Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-swr86 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-17T14:49:51.008Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

1 - The Forked Road to Modernity: Ambiguities of the Renaissance Facade

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2010

Charles Burroughs
Affiliation:
State University of New York, Binghamton
Get access

Summary

PRELUDE

The architectural facade was a crucial feature of the early modern transformation of social space and of the emergence, concomitantly, of new media and vehicles of communication and prescription. The architectural treatise, in particular, developed as a genre of printed book. We look in vain in this literature, however, for explicit reflection on the concept of “facade,” for all its resonances with themes and concerns in other cultural domains and genres of literary production.

How can we explain this discrepancy between what we read and what we see? To a degree, the transition to a world of facades was so complete that the facade's very ubiquity made it conceptually unremarkable, while contention developed, or at least found articulation, around other design elements, notably the vocabulary of classicism. But explanations in terms, say, of the collective unconscious of the period must account for the emergence in the Renaissance of fashions in architecture, implying conscious decisions on the part of both patrons and architects. In particular, the design work of certain leading architects betrays resistance, if not opposition, to facade architecture, as a threat not only to the integrality of a specific building, but also to the legitimizing basis of the nascent discipline of “Architecture” itself.

Crucial shifts in practice outstripped, further, not only the theoretical resources of the period, but even, to a degree, linguistic usage. Indeed, the semantic field and connotations of the familiar term “facade” (facciata, faccia) have undergone a notable evolution since the Renaissance.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade
Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense
, pp. 12 - 42
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×