much he knows, may be honorable and useful to the Republic. There are two difficult things to be done—the bridges upon which the masons must stand and the chain which is to bind together the eight sides of the cupola. Let Ghiberti take one of them, and I will take the other, that no more time be lost."'
This arrangement settled Ghiberti. He took in hand the chain, but could make nothing of it, and was at last removed from the works.
Great difficulties were experienced in the construction of the dome, and the work was frequently delayed in progress, so that, in the words of an old writer, the vain Florentines considered that "the heavens were jealous of their dome, which bade fair to rival the beauty of the blue ethereal vault itself." It was completed in 1434, the lantern being added in 1462, after Brunelleschi's death.
While the dome was in hand Brunelleschi carried out several smaller works in Florence, which had considerable influence with his contemporaries, and turned their thoughts in the direction of the new style. One of the most delightful examples is the Pazzi Chapel (1420) of S. Croce, perhaps the earliest building completed in the Renaissance style. Other well-known churches of his are S. Lorenzo and S. Spirito, each of which has a small dome over the crossing of the nave and transepts. All the details are copied from the Roman models, with which careful study had made him familiar.
The second great exponent of Renaissance architecture in Florence was Alberti (1404-1473), who was a young man while Brunelleschi's dome was swelling out against the sky. Alberti was an ardent scholar, and the author of a valuable treatise on the art of building, a book which was, perhaps, the most important work of his life, for it became very popular, and greatly influenced the designs of his contemporaries and successors. Brunelleschi, as we have seen, had made a careful study of the imperial architecture of Rome, but in his own designs he in no way reproduced it. He merely borrowed the great leading principles of Roman construction, and carried out the designs in accordance with his own ideas. Alberti was different; he was pre-eminently a scholar, and had a distinct leaning towards everything Latin. Even his great work was written in Latin, and his partiality for pure Roman details and models is evident in his buildings. In his Ruccelai Palace at Florence, for example (1460), we see the first instance of pilasters applied to the facade; these are introduced into each story (as in the Colosseum), the orders being superimposed, and each carrying an entablature.
Another important work by Alberti was the facade of S. Maria Novella in Florence—an applied-marble facing, in which he introduced pilasters and a true classical pediment. In this church we see the earliest instance of the use of volutes for connecting the higher walls of the nave with those of the aisles, a feature which was constantly imitated by later designers. The treatment of the church facade was one of the most difficult problems which the early Renaissance architects had to solve, and in many of the churches no attempt was made to solve it. The problem was a new one, for the architects could get no help from the ruins of the baths, theatres, or temples, but found it necessary to invent their own facades and to clothe them with classical details. The result was a lack of sincerity, for the external casing had no structural connection with the building which it was designed to mask.
The churches of S. Andrea at Mantua and S. Francesco at Rimini are important works by Alberti. The latter is worthy of careful study as an illustration of the methods of the Renaissance. In this instance the Gothic church was entirely remodeled, and was dressed up with a profusion of classical detail and ornament. Alberti's in-complete work, while very beautiful, exposes the falsity of principles of the Renaissance methods: there was a tendency among the builders to disregard "that only law, that Use be suggester of Beauty," and at Rimini this fact is borne home upon the visitor. The pilasters, architraves, and other classical features with which Alberti has clothed the interior are merely a series of surface deceits, having nothing more to do with the structural strength of the design than the paintings upon the walls.
Architecture at this period was having a great time at Florence under the patronage of Cosmo de' Medici, a nobleman of vast influence and more than regal wealth. Under Brunelleschi's lead there soon sprang up a band of architects imbued with the same spirit, whose genius created those magnificent monuments of the Renaissance —the Florentine palaces. Chief among these are the Riccardi (1430) by Michelozzo, the Strozzi (1489–1553) by Cronaca, and the Palazzi Antinori, Guadagni, and Pandolfini, the latter from a design by Raphael. These are all characterized by solidity and strength, for they required to be fortresses as well as palaces: the walls were of masonry, in large blocks, heavily " rusticated." In this rustic work, as it is inaptly named, a deep channeling marks the joints, from which the face of the rough stonework projects boldly. In some cases the rustication extends over the whole facade, but it was generally confined to the lower story. This treatment gives a pleasing variation of light and shade, suggesting at the same time a note of sturdiness which is in harmony with the spirit and temper of mediaeval Florence.
