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8 - Facades on Parade: Architecture between Court and City

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2010

Charles Burroughs
Affiliation:
State University of New York, Binghamton
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Summary

THE VIA ALESSANDRINA: THE STREET AS STAGE

As an ideal model of the well-ordered city, or human society in general, the type of the Caprini facade transcended its own specific location and physical disappearance, enjoying widespread diffusion in Rome and far beyond. It also stimulated, however, innovative and striking cases of a self-conscious, even polemical departure from the example set by Bramante; indeed, such counterdesigns appeared in close proximity to the Palazzo Caprini, in a blatant attempt to upstage it (the metaphor is entirely appropriate). In this chapter I discuss the novel urban “stage” on which the Caprini facade and its rivals made their appearance and which they helped to shape through an architecture of unprecented rhetorical ingenuity and capacity to position a patron in his social or cultural world. The chapter ends with a review of the very different history and topography of a group of Roman palaces frankly indebted to the Caprini facade.

In 1499 Pope Alexander VI Borgia commanded the opening of a straight street between the portal of the papal palace of the Vatican and the piazza in front of the Castel S. Angelo (Map 4; Fig. 51). Officially designated as the Via Alessandrina, the street was generally known as the Borgo Nuovo, and was aligned roughly parallel to the existing major route (Borgo Vecchio or Carreria Santa) leading from the city toward St. Peter's basilica.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade
Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense
, pp. 151 - 175
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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