• -Commentary by Robert Tavernor, Professor of Architecture at the University of Bath
      -Searchable, cross-linked English translation of the Italian by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield
      -Supplementary glossary of Italian architectural terms
      -Magnify up to 400%
    • -Digital images of every page of this rare book, cover to cover, in full color, presented as uncropped spreads
      -Print and Thumbnails files for creating printed references
      -Adobe Reader 4.0 with Search software
      -PDF file on CD-ROM with all of Adobe Reader’s viewing, navigation, and search features
      -Octavo Digital Guide and Help files
    • - Adobe Reader 5.0 or later (available free from Adobe)
      - Windows PC with Pentium processor running Windows 95 or later
      - Macintosh Power Mac running OS 9.2, or OS X 10.1 or later. Linux 2.2 kernel on X86 computer
      - Color Monitor (15" or larger, capable of displaying millions of colors recommended)
      - CD-ROM drive
  • Andrea Palladio’s Four Books on Architecture is probably the most influential architectural treatise ever published, and certainly the most famous. The book, with clear and direct words and images (217 striking architectural wooducts), came to represent to later generations, especially in Great Britain and North America, the ideal formulation of the classical principles of monumentality, order, and symmetry. What Vesalius did for the human body, Palladio accomplished for the mathematical integrity of a building. Reconstructing ruins as he imagined they had been designed, Palladio made spectacular drawings of ancient temples and shrines, basilicas, and vast Roman baths and arenas.

    For nearly 250 years, Palladio reigned supreme, immortalized through more than forty published editions of this book. With French and English translations of I quattro libri, his influence spread over North America, dominating colonial and, later, federal architecture. Thomas Jefferson, referring to his copy of an English translation as “the Bible,” drew upon the book in his designs for Monticello and the University of Virginia.


    The original book imaged for this digital edition:
    12 1/4 x 8 3/8 inches (311 x 213 mm)
    Classifying Columns
    Renaissance architecture was a reinterpretation of the classical tradition of architecture and relied on the built and literary remains of the ancient Roman civilization for its example. The principal ornaments that adorned Roman buildings were Greek in origin and referred to human attributes: columns, for instance, were classified as Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, and their character as masculine, matronly, and maidenly. These were to be arranged in rows, with set intervals in between; they were to be stacked vertically, one upon the other in a hierarchy with the plainest at the bottom (Doric), the most elegant at the top (Corinthian), and the Ionic in between.
    Presiding Paragon
    Studies of antiquity, in situ, were an essential part of Palladio’s architectural education. Palladio reasoned that only through such study could the greatness of ancient architecture be understood and reinterpreted convincingly. He believed that an essential contribution to its greatness was the concept of Virtue, which derived from a sound education in the arts and sciences, and the exercise of knowledge and wisdom in the public domain for the benefit and enhancement of civic life. For the architect, this meant designing buildings and places that would benefit society. Palladio highlighted this vision of the well-rounded architect in pursuit of excellence in I quattro libri by depicting on the frontispiece to each of his four books Regina Virtus, the Queen of Virtue, as mother of the arts, presiding over his architectural deliberations within.
    American Aftermath
    Much credit has to be given to Thomas Jefferson for shaping the development of Palladian architecture in America. As a politician, he was instrumental in breaking his country’s colonial bondage to Britain toward the end of the eighteenth century. As an architect, he embraced Palladio’s I quattro libri as a useful and practical means by which form and authority could be given to his vision for a new society. Through Jefferson’s reading of Palladio, the classical language of architecture was translated into the university and governmental architecture of the New World. He designed the University of Virginia and Charlottesville and the Virginia capitol at Richmond, and made changes to the nation’s new Capitol building in Washington, D.C., even proposing a design for the White House (unbuilt) – with Palladio as his guide.


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