In the Palazzo Strozzi, which is a good type of the Florentine palace, the rustication is treated simply, but covers the whole facade. A serious defect in the design of many of these buildings is apparent here—the uniform height of the stories, as indicated by the string-courses at the level of the window-sills. This, together with the somewhat monotonous reedit on of uniform windows, tends to detract from the grandeur of the design. To some extent the defect is redeemed by the great, finely proportioned cornice, which crowns the building, and makes every other feature subordinate and of secondary importance.
These heavy walls and narrow windows reflect the disturbed civic life of this great republic. The torch-rests of wrought metal, the dim courts, and the gloomy entrances, all tell their own history; in them we trace the habits of caution which, of necessity, characterized the Florentine leaders. And as designs they must be studied, and their merits weighed, amidst their own sunny surroundings, and in connection with the history which they helped to make ; for it is impossible to judge them from their reproductions in the form of West-end clubs in sunless London. Seen in Florence, these buildings are great pages of history, which he who passes may read. Fitness is indeed one of the elements of true architecture, and few buildings can lay greater claim than these to represent the fit expression and the embodiment of the spirit of the times which produced them.
In Florence many of the architects of the fifteenth century were trained in the workshops of the craftsmen—rooms in which were carried on, under one roof, the arts of the painter, the goldsmith, and the sculptor. By these crafts-men the new details were developed in decorative accessories, such as altars, pulpits, and monuments, in many of which the work is most delicate and refined; indeed, in many cases, the subordinate architectural works are artistically much finer than the buildings in which they are placed. These details were invariably worked in marble, with delicate moldings, and exquisite carving in low relief. The pulpit of S. Croce in Florence is a fine example—beautiful in form, and in the execution of every detail.
Great activity in building prevailed in other cities of Italy, outside Florence, during the fifteenth century, and notably in Milan and Venice. Rome at the earlier period was almost entirely dependent upon second-rate Florentine artists, and much of the work there was unimportant.
Milan was the first of the cities in which the new architecture took root; and here, for the first time, we come into contact with the third great Renaissance architect, Bramante, whose work eventually culminated in the great design of S. Peter's in Rome.
Bramante was not born until 1444, when many of the great Florentine buildings which we have noticed were already in existence. Like his nephew, the great Raphael, he was a native of the small town of Urbino. His chief works were in Rome, but among his buildings in Milan may be mentioned a considerable portion of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie, and the little octagonal sacristy of S. Maria presso San Satiro.
The most interesting example of the Renaissance style near Milan is to be found at Pavia, where, in 1491, a facade was added to the Gothic certosa, or monastery. This front is covered with a profusion of marble ornament, richly and delicately wrought, like the ivory carving of a casket, but quite inappropriate for its position.
The Renaissance movement in Milan was about half a century later than in Florence, having, in fact, been introduced there by Florentine artists. In Venice the style was still later in appearing. The Venetians at this period were well satisfied with their architecture, and well they might be, for, as we have seen, the Gothic style, tinged and enriched by Byzantine influences, had produced buildings of exquisite beauty and design. The security and prosperity of the city rendered such fortress-like architecture as that of Florence unnecessary; moreover, there was a state of war between the Florentines and the Venetians, and the two cities hated one another cordially. t is not surprising, then, that Venice should be slow to borrow her forms of architecture from her neighbor. She adopted the style somewhat reluctantly ; at first in small details, grafted upon the Gothic forms, as in the Porta della Carta of the Doges' Palace. The design of this gateway Bramante was not born until 1444, when many of the great Florentine buildings which we have noticed were already in existence. Like his nephew, the great Raphael, he was a native of the small town of Urbino. His chief works were in Rome, but among his buildings in Milan may be mentioned a considerable portion of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie, and the little octagonal sacristy of S. Maria presso San Satiro.
The most interesting example of the Renaissance style near Milan is to be found at Pavia, where, in 1491, a facade was added to the Gothic certosa, or monastery. This front is covered with a profusion of marble ornament, richly and delicately¬ wrought, like the ivory carving of a casket, but quite inappropriate for its position.
The Renaissance movement in Milan was about half a century later than in Florence, having, in fact, been introduced there by Florentine artists. In Venice the style was still later in appearing. The Venetians at this period were well satisfied with their architecture, and well they might be, for, as we have seen, the Gothic style, tinged and enriched by Byzantine influences, had produced buildings of exquisite beauty and design. The security and prosperity of the city rendered such fortress-like architecture as that of Florence unnecessary; moreover, there was a state of war between the Florentines and the Venetians, and the two cities hated one another cordially. It is not surprising, then, that Venice should be slaw to borrow her forms of architecture from her neighbor. She adopted the style somewhat reluctantly; at first in small details, grafted upon the Gothic forms, as in the Porta della Carta of the Doges' Palace. The design of this gateway is wholly Gothic in composition, but the moldings, and the sportive Cupids appearing amidst the foliage, are classical suggestions. In the internal quadrangle the Renaissance forms are more evident, mingled with the Gothic pointed arches.
