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Renaissance balusters and the antique

  • Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

Extract

Balusters, in general, are defined as the distinctive supports of balustrades (Pl. 1a). Renaissance balusters, unlike the extravagant varieties developed during the Baroque period, are simple in form, usually consisting of a double bulb, although single bulb variants known as ‘dropped’ balusters because of their low centre of gravity are not uncommon (Pl. 1b).

Balustrades can be found as parapets — fronting balconies or flanking staircases — and also as the decorative crowning features of façades. While they are physically sturdy, they are not blind architectural barriers, so that they are well suited in cases where through-vision is necessary but direct access undesirable. The balustrade, however, was only one of several possibilities for Renaissance architects. The traditional medieval railing, with colonnettes rather than balusters, was still in common use up to the end of the fifteenth century, while metal-work grilles and the open lattice or solid parapet wall provided further alternatives (Pl. 3j).

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Notes

1 Renaissance examples where the colonnette is used for a railing are the Loggia del Consiglio, Verona (c. 1480), the Pazzi Chapel, Florence (dated 1461), and the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace in Venice (1480s). The façade of S. Marco, Rome (c. 1470), is an example where the solid parapet wall is used, while the late fifteenth-century barco inside S. Michele in Isola, Venice, is another example of the lattice parapet wall.

2 Siebenhüner, H., ‘Docke’, in Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte, 4 (1958), 102-07.

3 Wittkower, R., ‘The Renaissance Baluster and Palladio’, reprinted in Palladio and English Palladianism (1974), pp. 4148 .

4 Heydenreich, L., ‘Baluster und Balustrade. Eine “Invenzione” der Toskanischen Frührenaissancearchitektur’, in Festschrifi Wolfgang Braunfels (1977), pp. 123-32.

5 Llewellyn, N., ‘Two Notes on Diego da Sagredo, 2, The Baluster and the Pomegranate Flower’ in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 40 (1977), 294300 .

6 Although antique furniture legs are suggested as sources by both Siebenhüner and Heydenreich, no convincing examples are offered. However, there are several good examples in the plates of Richter, G. M. A., The Furniture of the Greeks Etruscans and Romans (1966), e.g. ills 485, 514, 529, 565, 566.

7 The large sculpted chariot in the Vatican Museum has struts with foliate ends, see Lippold, G., Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums (1956), plates vol. 3.2, pl. 29 . Bulb-like chariot wheel struts are commonplace in Roman reliefs, see Reinach, S., Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains (1912), III, 47, 183, 187, 360, 368, 376.

8 Such reliefs are illustrated in S. Reinach, op. cit., III, 39, 43, 186, 240, 268, 381, 391. Cassiano dal Pozzo’s drawings after the Antique, conserved in the British Museum and the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (photographs in the Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art), provide many further examples.

9 Codex Escurialensis (ed. Egger, H., 1905) fol. 56 recto. For antique examples of this motif, see G. M. A. Richter, op. cit., ills 487, 488, 562. The motif was assimilated into Renaissance art at an early date, appearing in Donatello’s S. Croce Annunciation tabernacle, and later as the legs of the throne in Raphael’s Madonna del Baldacchino, and as the supports of the Bertrando Rossi tomb (c. 1535) by Bartolomeo Spani in the church of the Steccata, Parma. Giuliano da Sangallo employed a similar motif for the arms of his choirstalls in the Medici Palace Chapel, Florence.

10 G. Lippold, loc. cit., pl. 115. The candelabrum is catalogued as Galleria dei Candelabri, III, no. 25. A similar candelabrum still exists in S. Agnese, and these candelabra are mentioned in Philander’s comments on the baluster, see below p. 11; they were also admired by Vasari, see Vasari, G., Le Vite de’più Eccellenti Pittori Scultori ed Architettori (ed. Bettarini, R. and Barocchi, P., 1966-), II, 15 .

11 Ibid., pl. 88; catalogued as Galleria dei Candelabri, II, no. 44.

12 For reliefs of double-bulb candelabra and similar motifs, see S. Reinach, op. cit., II, 67, and III, 425; also Bovini, G., I Sarcophagi Paleocristiani (1949), p. 73 .

13 See N. Dacos, La Decouverte de la Domus Aurea et la Formation des Grotesques à la Renaissance (1969).

14 The candlestick is discussed in Krautheimer, R., ‘A Christian Triumph in 1597’, in Essays in the History of Art Presented to Rudolf Wittkower (1967), pp. 174-78. It is known that the candlestick was installed in the church in the late sixteenth century by Cardinal Cesare Baronio who remarked that it was Roman. Although Krautheimer doubts this and believes it to date from the fifteenth century, there are in the church a further six bulbs, identical to the two bulbs constituting the candlestick, but used as table supports and ornamental finials. As some of these are somewhat damaged, it seems likely that all the bulbs have been adapted from larger, presumably Roman candelabra perhaps resembling the S. Agnese candelabra. Tradition holds that the porphyry base of the church pulpit came originally from the nearby Baths of Caracalla, whence the bulbs may also have originated.

