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Architectural Greatness: Andrea Palladio I

Born in Padua, Italy, in 1580, Palladio worked his way up the artistic and social hierarchy to become, by his death in 1580, the unofficial first architect of Venice. His working life coincided, says Raeburn (1988), with a significant change in the economy of the Venetian provinces that led to capital being invested heavily in land rather than in mercantile activities. Thus, Palladio enjoyed in his prime a unique opportunity to design and build numerous public and private structures for the Venetian merchants and nobles.

Palladio was apprenticed to a stonecutter in Padua when he was 13 years old. He broke this contract, agreed to by his father, after only 18 months and fled to the nearby town of Vicenza. In Vicenza he became an assistant in the leading workshop of stonecutters and masons where he learned the rudiments of architectural design (Palladio∆s Life, 2003).

His life was transformed in 1537, when he was 30 years old. At that time he was engaged by Gian Giorgio Trissino, one of the period's leading scholars, to assist in executing new additions which Trissino had designed for his own villa at Cricoli just outside Vicenza (Palladio∆s Life, 2003; Raeburn, 1988). The association affected Andrea in at least three ways:

First, Trissino immediately assumed the role of And


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