Alternatives Unit Summary
~ Middle Ages (1150 – 1550)
~ Italian Renaissance (1460 – 1600)
~ French Renaissance (1450 – 1600)
~ English Renaissance (1500 – 1660)
~ Italian Baroque (1600 – 1700)
~ French Baroque (1600 – 1715)
~ English Baroque (1660 – 1702)
~ French Rococo (1700 – 1760)
~ Early Georgian, England (1715 – 1760)
~ Early French, Neoclassic (1760 – 1789)
~ Early English, Neoclassic (1770 – 1810)
~ Late French, Neoclassic (1789 – 1820)
~ Late English, Neoclassic (1810 – 1830)
In Robert Blakemore’s History of Interior Design & Furniture, he separates our classes Alternatives chapter into three main time periods and also, three unique individual ones, the Middle Ages, the French Rococo, and the Early Georgian, England.
In the beginning of our Alternatives section we explored many Gothic cathedrals. They demonstrated how they found alternatives to reconstructing them when problematic occurrences happened. For example, the Amiens Cathedral was built with many flaws in the central nervous point. Because it was constructed without care to pressure, it almost collapsed. Thankfully the following architect saved it after his death. I found the Amiens cathedral to be inspiring and uplifting as the architecture states itself. The video that Patrick showed us in showed how the Golden mean and section was used to build nearly the entire cathedral. It also followed the Court, Porch, Hearth structure that the Greeks used in many of their structures.
We also visited the Villas in the Veneto, which were basically beach homes on country ground. They were giant houses built from the infamous architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio had this idea of taking a landmark from society and pasting it on the front of a normal house. For example, he took the front façade of the Pantheon; refined it, and created the well-known “La Rotonda”. The Pantheon in Rome, like many buildings, has one porch, court, and hearth. La Rotonda however, has four porches, four courts, and one hearth. La Rotonda was built like the Amiens Cathedral because of the proportions and how they were all equal.
Further into the Alternatives Unit we found out how architects were “breaking rules” and testing boundaries. An example of breaking rules would be the Piazza Di S Pietro’s Baldacchino. The columns, instead of straight and motionless, are in a downward spiral, which draws your eye up and down, creating a movement in stone form. The materials, such as the columns and tapestry above, are ornate and are made of stone to show the elegancy of the area. Bernini’s fantastic piece, “la Fontana die Fiumi”, which is sculpture that plays on light, water, and movement. In the center of this sculpture is a giant obelisk that reaches heavenward. Surrounding the obelisk are four men that represent four major rivers, the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Rio (Romainteractive). The way the light and water radiates on the four statues creates movement that is inspiring. Another piece that creates movement is the Spanish Steps in Rome. It’s amazing how we call flat stairs movement. It’s because the Spanish Steps represent a movement of people because of frivolity and exuberance it creates.
I feel that the Palladian “la Rotonda” is a prime example of an alternative because he uses innovation while still returning back to Roman Architecture. It shows how it breaks the box and still holds its past. It also, not knowing, influenced the Thomas Jefferson house, the Monticello, which still holds the same Pantheon-like front façade.