In the delightful little church of S. Maria dei Miracoli, one of the earliest examples of the new style, we see the influence of Byzantine tradition. This influence is suggested, externally, in the cupola and the semicircular roof and pediment, all of which would seem to be borrowed from the neighboring S. Mark's. Inside, the walls are incrusted with an inlay of colored marbles. The facades of the school of S. Mark, and of S. Zaccaria, show features manifestly borrowed from the same source.
Under the strong influences of the Byzantinee, and of the characteristic Venetian Gothic, we find, as would be expected, a great divergence from the Florentine model in the Renaissance pages, which are chiefly found along the banks of the "finest curved street in the world," the Grand Canal. The Spinelli Palace is a good type of the Venetian building. Here the facade has three well-defined stories, crowned by a bold cornice. The lower story has a central door, with steps leading down to the canal; on the first, or principal floor, is a balcony, an almost indispensable adjunct. The windows are grouped irregularly, in a manner common to most Venetian palaces; the central ones being massed together, while those on either side stand free—a notable improvement upon the monotonous spacing of he Florentine and Roman palaces. The Vendramini Palace (1481) shows similar features.
Rome during the greater part of the fifteenth century was stagnating, and Renaissance architecture made practically no headway there. But in the first half of the sixteenth century so great an impetus was given to the Renaissance movement that this short period witnessed its culmination in the city. The causes which contributed chiefly to this result were the succession of the strong and ambitious Julius II. to the Papal chair, and, with his accession, the great increase in wealth and power of the Church in Route.
Wealthy families, whom the troublous times of the preceding century had driven out, returned to the city, and soon began to vie with one another in palace-building. Among the architects the new style found a great exponent in Bramante, who became to Rome what Brunelleschi had been to Florence.
Bramante appears not to have been an especially original genius; but he had, before coming to Rome, the advantage of profiting by the originality of his predecessors in Florence and Milan. His work is marked by great variety of treatment, and, in general, by simplicity and good proportions. One of his earliest designs, the Palazzo Cancellaria, has a simple facade rather monotonously treated, with strips of pilasters spaced in pairs between the windows. The arcading of the courtyard shows a composition of arches and columns, borrowed from the Florentine architects, which became popular with later Renaissance builders.
These columns, by-the-bye, like so many other details of Roman buildings, have a strange history. They are monolithic shafts, and originally formed part of the great theatre of Pompey—the first stone theatre of Rome, built about 55 B.C. During the Middle Ages this building suffered the usual fate, and was used as a quarry for stone and marble, from which the basilican church of S. Lorenzo was almost entirely built. Bramante pulled down the greater portion of the basilica, in order to build the great Cancellaria palace for Cardinal Riario, using, amongst other materials, fifty of the old columns for his two-storied arcade.
Bramante's work culminated later in the great design of S. Peter's. Julius II. had employed Michelangelo to design a colossal monument for himself, and the ambitious pope next set his mind upon the erection of a vast mausoleum to cover the monument. Bramante was entrusted with the work, and began his great task in 1506. His design took the form of a Greek cross—a cross with four equal arms—with an apsidal end to etch arm, and a dome over the crossing. The haste with which the work was carried on led to a collapse of some of the main walls, a catastrophe which was followed by Bramante's death in 1514. After this the original design under went many variations in the hands of a succession of architects —Raphael the painter, Giuliano da San Gallo, and Peruzzi, among others. Each of these devised a new plan and made fundamental alterations to the original scheme, so that little real progress was made with the structure for many years. At last, after a chequered career, the building was handed over in 1546 to Michelangelo, then more than seventy years of age. Under his energetic control the work progressed without interruption for eighteen years. He reverted, in the essentials, to the original plan of Bramante, a Greek cross, but with a square projecting portico to the front, and with the mighty dome over the crossing. With such energy did he prosecute the work that, at his death in 1564, the design was completed, with the exception of the east front and the dome covering. He left behind him a complete model of all the unfinished parts, which were completed under Vignola, Giacomo della Porta, and Fontana, before the end of the century.
