ARCHITECT, Italian
(active 1480-1511 in Rome)

Exterior view

1485-1511
Photo
Palazzo della Cancelleria, Rome

This palace was commissioned by Cardinal Raffaele Riario. It was designed before 1489, the façade was probably completed by 1495, the palace was completed c. 1511. It is a colossal building, with a principal façade of about 90 m long. It is regarded as the earliest Renaissance palace in Rome. The architect of the palace is not known, the names of Bramante, Andrea Bregno, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Baccio Pontelli are often connected with the building of the palace.

The Palazzo della Cancelleria is the most important - and certainly the most imposing - palace built in Rome during the late fifteenth century. When Cardinal Riario was discovered to have participated in a plot against Pope Leo X in 1516 he was forced to deed the palace to the papacy as part of his fine. The building was then used as offices for the papal chancellery, thus giving it its current name.

The palace's finely dressed stone courses and rhythmic alternation of windows and pilasters recall Alberti's Ruccelai Palace and the papal palace in Pienza. The slightly projecting bays at the ends help to give a sense of completion to the 92-meter façade. The great size, regular composition, and classicising decoration of this building, as well as its domination over the urban landscape, its creation of a piazza on its entrance façade, and its presence on the papal processional route, all made it a model for later Roman palaces.




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