ALBERTI, Leon Battista
(b. 1404, Genova, d. 1472, Roma)

Palazzo Ruccelai: Façade

1446-51
Photo
Via della Vigna Nuova, Florence

The façade of the Palazzo Ruccelai is a strikingly original contribution to the history of Renaissance palace design. The façade's general principles were followed in many other buildings, some actually built, others merely designed. The basic elements are a rusticated three-story building with an entrance portal and high, square windows on the ground floor, mullioned windows on the second and third, and a massive cornice. The three stories are of equal height, and the rustication is identical in all three stories.

According to ancient Roman practice, Ionic was placed above Doric, and Corinthian above Ionic, thus the ground story of Palazzo Ruccelai is Doric (or Tuscan) and the third Corinthian. The second story displays graceful capitals of Alberti's invention composed of acanthus leaves grouped about a central palmette, a fitting intermediate stage between Doric and Corinthian.

The palace belonged to a wealthy Florentine merchant, Giovanni Ruccelai.




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