Test Your Knowledge of Renaissance Architecture!

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is Renaissance architecture?

What is the meaning of the term 'Renaissance'?

What were the leading architects of the Early Renaissance?

What was Michelangelo's architectural fame chiefly for?

What was Andrea Palladio's contribution to Renaissance architecture?

What was the role of printing in the dissemination of Renaissance architecture ideas?

What is the difference between the Quattrocento, High Renaissance, and Mannerism periods of Renaissance architecture in Italy?

What is the Flemish-Italian Renaissance style?

What was the role of books or ornament prints in spreading Renaissance styles in Northern Europe?


Renaissance architecture is a European architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 16th centuries. It is a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. The style emphasizes symmetry, proportion, geometry, and the regularity of parts. The word "Renaissance" derives from the term rinascita, which means rebirth. The style was recognized by contemporaries in the term "all'antica", or "in the ancient manner" of the Romans. Historians often divide the Renaissance in Italy into three phases: Quattrocento, High Renaissance, and Mannerism. During the Quattrocento, concepts of architectural order were explored and rules were formulated. During the High Renaissance, concepts derived from classical antiquity were developed and used with greater confidence. During the Mannerist period, architects experimented with using architectural forms to emphasize solid and spatial relationships. Renaissance architecture became not only a question of practice but also a matter for theoretical discussion. Printing played a large role in the dissemination of ideas. The plans of Renaissance buildings have a square, symmetrical appearance in which proportions are usually based on a module.Overview of Renaissance Architecture

  • Renaissance architecture was characterized by a return to classical forms and proportions, an emphasis on symmetry, and a regularity of parts as well as the integration of decorative elements into the building.

  • The façade of Renaissance buildings was organized by a system of pilasters, arches, and entablatures, and was usually symmetrical around the vertical axis.

  • Roman and Greek orders of columns were used, either as structural support or as decorative elements, and pilasters were used as an integrated system.

  • Arches were semi-circular or segmental and were often used in arcades, supported on piers or columns with capitals.

  • Vaults were semi-circular or segmental and were on a square plan, unlike the Gothic vault which was frequently rectangular.

  • The dome was used frequently and became an indispensable element in church architecture and later even for secular architecture.

  • Roofs were fitted with flat or coffered ceilings, and walls were constructed of brick, rendered, or faced with stone in highly finished ashlar masonry.

  • Courses, moldings, and all decorative details were carved with great precision, and sculptured figures were placed in niches or on plinths.

  • The leading architects of the Early Renaissance were Brunelleschi, Michelozzo, and Alberti, while Bramante was a key figure in the High Renaissance.

  • Brunelleschi was generally credited with bringing about the Renaissance view of architecture, and his first major architectural commission was for the enormous brick dome which covers the central space of Florence's cathedral.

  • Michelozzo's most famous work was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, while Alberti designed a number of buildings, including the Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Mantua.

  • The High Renaissance period saw a mastery of the revived style and the ability to apply it to different kinds of buildings, with Bramante achieving great success under papal patronage.Renaissance Architecture in Italy: Bramante, Sangallo, Raphael, Mannerism, Michelangelo, Della Porta, and Palladio

  • Bramante designed St. Peter's Basilica with a central plan scheme, inspired by the Northern Italian tradition of square domed baptisteries.

  • Bramante also worked on the cathedral of Pavia from 1488 to 1492, imposing a central plan scheme and building some apses and the crypt.

  • Raphael worked with Antonio Sangallo on St. Peter's Basilica, and his most influential work is the Palazzo Pandolfini in Florence with its two stories of strongly articulated windows.

  • Mannerism in architecture was characterized by widely diverging tendencies in the work of Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Baldassare Peruzzi, and Andrea Palladio.

  • Baldassare Peruzzi's Villa Farnesina is a very regular monumental cube of two equal stories, with frescoed walls.

  • Giulio Romano designed the Palazzo Te, which incorporates garden grottoes and extensive frescoes, using illusionistic effects and surprising combinations of architectural form and texture.

  • Michelangelo's architectural fame lies chiefly in two buildings: the interiors of the Laurentian Library and its lobby at the monastery of San Lorenzo in Florence, and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

  • Michelangelo's design for St. Peter's Basilica was selected in 1506, and he reverted to Bramante's Greek-cross plan and redesigned the piers, the walls, and the dome.

  • Giacomo della Porta made the dome of St. Peter's Basilica a reality, and his other famous work is the façade of the Church of the Gesù.

  • Andrea Palladio transformed the architectural style of both palaces and churches by taking a different perspective on the notion of Classicism, looking to classical temples with their simple peristyle form.

  • In Italy, there appears to be a seamless progression from Early Renaissance architecture through the High Renaissance and Mannerism to the Baroque style.

  • While continuity may be the case in Italy, it was not necessarily the case elsewhere, as the adoption of the Renaissance style of architecture was slower in some areas than in others.Renaissance Architecture in Europe

  • The Renaissance style evolved in Italy in the early 17th century, while England was adding a new chapel in the Perpendicular Gothic style to Westminster Abbey.

  • Baroque architecture appeared almost unheralded in many parts of Europe that had few purely classical and ordered buildings.

  • Spread of the Baroque and its replacement of traditional and more conservative Renaissance architecture was particularly apparent in the building of churches as part of the Counter Reformation.

  • The Renaissance style began to appear outside Italy around 1500 and was imported by France, Spain, England, Germany, Poland, and Russia.

  • Non-Italians began studying Italian architecture and translating it into their own idiom, such as Philibert de l'Orme in France and Inigo Jones in England.

  • Books or ornament prints with engraved illustrations demonstrating plans and ornament were crucial in spreading Renaissance styles in Northern Europe.

  • The Renaissance arrived late in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and did not make a great imprint architecturally.

  • The Renaissance style in Croatia was influenced by Italian and Dutch style, and the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik is an example of an earlier Gothic church reconstructed in the Renaissance style.

  • England's local style of Renaissance architecture emerged during the reign of Elizabeth I, much influenced by the Low countries.

  • Renaissance architecture in the Habsburg Netherlands is sometimes called the Flemish-Italian Renaissance style and is also known as the Floris style.

  • In the early 17th century Dutch Republic, Hendrick de Keyser played an important role in developing the "Amsterdam Renaissance" style.

  • Polish Renaissance architecture is divided into three periods: Italian, Mannerist, and Baroque.


How much do you know about Renaissance architecture? Take our quiz to test your knowledge on the revival of classical forms and proportions, the integration of decorative elements, and the leading architects of the Early and High Renaissance periods. From the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, this quiz will challenge your understanding of Renaissance architecture in Italy and its spread throughout Europe. Keywords: Renaissance architecture, classical forms, symmetry, High Renaissance, Bramante,

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