Biggest Buildings of the Renaissance
The Renaissance was an artistic, cultural, and scientific movement that changed the world. Following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, scholars fled west with ancient scrolls containing knowledge of Greece and Rome, prompting a surge of interest in the classical period. This led to the rediscovery of classical art, architecture, and poetry, which greatly influenced the social and cultural landscape of 15th century Europe. In this article we will examine some of the greatest building projects which were undertaken as a result of the Renaissance and the sweeping changes which it made to European society.
Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous buildings on this list, largely due to the elaborate paintings on the ceiling which were completed by famed Italian artist Michelangelo. The artwork depicts a variety of scenes from the Bible and Catholic mythology such as the creation of Adam and the various prophets of the Old Testament. The external architecture of the Sistine Chapel is beautiful as well, standing as an exemplary sample of Renaissance architecture taking inspiration from ancient churches. The Sistine Chapel was built over a thousand years after the Western Roman Empire fell, however its exterior could fit right in with other buildings of the period.
St Peter's Basilica, Rome
St Peter's Basilica is one of the most famous (and certainly the largest) Renaissance cathedrals in Italy. In fact, it is the largest church in Italy. While it is not the mother church of the Catholic Church, it is still revered as a holy site by Christians of all creeds from all across the world. St Peter's Basilica is world-famous for its beautiful facade and great domed roof, two common features in Renaissance architecture, however these are quite unique for their beautiful craftsmanship. There was no need for flat roof demarcation in the construction of this basilica, as its roof is topped with great domes and spires which made its construction a most intricate affair. It took 120 years between the groundbreaking and the final completion of the basilica, so it clearly wasn't easy!
Florence Cathedral, Florence
Florence Cathedral is yet another extravagant cathedral built in Italy during the Renaissance. Florence Cathedral, or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is a hallmark of the Renaissance's architectural movements and is widely known for its beautiful dome, covered with multicoloured marble panels. Florence Cathedral is for many the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the city of Florence as it has been depicted in many books, films, games, and articles about the historic city. Relatively recently it has appeared in the video game Assassin's Creed 2, where players experience the life of Renaissance-era assassin Ezio Auditore who came from Florence and at one point in the game climbs to the top of the cathedral.
Chateau de Chambord, France
The one building on this list that is neither religious in nature nor Italian, the Chateau de Chambord was built in the 16th century after France involved itself in the many Italian Wars of the periods. French soldiers and officers carried many of the region's cultural developments back home with them after their campaigns, inspiring the creation of this ornate country home in 1519. The chateau was designed by Italian architect Domenico da Cortona and features elaborate facades and round towers peaked with steeples, combining elements of both cathedrals and castles to form one of France's most beautiful manors. The chateau later went on to inspire the design of the Founder's Building in the University of London.