Course overview

Italy has been the cradle of so much of European architecture - Roman building throughout the Empire, Early Christian church designs flowing from Emperor Constantine’s adoption of the Christian faith, the development of the Romanesque style, building in the Italian Renaissance, progression into the Baroque and on to the modern era with international architects such as Renzo Piano. We will pick out examples in each of these periods to enable students to recognise the work of some of the most famous individuals in this remarkable development. This course will combine short lectures with discussion sessions, backed by colour - illustrated notes.

Course description

We will look at the development of architecture in Italy, with an eye to its wider significance for Western Europe including England. The classical architecture of Rome, taking forward the influence of ancient Greece, added new forms such as round arches and use of concrete. Christian worship in secular Roman basilicas influenced church design from the fourth century – seen in Old St Peters and the church of St Paul in Rome. In common with other European centres Italy saw the re-emergence of classical forms in the Romanesque work of the eleventh and twelfth centuries – the magnificent cathedral of Pisa is an example. Italy was a late adopter of the Gothic style emerging from northern France, but produced its own variant in centres such as Venice (the Doge’s Palace and palazzi on the Grand Canal). Brunelleschi and Alberti initiated the rebirth of classical forms in the Renaissance, taken further by Michelangelo and Palladio. Bernini and Borromini in Rome pushed forward into the Baroque. Later architectural development saw work of Mussolini’s period in power, and in the twenty first century Italian architects such as Renzo Piano (Pompidou Centre and London’s Shard) continue to exert international influence.

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All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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