i Richard Boyle, Chiswick House, completed 1729, Chiswick, London. Image: Wikimedia Commons

22 – The Palladian Model: Variations on an Ideal

On campus

Course 22 – Summer School on campus

Monday 3 – Friday 7 July 2023
Dr Michael Douglas-Scott

Booking for this course has now closed. 

You may also be interested in our online evening course From Life: Representing Nature in Northern European Art, 1500-1750 and our Autumn School course Making Sense of the ‘Classical’ in Art.

Course description

Palladio (1508-1580) was perhaps the most influential of all Renaissance architects and the only one whose work inspired an “ism”. Born in Padua, Andrea di Pietro della Gondola was given his name of “Palladio” within the aristocratic circles of Vicenza. He was adopted by these noblemen to rebrand their town palaces and their country villas in the classical style and they recommended him to their Venetian overlords. Palladio transformed domestic building types throughout the Veneto, by associating them with the grandeur of ancient Roman public architecture. He sanctioned a lavish form of interior decoration by Veronese and other painters of the region, and his Four Books of Architecture (1570) became the most influential architectural treatise of the Renaissance.

This course will counterpose Palladio’s vision of (an especially domestic) classical architecture with its interpretation in Britain by Inigo Jones for the early Stuart monarchs, and subsequently by Lord Burlington in the early eighteenth-century, in the context of the dominant Whig faction; in the latter form, Palladianism was also exported to Britain’s American colonies. Our course will explore the social context of Palladio’s architectural principles and compare it to those of his followers and imitators in later centuries. We shall debate their different understandings of room function, decoration, and the relationship of buildings to their natural environments.

This course will include visits to the comprehensive collection of Palladio’s drawings at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA; held in the Victoria and Albert Museum), to the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and to Burlington’s Chiswick villa.

Lecturer’s biography

Dr Michael Douglas-Scott is an independent scholar and lecturer specialising in Italian Renaissance painting and patronage. Michael lived in Italy for many years, has lectured extensively on the Italian Renaissance and has published articles in Arte VenetaThe Burlington Magazine, and the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. An extensive article on a Bellini altarpiece was published in the journal Artibus et Historiae in November 2022.