tag archives: travel

visiting the fondation louis vuitton (flv) was a highlight of our recent visit to paris.  the private contemporary art museum was created at the initiative of bernard arnault, the chairman and chief executive officer of luxury business group moët hennessy louis vuitton (LVMH), for his personal and corporate art collections.  the museum is located in the jardin d’acclimation, an amusement park in the bois de boulogne, which was converted from a royal hunting ground into a public park in 1860.

arnault collaborated with american architect, frank o. gehry, who also designed the guggenheim museum in bilbao, spain and the walt disney concert hall in los angeles, CA, to design a museum that epitomized the corporate image of LVMH as a patron of the arts, culture, and heritage.

the architecture of the museum was inspired by 19th century glasshouses, such as le palmarium that was built in the jardin d’acclimation in 1893, and demolished in 1934.

‘the idea of using glass…was essential in making the fondation a true bois de boulogne building, in the spirit of a children’s park.’  -frank o. gehry

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frank o. gehry | sketch of the fondation louis vuitton building preceding the initial architectural models | april 2006

photo credit (c) gehry partners, llp and frank o. gehry via fondation louis vuitton

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gehry partners, llp | architectural model | fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

photo credit (c) fondation louis vuitton via archdaily

 architectural digest (ad) magazine compared gehry’s architectural masterpiece to one of the masterpieces of hellenistic sculpture.

‘the structure alights in the park with the delicacy of the ‘winged victory’ perched at the head of the daru staircase in the louvre.  -mayer rus, architectural digest

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the winged victory of samothrace | parian marble and gray lartos marble | samothrace, greece | circa 190 BC

louvre museum | paris, france

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the current chinese contemporary art exhibition at the fondation louis vuitton, bentu: chinese artists in a time of turbulence and transformation, even includes a replica of the winged victory of samothrace.

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xu zhen | eternity-tianlongshan grottoes bodhisattva, winged victory of samothrace | fiberglass, steel, cement | 2013

a replica of the winged victory of samothrace balanced on top of a buddha from the tianlongshan grottoes (21 buddhist cave temples from the eastern wei-tang dynasties (534-907), located in shanxi province, china)

bentu: chinese artists in a time of turbulence and transformation | fondation louis vuitton | paris, france | 27 january-2 may 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

along with a sculpture by ai weiwei, who reportedly visited the fondation louis vuitton while he was in paris for the installation and opening of er xi: air de jeux (child’s play or playground), his recent exhibition at le bon marché department store, which is also owned by by LVMH.

click here to read my previous post about ai weiwei @ le bon marché.

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ai weiwei | tree | fragments of dead wood | 2010

in the background:  huang yong ping | fifty buddha arms | metal, terra cotta, resin, various objects | 1997-2013

 the structure of the museum is actually a building within a building.  the ‘iceberg’, the interior core of 11 irregularly shaped art galleries, is clad in 19,000 panels of white fiber-reinforced concrete.  a network of steel trusses and wood beams support the verrière (canopy), the exterior shell of twelve sails constructed from 3600 glass panels.

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the ‘iceberg’ and the verrière (canopy) | fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

you can see the structure of the canopy more closely from the west, east, central, and high terraces, which are accessible from the second, third, and forth floors of the museum.

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verrière (canopy) | fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace
the panoramic views of paris from the rooftop terraces are spectacular!
to the west, la défense, one of the major business districts in paris.

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views of la défense from the fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

in the background:  la défense | under construction in the foreground:  the location for the louis vuitton women’s autumn/winter 2016 fashion show

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

and, to the east, the eiffel tower.

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view of the eiffel tower from the fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

the building is brilliantly sited not only to capture the views, but also to comply with local zoning ordinances.  to comply with height restrictions, the site was excavated so that the lower ground floor of the museum could be built below grade.  the fondation louis vuitton commissioned inside the horizon, a site specific installation, from danish-icelandish artist olafur eliasson for the grotto behind the underground reflecting pool.

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olafur eliasson | inside the horizon | stainless steel, aluminum, LED light system, colored glass, mirror, sound | 2014

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the terraced waterfall flows into the subterranean reflecting pool.

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the terraced waterfall | fondation louis vuitton | paris, france

photo and video credits lisa walsh | innerspace

going to a department store isn’t usually our highest priority when we visit paris.  but this time, our visit coincided with an art exhibition by chinese contemporary artist, ai weiwei, at le bon marché.  so, my husband, bob, and i made an exception.

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux (child’s play or playground)

le bon marché rive gauche | 24, rue de sèvres | paris, france

16 january-20 february 2016

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

le bon marché commissioned the art exhibition as a promotion for their annual winter white sale.

does that seem surprising to you?

did you know that le bon marché is owned by luxury business group moët hennessy louis vuitton (LVMH)?  LVMH, who is a corporate patron of the arts, culture, and heritage, recently opened the the fondation louis vuitton, a private contemporary art museum in paris.  so, it doesn’t seem unusual for them to sponsor an art exhibition.  their only requirement of ai weiwei was the white color scheme.

