University of Cambridge > > Martin Centre Research Seminar Series > Palladio’s Palazzo Della Torre, Verona, 1551

Palladio’s Palazzo Della Torre, Verona, 1551

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Rudolf Wittkower’s Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949) became a landmark work in proportional practices in the 15-16th centuries, particularly the writings and works of Alberti (1404-1472) and Palladio (1508-1580). Alberti was known for his mathematical abilities. It is odd that his most revealing comment on proportions appropriate for building tends to be ignored in favor of his rehearsal of music theory. In a significant section on proportion, he remarks on the appropriateness of geometric measures, especially the correspondentae innatae of the cube. Alberti encourages the use of radices et potentae such as square roots, cube roots, squares and cubes. Palladio, too, was cited by a contemporary as having “much inclination for mathematics”. An analysis of the Palazzo Della Torre shows that Palladio made masterly use of the cube’s correspondentae innatae. He invoked the classical Delian problem involving the cube root of two. Palladio’s room proportions in length, breadth and height bear remarkable parallels with trends towards equal temperament in the music world at the time.

This talk is part of the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series series.

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