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Architectural Style

Renaissance architecture characteristics.jpg



Renaissance Architecture

Renaissance is derived from the term la rinascita, which means rebirth. This is rather fitting since this period came on the heels of a tumultuous period in Europe that saw famine, The Black Plague and The Hundred Years War decimate populations throughout the continent.


Renaissance Architecture saw its birth in Florence Italy during the early 15th century.

This style of architecture, most notable for its use of elaborate columns and domes would grow to dominate the European landscape due in part to its predominate use by the Catholic Church.

Architects from this era believed that an ideal design was based on the harmony of structure, function and decoration.[1]

This era of construction would not conclude until two hundred years later in the early 17th century.

Though most famous for his sculpture of David and his painting on the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo was a prominent Renaissance architect. Michelangelo designed the dome of St. Peter's Basilica though would not live to see through to its completion. At 452 feet high, it is taller any other found on a Renaissance church. [2]

Use in Building Construction

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: famously depicted in Die Hard 3. An example of Neo-Renaissance Architecture

While the Renaissance officially ended in the 17th century, facets of this era are still influential in construction today.

Renaissance architects were greatly influenced by what they saw from ancient Greece, however they also retained more modern features found in the Byzantine and Gothic periods.

Structures built during this period are known for their extravagant use of stained glass and murals that adorn the ceilings.[3]

What defined structures built during this period was the extensive use of geometrics and mathematics during design and construction, much of which is still used today. During this era, architects equated geometric circles with perfection. Fittingly, they used the circle to represent the perfection of God.

A Renaissance Revival took place during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as Neo-Renaissance, architects emulated the smooth contoured lines and symmetrical towers within their structures. [4]

This form of Renaissance architecture transcended Europe and found its way into buildings throughout the globe.

Renaissance Revival

Renaissance Revival Staircase

Renaissance Revival is sometimes referred to as Neo-Renasissance. It tncorporated the original Renaissance style yet borrowed concepts from many other architectural styles. It was introduced during the 19th century as more of a decorative style than anything appearing on buildings such as opera houses. Some features include their staircases. They were used as features bot indoor and outdoor.

Famous Renaissance Architects

Filippo Brunellesci (1377-1446)
  • Filippo Brunellesci (1377-1446)
    • Dome of the Cathedral of Florence
  • Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72)
    • Façade of Palazzo Rucellai
  • Donato Bramante (1444-1514)
    • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Michelangelo (1475-1564)
    • St Peter's Basilica
    • The Campidoglio
    • Basilica of San Lorenzo


  1. Architecture: History & Styles
  2. Architecture in Renaissance Italy
  3. Early Renaissance in Italy
  4. Renaissance art and architecture

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