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exhibition program | ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

the exhibition, which was his first exhibition in a retail environment, included five installations:  windows 1 to 10, ten narratives installed in the ten windows along rue de sèvres; dragon in four pieces, a silk and bamboo sculpture installed in the gallery on the ground floor; selfie wall, a video installation on the first floor; and escalating dragon, drawings in the style of chinese ink paintings applied to the railings of the central escalator.

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ai weiwei | escalating dragon

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the song of white, the atrium installation, was the most fantastic with 22 kites of mythological characters from the ancient chinese text, classic of mountains and seas (shan hai jing), suspended like mobiles over the cosmetics department.

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ai weiwei | the song of white

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

for the entire exhibition, ai, along with a master kitemaker and his team of artisans from shandong province, china, hand crafted about 100 kites.  they left the bamboo frames of some kites uncovered.  and, covered the bamboo frames of other kites with white silk, which is less fragile than rice paper, the traditional material.  they illuminated some of the silk covered kites from the interior, so that they glowed like lanterns.

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ai weiwei | the song of white | heluo

heluo | a fish with one head and ten tails | barks like a dog

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ai weiwei | the song of white | shuyu

shuyu | a fish with four heads, three tails, six chicken feet, and red feathers | chirps like a magpie

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ai weiwei | the song of white | chunaio

chunaio | the ‘sixheadrook bird’ | a green bird with a yellow body, red feet, and six heads

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ai weiwei | the song of white | tianwu

tianwu | ‘sky cry’, the lord of the waters | a diety with eight human heads, eight feet, and eight tails

ai weiwei: er xi, air de jeux | le bon marché rive gauche | paris, france | 16 january-20 february 2016

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

according to women’s wear daily (wwd), one of the kites may be acquired by the fondation louis vuitton (FLV).  if you were the curator, which one would you choose?

click here to read my post about the fondation louis vuitton.

have you ever noticed that people are mesmerized by movement?

alexander calder: performing sculpture, an exhibition at the tate modern museum in london from 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016, could be described as mesmerizing.  it’s the largest calder exhibition ever shown in great britain, with eleven galleries displaying approximately 100 works.

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alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

saint paul’s cathedral and the millenium bridge in the background

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

american sculptor, alexander calder (1898-1976), may be best known for transforming sculpture into a kinetic art form.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | antennae with red and blue dots | hanging mobile | aluminum and steel wire | circa 1953

collection of the tate modern museum | london, united kingdom

photo credit (c) 2015 calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via BBC

his kinetic sculptures could also be described as performance art.

at the beginning of his career, calder gained fame, received introductions, and made friends through cirque calder, the miniature mechanical circus that he created and performed in paris and new york from 1926-1931.

calder’s friends included artists joan miró (1893-1983) and fernand léger (1881-1955), as well as composer edgard varèse (1883-1965).  my husband, bob, and i were captivated by calder’s three dimensional wire caricatures of them.

‘i think best in wire.’  -alexander calder

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | joan miró | wire | circa 1930

on loan from a private collection

photo credit courtesy of the calder foundation via the new centrist

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | varése | wire | 1930

on loan from the whitney museum of american art | new york, NY

photo credit (c) calder foundation via the whitney

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | fernand léger | wire | 1930

on loan from a private collection

photo credit (c) calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via the arts desk

at the tate modern, the installation and the illumination capture the shadows cast by the suspended sculptures.

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room 3 | alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

calder began creating abstract sculptures, most commonly made from wire and sheet metal, following a visit to the paris studio of dutch painter piet mondrian (1872-1944) in 1930.  he began suspending his abstract sculptures, and using airflow or touch, instead of mechanics or motorization, to generate movement.  another one of his friends, artist marcel duchamp (1887-1968), called calder’s suspensions mobiles, a pun on the french words for movement and motive.

like other viewers, bob and i were magnetized by the movement of the mobiles.

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room 9 | alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

some mobiles move silently.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | snow flurry I | hanging mobile | painted steel sheet and steel wire | 1948

on loan from the collection of the museum of modern art | new york, NY

photo credit (c) 2016 calder foundation, new york / artists rights society (ARS), new york via MOMA

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | gamma | hanging mobile | painted sheet metal and steel wire | 1947

on loan from the collection of jon a. shirley | seattle, WA

photo credit calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wsj

while, the movement of other mobiles creates sound.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | triple gong | hanging mobile | brass, sheet metal, wire and paint | circa 1948

on loan from the collection of the calder foundation | new york, NY

photo credit calder foundation, new york / art resource, new york / ARS, new york / DACS, london via wsj

does silence somehow seem more eloquent?

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | black widow | hanging mobile | wire and painted metal | circa 1948

on loan from the institute of architects of brazil | säo paulo, brazil

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

our visit to london conveniently coincided with the post war and contemporary art auctions, which prominently featured works by alexander calder.

the auction previews provided an opportunity to view calder’s hanging and standing mobiles more closely.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | untitled | hanging mobile | painted sheet metal and wire | 1967

sold for £962,500 (US$ $1,396,588) | lot 2 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | crag with yellow boomerang and red eggplant | standing mobile | painted sheet metal and wire | 1974

sold for £1,874,500 (US$ 2719,900) | lot 3 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | the black mountain | oil on canvas | 1945

sold for £602,500 (US$ 874,228) | lot 1 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

you could say that calder performed rather well…

spring has already sprung in europe.

when we visited london during the second week of february, the daffodils were already beginning to bloom in the parks.  in london, spring doesn’t really begin on 21 march.  it begins when the daffodils in regent’s park, hyde park, st. james’s park, and green park bloom.

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daffodils | green park | london, united kingdom | february 2016

wellington arch and hyde park corner in the background

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

my husband, bob, and i recently visited (some of) the eighteen surviving palladian villas in the veneto region of italy.  now, part of a unesco world heritage site.

described as the most influential architect in the western world, italian renaissance architect, andrea palladio (1508-1580), was the first architect to systematize the design process.  fundamentally, palladian architecture combines three elements:

1| exterior elevation

a pediment above a portico with three arches.

a pediment above a portico with columns.

a pediment above a two-story portico with columns on both levels.

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illustration credits carl i. gable via boglewood

2| economical materials

brick and stucco, instead of stone and marble, construction.

interior walls decorated with frescos, instead of hung with tapestries.

3| interior proportions

using mathematics to design the arrangement, shape, size, and height of rooms.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | floor plan | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credit villa la rotonda

palladio probably used number theory as an architecture and interior design tool.  particularly, the ‘perfect numbers’ 6 and 10, which are the proportions of the human body.

palladio’s influence spread following the publication of his architectural treatise i quattro libri dell’architettura (the four books on architecture) in 1570.  the treatise, which has been widely translated and periodically reprinted since then, outlines his architectural principals.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | i quattro libri dell’architettura (the four books on architecture) | 1570

photo credit metropolitan museum of art

standing in a space designed by palladio has been described as an uplifting experience.  the harmonious arrangement and balanced proportions of the rooms make you feel calm, composed, collected, and connected.

‘it’s the difference between palladio…and palladianism.’

-carl. i. gable, palladio scholar

i experienced this feeling standing in the sala centrale (central hall) at villa pisani bonetti, located along the brenta river in bagnolo di lonigo.

the size, shape, and height of the hall is atypical of late renaissance architecture from the veneto region.  the large hall is t-shaped.  with a two-story barrel vaulted ceiling and thermal windows, like an ancient roman bath.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

now used as a contemporary art exhibition space

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the materials and decoration are also atypical.  frescos of grotesques decorate the cross vault.  and, frescos of scenes from ovid’s metamorphoses, attributed to francesco torbido (about 1486-after 1546), a pupil of giulio romano (1499-1546), decorate the barrel vaults.

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frescos of grotesques | cross vault | sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

attributed to francesco torbido (about 1486-after 1546) | frescos of scenes from ovid’s metamorphoses | barrel vaults | sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

villa pisani bonetti was the first agricultural estate that palladio designed for a venetian, instead of a vicenzan, patron.  the facade facing the river has twin towers, centered by a rusticated masonry portico with a pediment above three arches.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | river facade | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy | 1542-1545

photo credits villa pisani, lisa walsh | innerspace and lisa walsh | innerspace

recent restorations include reopening the thermal window on the courtyard facade, which originally faced the (now demolished) barchessa (barn).  and, re-excavating the semi-basement.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | courtyard facade | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy | 1542-1545

photo credits paolo vandrasch via artribune and lisa walsh | innerspace

according to the four books on architecture, villa godi malinverni, located in lugo di vicenza, was the first villa designed by palladio.  following our visit, villa godi malinverni was hosting a wedding.  so, i decided that it would be impolite to take many photographs.

villa godi malinverni is also famous for it’s frescos by mystic painter, gualtierro padovano (circa 1510-1552).  as well as classic painters, battista del moro (1512-after 1568) and giovanni battista zelotti (circa 1526-1578).

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa godi malinverni | lugo di vicenza (VI), italy | 1537-1557

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

zelotti also painted some of the frescos at villa caldogno in caldogno, including the tragedy of sophonisba and the triumph of scipio.

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giovanni battista zelotti (circa 1526-1578) | frescos | sala scipio (scipio room) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

did you notice the window seats?  window seats are another common component of palladian interiors, including the interiors at villa pisani bonetti and villa saraceno.

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window seats | sala scipio (scipio room) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa caldogno, which is currently undergoing a renovation project, is now used as a municipal building.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy | circa 1542-1570

photo credits regione.veneto.it and lisa walsh | innerspace

giovanni antonio fasolo (1530-1572) painted the frescos in the sala centrale (central hall), which is now used as a meeting room. the telamons (giants) around the perimeter of the hall imitate the pillars along the perimeter of a loggia.  the monochromatic giants frame polychromatic genre scenes, including a card game, a dance, a concert, and a banquet.  del moro painted similar giant caryatids (female figures) around the perimeter of the sala delle muse e dei poeti (room of muses and poets) at villa godi malinverni.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

giovanni antonio fasolo (1530-1572) | frescos of a card game | sala centrale (central hall) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

a careful restoration project by the the landmark trust preserved not only the frescos, but also some of the original plaster on the interior and exterior of villa saraceno in finale di agugliaro.  some of the original intonaco (plaster topcoat) still covers the brick masonry on the south and west sides of the exterior.  the entire exterior is plaster, except for the stone surrounding the windows and doors.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy | 1548-1555

frescos of the original owner, biagio saraceno, above the portico door

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

palladio sited villa saraceno with a south-north, indoor-outdoor orientation, designed for ventilation and to frame the view of the dolomite mountains through the three openings of the portico.

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view of the dolomite mountains | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | north facade | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy | 1548-1555

now owned by the landmark trust, and available for holiday rental

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the flat, wood beamed ceiling in the sala centrale (central hall) is characteristic of late renaissance architecture from the veneto region.  but, the hall is t-shaped, instead of quadrilateral, which is more atypical.  the cycle of frescos around the perimeter of the hall depict the tragedy orazia by pietro aretino (1492-1556), who possibly wrote the play at villa saraceno.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

instead of arches or columns, both the portico and rear entrance at villa poiana in poiana maggiore have serliana.  the tripartite openings, shaped like ancient roman triumphal arches, were named after italian mannerist architect, sebastiano serlio (1475-1554), who published his treatise, tutte l’opere d’architettura et prospetiva (all the works on architecture and perspective), in installments from 1537-1575.  book III, published in 1540, described and illustrated ancient roman buildings along with the work of italian renaissance architect, donato bramante (1444-1514).  palladio’s predecessor, bramante, designed a serlian arch for the nymphaeum in genazzano, near rome, in 1506-1510.  yet, serliana are now commonly called palladian arches or windows.

F0019859 Poiana Maggiore (VI), villa Poiana. Prospetto principale

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa poiana | poiana maggiore (VI), italy | 1549-1563

now a provincial museum

photo credits palladio museum and lisa walsh | innerspace

like bramante, palladio pierced the lunettes above the arches with five oculi.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | serliana with five oculi | rear entrance | villa poiana | poiana maggiore (VI), italy | 1549-1563

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa almerico capra in vicenza, also called la rotonda, is considered the universal icon of palladian architecture.  upon approach, villa almerico capra appears both geometric and volumetric.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the floor plan is completely symmetrical.  a circle, within a square, within a quadrate cross.  the domed circular hall, the corner rooms and porticos, and the stairs are centered within (imaginary) concentric circles.  the four corners of the building are oriented towards the four cardinal directions.  and, the four facades have identical elevations, each with a pediment, columns, portico, and stairs.

palladio designed two villas with this floor plan.  but, only the barchessa (barn) was built at villa trissino in meledo di sarego.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | floor plan | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credit villa la rotonda

the four books on architecture attributes the statues on the roof and the stairs to giovanni battista albanese (1573-1630) and lorenzo rubini (active 16th century).  the interior was decorated with frescos and stuccos during the early 17th century.  regrettably, photographs were restricted in the interior.

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attributed to giovanni battista albanese (1573-1630) | statues on the roof and porticos | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy

attributed to lorenzo rubini (active 16th century) | statues on the stairs | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

during a previous trip to venice, bob and i also visited the following palladian villas:

F0015836 - Mira, villa Foscari, detta la "Malcontenta", esterno (da catalogatore)

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa foscari (la malcontenta) | malcontenta (VE), italy | circa 1554-1565

photo credit palladio museum

F0015819 Maser (TV), villa Barbaro. Veduta del prospetto principale, particolare

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa barbaro | maser (TV), italy | 1554-1558

now operating as a winery

photo credit palladio museum

references:

palladio museum | vicenza

unesco | city of vicenza and the palladian villas of the veneto