Courses

Andrea Palladio Five Hundred Years Later From the Pastoral Ideal to McMansions

Three Sundays, November 2, 16, and 23, 5:00–6:30 P.M. | American General Conference Room on the Mezzanine Floor, Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Andrea Palladio’s upcoming 500th birthday (November 30, 2008) is a festive opportunity to reflect on his legacy. The three-part lecture series by Michelangelo Sabatino of the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture will introduce Palladio’s domestic and public buildings in Italy and trace their influence in North America from the eighteenth century to the present. Sabatino will ask why Palladio has been appropriated in America and how misprisions have been useful in perpetuating his legacy. The series will demonstrate how the Palladian legacy has generated hybrid architectures with new meanings and expressions that are understood by the American audience.

November 2: ANDREA PALLADIO IN ITALY
The lecture will offer an overview of Palladio’s work in Italy and will be followed by a walk into the museum to see painting and photography that focus on the classical ideal. We will view Bayou Bend’s copy of the English translation of Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture (printed in 1735 by Benjamin Cole).

November 16: ANDREA PALLADIO AND THE AMERICAN SOUTH, FROM DRAYTON HALL PLANTATION TO THOMAS JEFFERSON’S “ACADEMICAL VILLAGE”
Our lecturer will use examples like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (1769) and the University of Virginia campus (1825) to discuss the influence of Palladio in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. He will also address the use of Palladio’s classical ideal as both a language of democracy, as in the case of his Virginia Capitol, and one of hegemony, as in the case of the classically inspired plantation houses in the American South.

November 23: ANDREA PALLADIO AND TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICAN
HOUSES, FROM WEEKEND VILLAS TO MCMANSIONS

The final lecture will analyze Palladio’s influence in American domestic architecture during the twentieth century, focusing on a broad range of examples like the weekend villas of the leisure class during the 1920s and more recent iterations of the Palladian legacy in so-called McMansions.

Dr. Michelangelo Sabatino was trained as an architect and architectural historian in Venice and Toronto. He is currently an assistant professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. His publications on European and North American architecture and urbanism have appeared in many scholarly journals, and he is the author of The Politics of Ordinary Things: Italian Modernism and the Vernacular (forthcoming in 2009 by the University of Toronto Press).

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