So far, the design of Michelangelo, based upon that of Bramante, had been adhered to with little variation; but in the seventeenth century Maderna, the architect to Pope Paul V., set himself the task of improving upon it. He added two bays to the nave,—thus transforming the plan from a Greek into a Latin cross, and destroying the proportions,-and he erected the existing tasteless facade, which completely shuts off the view of the dome from the front. The splendid colonnade, which encircles the piazza, was added later by Bernini (1629—1667).
S. Peter's, thus completed after an interval of 160 years, is the largest church in existence. The vast central aisle, nave, and choir, almost 600 feet in length, are divided into only six bays; the nave itself has four bays only. Over the crossing of the transepts hangs the great dome, 140 feet in diameter, rising to a height of 400 feet. With so few parts, in a building of such colossal dimensions, it follows that all the parts must themselves be on a vast scale. Internally there is nothing to give scale to the building, and to enable the eye to form an estimate of the size; there is no multiplicity of parts, as in a Gothic design, to confuse the eye, and so increase the apparent size. Ht rein lies a serious defect in the design. "Rome disappoints me much; S. Peter's, perhaps, in especial," writes Clough, and this impression (f S. Peter's must be shared by almost every visitor, for the colossal scale of the interior, in the absence of smaller details, is lost upon the observer. Externally, the facade is ruined by the clumsy work of Maderna ; but from a distant point of view the mighty dome, dwarfing all other buildings, and seemingly suspended in mid-air, is an impression that can never be forgotten. "There's a kind of miracle in it. Go where you will, that dome follows you. Again and again, storm and mist may blot out the rest that remains." And it is perhaps only in this dim, blue distance, when one is enabled to contrast the great mass with the surrounding buildings, that the mind can fully gauge the immensity of this great work of Michelangelo.
The story of the building of S. Peter's carries us down to the seventeenth century. During the i50 years that the work was in progress, Renaissance architecture passed through various phases. In the middle of the sixteenth century a treatise by Vignola upon the classical orders had great influence upon his contemporaries, and led :o a more formal and direct imitation of the classical details of old Rome. Many notable buildings by the greatest architects of the time—Vignola, Michelangelo, Palladio, and Sammichele—were studiously correct and simple in detail, unlike the free and inventive work of the earlier period. The desire for simple and grand effect led to a new method of treatment, the use of one colossal order embracing two or three stories—the Palladian order, as it is called. Palladio was not the first to introduce this treatment, but it was made familiar by a book which he wrote upon the subject, which was widely read in England, and greatly influenced English architecture in this direction. No Italian architect has left his impress so strongly upon English architecture as Palladio. Possibly his influence was, in part, due to the fact that he taught, better than any one else, the method of obtaining good effect cheaply and simply,—that he could make a design grand without great dimensions and rich without much expense," by the somewhat unworthy use of plaster or stucco with which he coated his buildings.
FRANCE. While the Italian architects were busily reviving the old national architecture in their own country, the Gothic style in France was vigorous and full of vitality; and for a long time the Renaissance movement had no effect upon it. But at the end of the fifteenth century, when the wars of the French kings brought them into con-tact with the Renaissance palaces of Italy, the monarchs became fired with ambition to imitate these splendid residences, and brought back in their train several Italian architects, whom they employed to reproduce, to some extent, the great palaces of their own country. In France, however, the foreign artists could- not have things their own way. They introduced many classical details, but the national Gothic traditions were very strong, and for a long time only the minor details could be introduced, while the general plan and composition of the designs continued to be unaffected.
There ensued, then, a long period of transition, when classical details were grafted upon Gothic designs, in the way we find them at the chateau of Blois. Here the portion which was built for Louis XII., about 1500, shows a curious blending of the styles : the general impression. is of a Gothic building, but the new influences are distinctly seen in the moldings and in the strongly emphasized horizontal lines. t was not until he reign of Francis I., when the new architecture became fashionable, that the classical forms began to assert themselves and to dominate the design. The beautiful Transitional work of this period, the " Francois Premier," as it is called, is full of charm, differing from the Renaissance of Italy in three characteristic features, as the result of the influence of Gothic tradition in France. These special features are (1) a picturesque ness of composition and of outline ; (2) the steep-pitched roof, with the natural development of dormers and high chimneys; and (3) lack of symmetry and of formality of plan.
The best examples of the Francois Premier style are the palaces built by the king himself - the north wing of the chateau of Blois (1525) with its famous external staircase, the great palace of Fontainebleau, and the chateau of Chambord. At Chambord (1526) we find greater formality of plan than was usual during the earlier period, and an elaborate roof—almost overweighting the design—with a multitude of dormers and tall chimneys, crowned in the centre with a fantastic lantern.
