LAURANA, Luciano
(b. ca. 1420, Zara, d. 1479, Pesaro)


Palazzo Ducale, Urbino

In 1468 Federico da Montefeltro appointed Luciano Laurana as chief architect of his enormous unfinished palace in Urbino. Luciano probably had been at work on the project for two years, for he had sent a model for the building from Mantua in 1486. One of the most impressive spaces of the Palazzo Ducale is its courtyard, the construction of which can be dated during the years of Luciano's activity; it is therefore generally assumed that he was its architect.

In contemplating the design of the courtyard, we must mentally strip away the two upper stories, added later, and imagine that the structure ends with the cornice of the second story. Thus reduced, the courtyard emerges as among the most harmonious construction of the Renaissance. As compared with the verticality and density of Florentine Renaissance architecture, the columns, pilasters, windows, and even the letters of the inscriptions are widely spaced, emphasizing the horizontality of the courtyard.

The courtyard was constructed 1467-72 by Luciano Laurana and later completed by Francesco di Giorgio.

View the ground plan of the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino.