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Timeless Tenets At Core Of Palladio’s Classicism

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Italian Renaissance Architect (1502-1580) Andrea Palladio is considered the Western world’s most influential architect.


Roger K. Lewis, a columnist at the Washington Post, asks -Why has Roman classicism been so pervasive for 2,000 years? Some answers can be found in a new exhibition “Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey” in Washington, D.C. at the National Building Museum.


Lewis, a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland, explains in the article, “Palladio’s lasting influence resulted from his being in the right place at the right time - along with his extraordinary talent, ambition and energy. He lived and worked in Italy during the 16th century, when Renaissance intellectual ferment was at its peak. The architectural legacy of ancient Rome was being uncovered, documented, analyzed and extolled for ideals of beauty - symmetry, proportion, harmony of elements - unappreciated during the Middle Ages.” 


“In 1570, at the age of 62, Palladio took the step that cemented his reputation and influence for hundreds of years. He published 'The Four Books of Architecture,' his treatise showing what one needed to know to design beautiful, classically styled buildings. The comprehensive treatise was an architectural handbook and historic reference, but it was also a very effective marketing tool.”


Read why Palladio’s creative designs and his treatise became a Renaissance hit. Take a look at Washington D.C.’s best modern architecture. Do you see any designs that embrace classicism in architecture?