At Chenonceaux, Azay-le-Rideau, and else-where dotted throughout the district of Touraine, the delightful chateaux of the nobility bear witness to the memorable times when Francis held his court on the banks of the Loire. In most of these we find the same characteristics - steep roofs and elaborate dormers, angle tourelles, and emphatic horizontal string-courses and cornices. The greatest undertaking of the reign, however, was the rebuilding of the Louvre in Paris, which was put in hand about 1545, shortly before the death of Francis. Serlio, an Italian, had been consulted about the designs, but the work was entrusted to a French architect, Pierre Lescot, under whom half the palace—comprising two sides of a vast courtyard—was erected. The work progressed throughout various reigns down to the time of Louis XIV (1660), and was not actually finished until the middle of the nineteenth century, when Napoleon III. added the north and south facades. Thus completed, the Louvre is the most extensive of all European palaces, and supplies an excellent record of the progress of French Renaissance. The design has two main stories, with Corinthian order of pilasters below and composite above; over these is a low attic story. Some of the sculptured work, by Juan Goujon, is especially good. The well known imposing Corinthian colonnade of the east front, al-most 600 feet in length (1688), was the work of the court physician Perrault.
Another building of the early period was he Hotel de Ville in Paris, begun about 1550 from the designs of an Italian, but since destroyed by fire. In the great palace of the Tuileries, designed for Catherine dei Medici by Philibert Delorme (1569), several features were introduced for the first time in French architecture; two of these—the bands of rustication carved at intervals across the pilasters and the walls, and the broken pediments of the attic story crowned with statuary—became specially characteristic of later French Renaissance. The introduction of the broken pediments, in imitation, perhaps, of Michelangelo's work in the Medici chapel at Florence, was probably due to Catherine's suggestion. Be that as it may, the idea found favour with the French, and the feature has remained popular with them to the present day.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century the architecture had lost much of the early charm of the Transitional period, and many of the buildings of Henry IV (1589–1610) are coarse in detail and inferior in design : the least interesting portions of the Louvre and of the Tuileries date from this period. Of a little later date are two great French palaces which should be noted—the Luxembourg (1615), with a facade rusticated like the garden front of the Pitti Palace in Florence, and the pal-ace at Versailles, built at enormous cost for Louis XIV. by J. H. Mansard (1645-1708), a vast, uninteresting pile, with singularly monotonous facades, and—if we except the chapel-with hardly a redeeming feature in its design. By the same architect, but a more successful design, is the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, with a great central dome like that of S. Paul's in London. The lofty external cupola is constructed of wood covered with lead; the true dome, of stone, is built on a smaller scale inside. In all these designs of the later Renaissance it will be noticed that there is greater formality, symmetry, often stateliness of design, but a lack of the picturesque charm of the earlier period. One special feature of the Gothic style, however, was always retained in the French buildings—the steep-pitched roofs; and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the massive "Mansard" roof formed a very prominent feature in the design.
ENGLAND.—Gothic architecture, we have seen, had run its course uninterruptedly in England for many centuries, little disturbed by foreign influences. True, the "Tudor" Gothic of the sixteenth century was a somewhat degenerate form, but it was producing many fine buildings, and the domestic mansions of the style—such as we find at Haddon Hall, in Derbyshire (about 1540) —were well suited to the hospitable requirements of the time. It was natural, therefore, that there should have intervened, as in France, a long and interesting period of transition before the newly imported classical details could displace the older Gothic forms.
This Transitional period commenced practically with the reign of Elizabeth (1558), when the court began to giye much attention to classical studies, and to introduce numerous foreign artists and craftsmen. At this time, and especially during the early part of the century, there were enormous numbers of foreigners in England—French, Dutch, Italians, and others; in fact, the presence of so many aliens led to a good deal of unpleasantness and even to riots. The native workmen complained then—as they have complained ever since—that the foreigners brought over numbers of ready-made articles, which they sold, and thus lessened the amount of work to be done by the native craftsmen. In this way, in the first in-stance, foreign ideas and minor classical details began to find their way into the country. Perhaps¬ the first important step in this direction, however, was the employment of the Italian artist Torrigiano, in 1512, to design the tomb of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey, a design which he carried out in the style of his native country. Similarly an Italian would design, in his own Renaissance style, a chimney-piece here, a monument there, so that the classical forms became, as in France, familiar first through the medium of such accessories. As classical culture came more into vogue, books upon Renaissance art and architecture were translated from Italian into English, and were freely read. Under these influences the Gothic features tended to disappear, and a clothing of classical orders began to adorn the wall surfaces and entrance doorways. Soon these became incorporated in the design, while the forms and details underwent a gradual change, as the builders came more and more under the sway of the new movement.
