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Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey

September 2, 2010 - January 30, 2011

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Palladio and His Legacy Press Kit

Palladio Exhibition Brochure

Palladio Video

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Inspired by Palladio Flickr Group 

Measured drawing of the Arch of Jupiter, Ammon, Verona, c.1540.
Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Courtesy RIBA British Architectural Library.

Palladio and His Legacy offers a rare opportunity to see some of the most important drawings in the world of architecture—thirty-one, 16th-century works from the hand of the Italian Renaissance master Andrea Palladio. These illustrations link the splendor of ancient Rome to the power and wealth of the Venetian Republic and, ultimately, to the symbols of our American democracy.

The Late Italian Renaissance master Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) is the most influential architect of the last 500 years. His architecture synthesized the lessons of the ancient Romans with the achievements of his predecessors and contemporaries, including Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Palladio's mastery of the classical orders, proportion, and harmony was unparalleled. His projects in Venice and the surrounding region set new standards in design and redefined the potential of the art form, especially for domestic structures. Palladio's legacy was secured in 1570 when he published I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books on Architecture). One part theory, one part portfolio, and two parts archaeology, this work has had a more profound impact on the built world than any architectural treatise before or since. 

Conjectural portrait of Andrea Palladio, c. 1715.
Engraved after Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734). Courtesy RIBA British Architectural Library.

In America, to an even greater extent than in Europe, or even Britain, the illustrations and words of Palladio have forged an enduring legacy: classical forms have been appropriated and incorporated into the mainstream of architectural expression. By liberally applying the signature motif of ancient temples, the columned portico, to the residential realm, he forever elevated the potential of the humblest home. His five-part schemes linking a primary residence and its accessory farm structures into a symmetrical and cohesive composition became models for how to organize plantations, or nearly any group of related structures. And Palladio's comprehensive reconstruction drawings of Roman temples inspired the design of our temples to democracy—the nation's public buildings—in the monumental Classical Style.  


Take a docent led tour of the exhibition Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey. For more information please click here.


Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey is organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects Trust, London, in association with the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, Vicenza, and is presented in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the National Building Museum.

Curatorial Team: Charles Hind and Irena Murray, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) British Architectural Library; Guido Beltramini, CISA Palladio; and Calder Loth, Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  Coordinating curator for the National Building Museum: Chrysanthe Broikos.

Plaster models specially created and loaned by Timothy Richards of Bath, England, and bas reliefs by Ivan Simonato.


Support for the traveling exhibition is provided by many generous contributors, including:

Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust
Regione del Veneto

British Architectural Library Trust
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Center for Palladian Studies in America, Inc.
William T. Kemper Foundation
Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Andrew D. Stone
Richard Wernham and Julia West

The presentation of Palladio and His Legacy at the National Building Museum is made possible by many generous contributors, including:

Federazione Veneta BCC

Isabella del Frate Rayburn
Maurice Kanbar


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Barboursville Vineyards - Zonin Family
Robert W. and Louisa C. Duemling
EvensonBest and Knoll
Herman Miller Inc
The Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC
John J. Medveckis
Martha McGeary Snider
Mallory and Diana Walker

In addition, the National Building Museum is extremely grateful to the Embassy of Italy for its invaluable assistance, and to Anne Kriken Mann as well as the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) for their special support.