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Renaissance architecture

The cultural movement called the Renaissance was expressed in architecture in new emphasis on rational clarity and regularity of parts, arranged in simple mathematical proportions and in a conscious revival of Roman architectural practice in structure and details. Renaissance architecture originated in Florence and central Italy in the early 15th century as an expression of Humanism. In Italy, four phases of Renaissance style can be identified: the Early Renaissance of Leone Battista Alberti and Filippo Brunelleschi, the High Renaissance of Donato Bramante and Raphael, the widely diverging Mannerist tendencies in some work of Michelangelo and Giulio Romano and Andrea Palladio, and finally the Baroque (q.v.), in which the same architectural vocabulary is used for such different rhetoric that it deserves a separate entry.

When the Renaissance spirit was imported into Spain, France, England, the Low Countries, Germany, Sweden and Poland, the style appeared fully formed, all at once, but compromised with local traditions, and so its phases are not so clearly distinguished in individual buildings.

Early Renaissance


Brunelleschi and Alberti

Filippo Brunelleschi, Leone Battista Alberti,


Filarete, Leonardo, Bramante


Palace design

High Renaissance

Rome: St. Peter's

Raphael and Giulio Romano

Roman churches

Roman palaces



Peruzzi and Antonio da San Gallo

Sanmichele and Sansovino

Serlio and Vignola

Palladio and the villa

French Renaissance

Flemish Renaissance

English Renaissance

German, Polish and Swedish Renaissance

Spanish Renaissance

Main works of art that mark important points in Renaissance architecture: