Ingersoll_World Architecture_10


C H A P T E R 10

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T he idea of a renaissance , the rebirth of ancient Greco-Roman culture, grew naturally on Italian soil, where the ruins of ancient Rome were much in evidence. The well-educated humanist scholars in the merchant republic of Florence stim- ulated the desire for all’antica palaces, emulating the ancients. Among the Florentines the Medici family demonstrated how patronage for religious and secular buildings could perpetuate a clan’s fame while adding to the magnificence of the city. This magnificence inspired the popes in Rome, such as Pius II, and the tyrants of Italy’s many autonomous city-states, such as the duke of Montefeltro, to pursue a new style based on symmetry, harmonious proportions, and classical columns. Returning to the wisdom of ancient philosophers such as Plato, the humanists reconsidered the role of the city in human culture, leading to proposals for an ideal city. The balanced classical vision of Leon Battista Alberti and others appealed to rising powers abroad. During the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the monarchs of both Russia and Poland imported Italian designers to work on their key symbolic projects. Soon after the Atlantic crossings of Columbus, the humanists were able to match their own theories of a return to the grand unified state of ancient Rome with the immense empires discovered in the Americas: the Aztecs in Mexico and the Inca in Peru. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán appeared 10.1 HUMANIST ITALY: Public Spaces and Private Palaces of the Renaissance 10.2 EASTERN EUROPE: From the Spirit of Wood to the Conventions of Masonry 10.3 PRE-CONTACT AMERICA: Empires of the Sun

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