Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) and
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)
Comparing a Renaissance architect with a 20th century architect is essentially comparing an artist who depended on the aristocracy to one who lived in a democracy. Palladio designed buildings for the ecclesiastical elite, kings, bankers and trade and craft associations. In other words, he received very large commissions for public buildings meant to impress, educate and even intimidate the general populace.
On the other hand, “Wright had an ideal of natural man, living at ease with nature and in a society that he termed ‘organic,’ devoid of class structure, wherein the integrity of the individual was preserved and people were mutually supportive.”[i]
“Palladian architecture sees the human being as the center of the universe, the tamer of nature, Wright’s … reflects a more dependent relationship of the human on nature. Palladio’s model for his design was the human form; that of Wright was the tree. He wanted his structures to come out of the ground into the light.”[ii]
Both architects were in touch with an aspect of P-A in which both man and nature are perfect expressions of the Implicate Order and form a perfect whole. Each artist was in search of the good, the true and the beautiful and each heard the still small voice in the creative flow of the present moment. Examples of the work of each include:
- Villa Rotunda in Vicenza (1550) by Palladio
- Fairoaks Avenue (1902) by Wright
[i] Elsen, Albert E. Purposes of Art. New York: Holt. 1981, page 241.
Illustrations: Elsen, Albert E. Purposes of Art. New York: Holt, 1981.
- Figure 223 – Villa Rotunda.
- Figure 352 – Fairoaks Avenue.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry.