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(b Venice, 1484; d Padua, May 8, 1566).

Italian architectural theorist, patron, humanist and architect. Inheriting his uncle’s estate in Padua, he combined the activities of a landowner with interests in literature, drama and architecture and became an important figure in the city’s humanist circle, which included Giovanni Maria Falconetto, Andrea Palladio, Giangiorgio Trissino and Barbaro family §(1). He encouraged Falconetto, previously a painter, into architecture, visiting Rome with him in 1522 and commissioning him to design his first works of architecture: two garden structures at his palazzo (now Palazzo Giustiniani) in the Via del Santo, Padua, a loggia for theatrical performances (1524) and the Odeon for musical performances (1530–33), both extant. The buildings derived from ancient Roman prototypes and followed their detailing closely; they formed a ‘forum’ in the courtyard. Although Cornaro may have helped in the design, it is more probable that his humanist interests influenced Falconetto. However, when Cornaro commissioned Falconetto to design the Villa dei Vescovi (now Villa Olcese, ...


Jürgen Zimmer

(b Lugano, May 1, 1544; d Dresden, Sept 20, 1620).

Swiss sculptor, architect, painter, writer and collector, active in Germany. He was the son of Bernardinus Zamelinus Nosseni and Lucia Verda. His move to Dresden, via Florence, was organized by the intermediary Johann Albrecht von Sprintzenstein, and in 1575 he was appointed court sculptor, architect, painter and decorative artist on an annual salary of 400 taler. He was commissioned to exploit the sources of alabaster and marble in Saxony for the Electors Augustus and Christian I (reg 1586–91). In the following years Nosseni worked in the fields of sculpture and painting (including portraiture), made furniture and other stone and wooden objects for the royal art collection and designed buildings. He also devised triumphal processions, masked celebrations, allegorical plays and tournaments. The precious and semi-precious stones that he acquired were used for epitaphs, monuments, altars, sculptures and other works. It appears that he designed or conceived all these works but actually executed only a few of them. He created his own workshop, in which he employed Italian artists and craftsmen, whom he had engaged during a trip to Italy at the end of ...


Roger J. Crum

(b Florence, 1395; d Florence, 1472).

Italian merchant, politician and patron. One of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of 15th-century Florence, he was the builder and first owner of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, which later became the residence of the Medici dukes of Tuscany and is now the home of one of Italy’s most important museums. Pitti was a staunch supporter of Cosimo de’ Medici, and the planning and early construction of the Palazzo Pitti coincided with the period of his involvement with the Medici. From 1418 he acquired land on a piecemeal basis for the eventual construction, which began c. 1457. In the 15th century the palace was the largest private residence in Florence, comparable in size only to the public Palazzo della Signoria. Its original seven-bay façade gave it a compact, cubic and distinctly Renaissance massing that was lost in the course of subsequent enlargements (see Florence §IV 9.). The bond of ...


Monica Visioli

(b Cremona; d Cremona, May 19, 1512).

Italian nobleman, patron and ?architect . He belonged to a rich commercial family whose members had held prestigious positions in Cremona from the 13th century. In 1482, as executor of his uncle Andrea Raimondi’s will, he commissioned the master builder Guglielmo de Lera (d 1490), of a noted family of Cremonese builders, to construct the church and oratory of S Monica, Cremona, for the order of Augustinian nuns. In 1508 he commissioned Guglielmo’s brother, Bernardino de Lera ( fl c. 1477–1518), to renovate the choir and two adjacent chapels in the ancient church of S Francesco, Cremona, where he wished to be buried. The documents do not show who actually carried out the project, but some critics have attributed it to Eliseo himself, giving him the reputation of an architect. Two inscriptions (dated 1496) over the portal of Eliseo’s Palazzo Raimondi (completed 1490–99; façade begun 1495) in ...


C. A. Keller

(reg c. 1290–c. 1279 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron, second ruler of the 19th Dynasty. The inclusion in his own titulary of the expression wehem–meswt (Egyp.: ‘renaissance’) explicitly stated the rationale for his vigorous political and architectural activity: in his aggressive military policy he sought to emulate the achievements of Tuthmosis III (reg c. 1479–c. 1426 bc) by re-establishing Egyptian power in Nubia and north Syria, and in his extensive building programme he attempted to restore monuments defaced during the Amarna period by iconoclastic followers of the sun god Aten. His repairs were frequently accompanied by a text, such as ‘a renewal of this monument that Sethos I made’.

His own monuments were fashioned on a large scale, possibly in imitation of the massive projects of Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc), and were decorated with characteristically fine reliefs. At Thebes, his most significant accomplishment was the completion of the ‘...


Malcolm Airs

(b Kingscliffe, Northants, c. 1565; d ?London, ?1655).

English surveyor and collector. Both his father and his grandfather were masons and he was brought into contact at an early age with the world of country house builders. A record that as a child in 1570 he laid the first stone in the rebuilding of Kirby Hall, Northants, suggests that his father, Thomas Thorpe, was Sir Humphrey Stafford’s principal mason for this important house. John’s younger brother, Thomas, also became a successful mason employed by the Office of Works and was the major contractor for the stonework at Blickling Hall, Norfolk (1619–23).

In 1582 John Thorpe entered the Royal Works, and for the next 19 years he served either as a clerk or as a storekeeper at various royal palaces in and around London. During this time he cultivated connections at court and developed his skills as a draughtsman. In 1601 he left the public service to set up on his own as a land- and building-surveyor. He enjoyed the patronage of numerous eminent clients. In addition to his private work he was engaged on various royal surveys from ...


(b Vicenza, 1478; d Vicenza, 1550).

Italian writer, scholar, amateur architect, patron and teacher. He was an active and well-known man of letters who did much to promote the new learning and the principles of Renaissance architecture in the Veneto region, running an informal residential school mostly for the sons of the local aristocracy at his home near Vicenza, where his most famous pupil was Andrea Palladio. Trissino was a keen scholar of linguistics and rhetoric and was very familiar with both Greek and Latin texts. He attempted to revive the Greek epic and introduced Greek tragedy into Italy through his Sofonisba of 1514–15. Later he drew on Plautus and Pindar respectively for his comedy I Simillimi (1548) and his Canzoni. His interest in Greek forms of language culminated in his attempt to hellenize Italian spelling and pronunciation.

Trissino also produced books on grammar and an Ars Poetica and even tried to develop a common language in Italy. He also translated Horace and wrote pastoral and other poems in Latin. These include the heroic epic poem ...