Tag Archives: Italian Renaissance

Collegio del Cambio: Perugino’s fashionable frescoes in Perugia

It was a great plan, in theory.  We’d get up early in Arezzo, take a train to Perugia, stop in Perugia for a few hours to view Perugino’s frescoes and then continue by bus to Gubbio.  Here’s what happened: we took a train from Arezzo to Perugia, stopped in Perugia for a few hours, and […]

Pienza: all Renaissance towns should have a bird that talks like a refrigerator

During a fascinating period of the Italian Renaissance, humanist scholars and architects set out to create the ideal city.  Surprisingly, one of these urban planners was a pope–Pope Pious II.  Pius II (formerly known as Enea Silvio Piccolomini) transformed his home town, Cosignano, into a miniature urban Renaissance Utopia.  He hired the architect Rossellino to […]

Giotto’s Scrovengni chapel: betrayal, revenge and dorky camels

It’s a devastating moment in the life of Joachim, a pious and generous man.  He wants most of all to give to the poor and sacrifice to the Lord, but the rabbi rudely rejects him.  As Joachim and his wife Anna are growing old but still childless, the rabbi declares they are cursed by God and unwelcome […]

Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico: classic geeks, architecture nerds and trompe-l’œil freaks hold hands and say GAH!

I’ve been meaning to write about visiting Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy  in an academic way, letting you all know that it was constructed in 1580 from Andrea Palladio’s plans based on  a reconstruction of an ancient Roman theater ,etc, etc, because you, my readers, need the facts.  But I’ve got to be straight with you: as soon […]

Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection in Sansepolcro

It’s the perfect fresco for Easter: Christ steps proudly from his tomb super hero-style in his bubblegum pink robe.  Those poor dupes, the guards, are sleeping and miss the drama.  The composition is symmetrical, and a perfect triangle from the top of Christ’s head to the bodies of the guards below.  It was only once […]

Bramante’s Tempietto gets a visit from the Infamous Blue Traveling Poncho

This modestly-scaled building in Rome, the Tempietto, is the monument of Italian High Renaissance.  Donato Bramante created his “little temple” in 1502 after a lifetime of studying Roman ruins and the architectural writings of the classical author Vitruvius.    Bramante followed a strict classical ratio of proportions, where height equals width in the lower and upper sections. The Tempietto feels rather […]