Andrea Palladio Artist Biography
Andrea Palladio was an influential Classical Italian architect in the 1500's who designed many churches, villas and palaces, especially in Venice and the surrounding area. The Palladian architectural style is named after Andrea Palladio, a style which adhered to classical Roman principles, as opposed to the rich ornamentation of the Renaissance. Andrea Palladio was born on November 30, 1508 in Padua, Venice. He studied mathematics, music and philosophy. Apprenticed to a stone cutter in Padua when he was 13 years old, Andrea broke his contract after only 18 months and fled to the nearby town of Vicenza. In Vicenza he became an assistant in the leading workshop of stone cutters and masons.
Andrea Palladio's presumably settled life was transformed in 1537, when he was 30 years old. At that time, he was engaged by Gian Giorgio Trissino. While Gian Giorgio Trissino was reconstructing the Villa Cricoli, he took interest in Andrea Palladio's work. Gian Giorgio Trissino was heavily influenced by the studies of Vitruvius, who later influenced Andrea Palladio's own ideals and attitudes toward classical architecture. As the leading intellectual in Vicenza, Gian Giorgio Trissino stimulated the young man to appreciate the arts, sciences, and Classical literature and he granted him the opportunity to study Ancient architecture in Rome. It was also Gian Giorgio Trissino who gave him the name by which he became known, Andrea Palladio, an allusion to the Greek goddess of wisdom Pallas Athene and to a character of a play by Gian Giorgio Trissino. Indeed, the word Palladio means 'wise one'. By 1538, probably aided by Gian Giorgio Trissino's influence, Andrea Palladio and his workshop had begun construction of Villa Godi, the first of a series of country villas and urban palaces designed by Andrea Palladio in the following years for patrons among the provincial nobility of Vicenza.
After Gian Giorgio Trissino's death in 1550, Andrea Palladio benefited from the patronage of the Barbaro brothers, Cardinal Daniele Barbaro, who encouraged his studies of classical architecture and brought him to Rome in 1554, and his younger brother Marcantonio Barbaro. The powerful Barbaros introduced Andrea Palladio to Venice, where he finally became "Proto della Serenissima" (chief architect of the Republic of Venice). In 1560, Andrea Palladio received his first commission for a work in Venice itself: completion of the refectory for the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore. Other religious structures in Venice followed: the cloister of the monastery of S. M. della Carita (now the Accademia Museum) and the facade of the church of S. Francesco della Vigna. His Venetian works culminated in three magnificent churches which remain today: S. Giorgio Maggiore, Il Redentore and "Le Zitelle" (S. M. della Presentazione).