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1. The Renaissance architecture
A. The profession of an architect does not always get the fame of other artists like painters or sculptors. People admire the most beautiful works of architecture but seldom know the person who designed them. Buildings shelter and protect us throughout our lives, yet we never learn the names of those who made our own living comfortable.
B. Architecture first began to develop as a distinct discipline in Italy during the early Renaissance period. Until that time the designer of buildings was not a recognized profession like the painter or the sculptor. There were no schools for those who wished to take up architecture, and the men who made the plans for churches and palaces were seen as artisans.
C. The first architect who practiced in the way that we know the profession today was Palladio who worked in the Venetian Republic in the 16th century Italy. He built his career working for the Venetian nobles for whom he designed villas, palaces and country estates. His place in history as an architect is based on the beauty of his works and their harmony with the culture of the time.
D. Although known today more for his painting and sculpture, the great Michelangelo was also a talented architect. Michelangelo’s most famous contribution to architecture is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. It stands as one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
E. One of the first Englishmen to call himself “architect” was John Shute. Shute’s origins are unknown, but he seems to have trained as a painter and was sent to Italy in 1550 by his patron, the Duke of Northumberland. His book, The First and Chief Grounds of Architecture, was the first work in English on classical architecture. It lay the foundations of the art and became a respectable source of professional knowledge.
F. One of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history was Sir Christopher Wren. Wren was a professor of astronomy at Oxford who came to architecture through his interest in physics and engineering. He rebuilt 52 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
G. The world famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright called architecture “the mother art,” explaining: “Without architecture civilization has no soul.” Buildings are both a practical necessity and an artistic expression of a culture. It is to be admitted that architecture is the art we live in.
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