The noble mansion of Elizabeth's time, the familiar Tudor-chimnied pile of mellow brick-work," belongs to this Transitional period. 1n examining one of these buildings it is interesting to note how the classical details gradually crept in, while the general Gothic disposition was at first unaffected. At Haddon Hall (1540) the Tudor element predominates, passing, in the later additions and alterations, into the earliest Elizabethan. Here we see the characteristically English feature, the great square bay window, divided into smaller lights by a number of mullions and transoms. The influence of the Perpendicular Gothic is seen, too, in Hardwicke Hall, where the design is almost overpowered by the enormous windows, so that the rhyme,
seems to be literally true. The pierced parapet, which crowns the building, is a feature of frequent occurrence: in places we find it pierced into patterns; sometimes the piercing takes the form of a sentence or motto. At Hardwicke the design shows the initials, E.S., of Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, who built the mansion. Wollaton Hall, Notts (1590), has an early example, in the parapet, of the fantastic " strap " ornament, a feature quite peculiar to English Renaissance. The angle tower of Wollaton, in the illustration on page 180, shows also the free use of the three orders, and the method in vogue of clothing the wall surfaces with classical details.
Inside the Elizabethan mansions the prominent features were the broad, massive staircase of oak or, less frequently, of stone, and the great hall, panelled or hung with tapestry, with open timber roof, bay windows, and minstrels' gallery. In larger mansions a great gallery was often found on the first floor, extending, in some cases, the whole length of the building, as at Montacute House, near Yeovil, where the gallery is 20 feet wide and no less than 170 feet in length.
Few mansions of the period are more interesting than Burghley House, in Lincolnshire, built for the celebrated Lord Burghley. On the building there are several dates, ranging from 1577 to 1587, so that it probably took about ten years, between these dates, to build. Letters which have been found referring to the building, from Lord Burghley to the builders and workmen, throw some light upon the manner in which building operations were carried on in those days. The workmen wrote direct to the employer for instructions, and all the details of the design were referred, not to the architect, but to the employer himself: The latter would settle many questions without outside assistance, but for some of the more important features he would obtain sketches or suggestions from different architects in London, so that the ideas of several architects might thus be embodied in the same building. In Burghley House the greater part of the design is the work of John Thorpe, an architect who was at the time head of his profession. The employer appears to have been personally responsible for much of the detail ; he would naturally glean most of his information from books, and, in this instance, was thoroughly imbued with the "orders," which are superimposed in the Italian manner. The craze is carried to excess in the treatment of the chimneys, which are shaped like columns, with bases and caps, and carry small entablatures.
In many of the designs a good deal of the personal element was introduced; the builders were not hampered by restrictions, and if a de. signer had what he considered a happy idea, he was free to embody it in his design, so that we occasionally find quite childish freaks perpetrated. In an interesting collection of sketches and notes by John Thorpe, in the Soane Museum, London, there are some careful studies of the orders, and some plans and drawings of a house which Thorpe designed for himself. The plan of the building is in the form of the designer's initials, J.T.., the two portions of the building being connected by a corridor. Beneath the plan he had written :
These two letters, J and T, joined together as you see,
Although in some of the more classical designs the plans were symmetrical, in other cases the arrangement was quite fanciful. Montacute House, with its vast gallery, already referred to, shoved a plan not uncommon in those days, in the shape of the letter E—perhaps a courtier's graceful compliment to Queen Elizabeth. But the courtiers took care, whatever the plan, that comfort was not sacrificed to appearance, believing, with Bacon, that houses were made " to live in, not to look on," and the interior arrangements wire excellently designed to cope with the lavish hospitality¬ which prevailed in the "spacious days" of Elizabeth. Very suggestive of the open house are the legends often found carved amongst the ornament; thus, over the front entrance at Montacute: "And yours, my friends"; while round the garden porch run the words: " Through this wide opening gate, none come too early, none return too late."
