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16th Century Architecture

The purpose of this research is to examine classicist and anticlassicist features of sixteenth-century architecture, notably as evidenced in mannerist structures of the period. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which competing elements appear in such structures, and then to discuss, with reference to the architects Palladio and Michelangelo, both classicism and anticlassicism.

To discuss 16th-century architecture as at once classicist and anticlassicist, it is necessary to introduce the element of mannerism as what Hauser calls an "undercurrent" of style of the period. Mannerist works, whether architectural or strictly artistic, represent an abstraction from previous styles--in this case architectural classicism. But Hauser, who sees manneristic parallels between sixteenth- and twentieth-century design, cautions against making too much of mannerism as a defining form:

[T]he necessary consequence in formulating a definition of the style is that, while due attention will be paid to its aspiration to grace and beauty and its tendency to the sophisticated and affected, injustice will necessarily be done to the other equally important factor, namely its aspiration to expressionism and spiritual depth; and consequently the real criterion of mannerism will be the exquisite and artificial, thus unacceptably restricting if not actually distorting, the concept. Spiritualism and formalism are just as inseparably linked in mannerism as are the principles described by Dvorak as those of deduction and induction. If justice is to be done to the antithetical nature of the style and the dialectical development of its forms, neither element must be neglected, and it must continually be borne in mind that both are borderline terms and in practice are invariably interwoven with each other, though the individual representatives of the style are always more closely associated with one or the other (Hauser, 1965, p. 20...

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16th Century Architecture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:08, December 06, 2021, from