Among other famous Elizabethan mansions may be mentioned Longleat in Wiltshire, Pensburst and Knole House in Kent—the latter remodeled in the reign of James I—and Kingston House, Bradford-on-Avon, a replica of which fitly represented English architecture in the Rue des Nations at the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
During, the reign of James I. (1603-1625),--the "Jacobean" period,—classical forms were used more freely than ever ; or perhaps we should say, forms of classical origin, for the details were so distorted and caricatured as to be barely recognizable. Audley End (1603-1616), erected by the Earl of Suffolk, in Essex, one of the most notable mansions of the period, is said to have been designed from a model brought from Italy at a cost of £500; but the style was so modified in transmission that, in 1669, we find Prince Cosmo's secretary—an Italian—criticizing the design, and failing to recognize in it the architecture of his native land. " The architecture of the palace," he says, " is not regular, but inclined to Gothic, mixed with a little of the Doric and Ionic." If, then, a contemporary Italian failed to recognize the style of the period, though it had been introduced from his own country, it is small wonder that we find difficulty in tracing and ac-counting for all the forms and features. Certainly this Elizabethan and Jacobean work is one of the most curious and puzzling transitional styles known in history. Buildings of the same date show an extraordinary diversity in both the amount and the character of the classical features introduced. In some cases the designs are mediaeval buildings, with the Gothic details left out, and a good deal of uncertainty as to what classical forms should be put in their place. Evelyn, when visiting Audley End, noted it in his diary as "a mixed fabric betwixt ancient and modern, and, without comparison, one of the stateliest in the kingdom "; and Samuel Pepys was puzzled by the architecture, but admired "the stateliness of the ceilings and the form of the whole; and drank a most admirable drink, a health to the King."
It was but natural that this confusion should end in a reaction, and a return to the more correct and dignified use of the classical orders. The man under whose influence the disorder gave way, and who may be styled England's first great Renaissance architect, was Inigo Jones.
Inigo Jones (1572-1652) had studied in Italy, especially at Vicenza, the birthplace of Palladio, where he came under the influence of that great master's work. Returning to England, he endeavored to introduce the monumental style of Palladio, and in the Duke of Devonshire's villa at Chiswick, one of his first works, he reproduced¬, on a smaller scale, Palladio's Villa Capra at Vicenza. His great opportunity appeared to have arrived when he received the commission to design an immense palace at Whitehall for Charles I. The designs for this great building, and the noble composition of the Banqueting Hall—the only portion erected—are sufficient to place Inigo Jones amongst the foremost masters of the Renaissance. The treatment of this facade, with its two rusticated stories ornamented with pilasters and engaged columns, is suggestive of Palladio, who, as we noticed, frequently superimposed his orders, instead of grouping two stories under one order in the so-called Palladian style.
More fortunate in his opportunities than Jones was his great successor, Sir Christopher Wren, the central figure in English Renaissance history, who left his impress so unmistakably upon the new London which sprang up after the great fire. Wren was thirty-four years of age, and had just made a name for himself as an architect, when the great fire of London in 1666 cleared the field for him. One of his earliest works completed after the fire was Temple Bar, erected in 1670, and removed two centuries later (in 1878), in which was had an excellent example of his style, and of his judicious use of ornament. In connection with his ecclesiastical work it must be remembered that Wren was called upon to build large churches hurriedly, and at a very small cost. His church designs were hampered by various considerations, and invariably by lack of funds, but he succeeded, almost without exception, in obtaining good effect in a simple and inexpensive manner.
Before the old Gothic cathedral of St. Paul was destroyed by fire, Wren, who had been instructed to survey it, had given an adverse report, in which he stated that the columns were giving way under the weight of the heavy roof. He made various recommendations, but the debate upon his report dragged out, in the usual way, for many months, and nothing was really done until the question was finally settled by the great fire and the total destruction of the building. In a striking pas-sage in Evelyn's diary, dated August 27th,1666--six days before the fire broke out—he states that he, with Wren and several experts, surveyed 'the structure that day, and concluded that a new building was necessary ; "and we had a mind," he says, "to build it with a noble cupola, a form not as yet known in England, but of wonderful grace." Some years passed, however, before the committee could settle whether the ruins should be restored on their old lines, or whether an entirely new design should be erected; and it was not until 1675 that the new cathedral was put in hand.
As with S. Peter's at Rome, Wren's original plan was a Greek cross, with four equal arms ; but the authorities would not agree to this departure from the ecclesiastical form, and it was accordingly extended unto a Latin cross. In the exterior design we see two stories of the Corinthian order, but the upper story is a sham, for it is merely a screen with nothing behind it. A deceit such as this detracts from the architectural merit of the design, though it adds a dignity which would otherwise be lacking to the composition. The west front, and the dome, resting upon a lofty drum, : surrounded by a fine peristyle, are the most successful features, leading most critics to endorse Fergusson's encomium. "The exterior of S. Paul's," he says, " surpasses in beauty of design all the other examples of the same class-which have yet been carried out; and, whether seen from a distance or near, it is, externally at least, one of the grandest and most beautiful churches in Europe." S. Paul's has the advantage over S. Peter's in that it was completed within the space of thirty-five years, under the superintendence of one architect. S. Peter's, on the, other hand, suffered from various interruptions, and occupied a century and a half in building while twenty popes and a dozen architects had a hand in its construction.
The illustration shows the method by which, in S. Paul's, the dome is built up. The inner cupola is carried up in brickwork almost in the form of a hemisphere, with an opening 20 feet wide at the top. The dome, as we see it from the outside, is constructed on a much more imposing scale, in woodwork covered with lead; a brick cone, built up between these two, carries the heavy stone lantern. Thus the "dome," which forms so conspicuous a feature, is, in reality, merely a sham ; the true masonry domes—the structural portions—are the inner cupola, and the central cone, which is invisible.
As construction, and, indeed, as architecture, this feature in S. Paul's cannot compare with the domes at Florence and at Rome ; there is not the same honesty of treatment. Wren had newer seen either of these Italian domes, but he was doubtless familiar with the method of their construction. Had he been given a free hand, he would probably have built upon these earlier Italian principles; but he was influenced by considerations of expense, and his method was certainly the cheaper of the two.
The interior of S. Paul's is hardly so impressive as the exterior, but this is the fault of the style. It does not disappoint in quite the way S. Peter's does, for it is on a smaller scale, and one does not expect such great impressions from it. The internal effect of the dome is marred by the excessive relative lengths of the nave and of the choir. At first, on entering, one is hardly conscious of the dome; after approaching it, the great length of the choir detracts from its grandeur.
In Wren's numerous London churches he showed great skill in the use of simple materials and in making the most of the limited funds at his disposal. In many designs the most successful features were the steeples, which he may claim to have been the first to introduce to English Renaissance architecture. A notable example is the beautiful and finely proportioned steeple of Bow Church, Cheapside. But the steeple belongs more truly to Gothic architecture, where it forms an appropriate crowning feature of the whole design. The emphatic horizontal lines which mark all classical compositions render the Renaissance steeple, with its diminishing stories piled one upon the other, somewhat of an anomaly.
The Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, the southern portions of Greenwich Hospital, Trinity College library, Cambridge, and the garden front of Hampton Court Palace, are among Sir Christopher Wren's most important secular works. His genius is more evident in such buildings as these than in his London churches. It would be too much to expect of any man that he should be successful in the designs of half a hundred churches, all built at the same time, and from limited funds. It would seem that Wren monopolized the work of the latter half of the seventeenth century, for during this very active period there was hard y a building of any importance which did not came from his hands. With the eighteenth century new names come into prominence, no tably Hawksmoor, Wren's pupil, who succeeded to his practice, Vanbrugh, and Gibbs. Hawksmoor gave the London churches of S. George, Bloomsbury, and S. Mary Woolnoth; Gibbs, the interesting designs of S. Mary-le-Strand and S. Martin's-in-the-Fields. The greatest work of Sir John Vanbrugh was the mansion of Blenheim—the nation's gift to the Duke of Marlborough—designed in the ponderous symmetrical style which the architect affected, and which is seen again in Castle Howard, Yorkshire.
Architecture in England during the greater part of the eighteenth century was, to a large extent, a matter of names. The architects were greatly under the influence of Palladio, whose drawings had been published and were much in vogue. Under his lead there was a tendency, eyen in domestic buildings, to sacrifice everything to symmetry and stateliness. Bacon's dictum was reversed, for the houses were now "built to be looked on, not lived in." With all this, however, there was comparatively little noteworthy architecture produced. The work of the century, taken as a whole, shows little originality or high artistic merit; nothing more can be said of it than that it was a respectable sort of architecture, hovering between dignity and dullness.
Among the later architects of the century, Sir William Chambers designed the most important building of the time, Somerset House, which he remodeled from designs of Inigo Jones, and treated in the refined style which marked everything that left his hands. A greater work—through its wide influence over successive generations of students—was his book, a "Treatise on Civil Architecture." Of this period also are the Mansion House, London, by George Dance, senior; the Bank of England, by Sir John Soane; Keddlestone Hall in Derbyshire, by Robert Adam —one of the four brothers who gave their name to the elegant "Adam" style of interior decoration which they introduced—and Newgate Prison, by the younger Dance, a vigorous and appropriate design, shortly to be replaced by the new Assize Courts.