15 E. g., G. Lippold, loc. cit., pl. 92. The gabled lid is also a source for the pediments with similar flanking motifs of Florentine tabernacles, portals and wall tombs, see Janson, H. W., 16 Studies (1973), p. 257 .

16 This usage of the urn was known in the Renaissance; they are placed above the pilasters in one of Donatello’s S. Lorenzo pulpits. Legs of Roman furniture, too, can be urn shaped, see Panofsky, E., Tomb Sculpture (1964), fig. 123 .

17 That these were known in the Renaissance can be illustrated by Donatello’s Cantoria, and by the antefixae in Mantegna’s ‘Camera degli Sposi’.

18 See, for example, Brilliant, R., Roman Art from the Republic to Constantine (1974), fig. 11.30 . There are other motifs in Roman or Early Christian art and architecture suggestive of the shape and the usage of the baluster. Bulbs dividing Roman reliefs as, for example, on the arch at Benevento, are like balusters which separate scenes in Renaissance painting, as in Uccello’s Urbino predella; the unusual blocks, in profile like the baluster bulb, above the columns in the crossing of S. Salvatore, Spoleto, are drawn in Francesco di Giorgio’s treatise, Trattati di Architettura, Ingegneria e Arte Militare (ed. Maltese, C., 1967), 1, fol. 16 recto (pl. 27).

19 There are, however, notable exceptions where the baluster form is found, especially in metalwork, see e.g. Braun, J., Der Christliche Altar (1924), 1, pl. 96 . More specific revivals of the form include the all’ antica candelabra above the Coronation of the Virgin relief (c. 1400) in S. Maria del Popolo, Rome, see Cannata, R. et al., Umanismo e Primo Rinascimento in S. Maria del Popolo (1981), ill. 102 , and the colonnettes composed of pairs of bulbs of the baptismal font in Massa Maritima Cathedral, see Salmi, M., Architettura Romanica in Toscana (1927), pl. 274 . The arch supports of the openings in the Carolingian tower of SS. Quattro Coronati, Rome, see Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae, 4 (1970), 34 , may well recall antique prototypes, although none has been suggested; as they are four-faced rather than turned, there is probably no connection between them and Anglo-Saxon ‘balusters’ (see above p. 3). The balusters forming part of the eleventh-century iconostasis in S. Leone, Capena, are likely to belong to the sixteenth-century renovation (inscription).

20 The colonnette is occasionally employed in Antiquity, for example, the mosaic depiction of the palace of Theodoric in S. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna.

21 The ‘balusters’ at St Albans are discussed by H. M., and Taylor, J., Anglo-Saxon Architecture (1965), 11, 528 . Several other examples are mentioned, e.g. at Earls Barton (1, 224) andjarrow (1, 348).

22 For further illustrations of this type of decoration, see M. Salmi, op. cit., and I. Moretti and R. Stopani, Architettura Romanica Religiosa nel Contado Fiorentino (1974). Urn motifs seem related to antique depiction of urns on funerary plaques and reliefs of local origin, see, e.g. Manacorda, D., Un’Officina Lapidaria sulla Via Appia (1979), ills 21, 33.

23 As the crowning finial of thrones, the motif is common in both Florence and Siena, for example, Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna. In Giotto’s Expulsion of Joachim in the Arena Chapel, Padua, similar motifs crown a pulpit.

24 For Siebenhüner, Wittkower and Heydenreich, the ‘baluster’ is a formal motif ‘invented’ by Donatello and later applied to the balustrade. There is no evidence, however, of what Donatello might have called it, or that he ever associated it with the balustrade. Apart from Donatello’s Judith and his Marzocco, Heydenreich has already drawn attention to the ‘balusters’ of Castagno’s Niccolò da Tolentino, some of the sedili at Urbino, and the altar of Cappella Cardini, discussed below.

25 Donatello seems to have been particularly interested by Roman furniture; the throne of his Madonna Enthroned is related to antique chairs, see H. W. Janson, op. cit., p. 262, a Roman chairleg motif appears in his Annunciation tabernacle, see above note 9. Although it is agreed that the large granite baluster-like object until recently supporting thejudith, was not originally intended for this sculpture, its provenance remains uncertain, see L. Heydenreich, op. cit., n. 17. It is mentioned by Vasari who calls it a ‘baluster’, see G. Vasari, op. cit., III, 210, although the possibility that it might be Roman cannot be excluded.

26 It is reasonable to assume that the sedili in the ‘Iole’ rooms of the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, are contemporary with the rest of the decoration in that part of the palace and date from the years around 1460, see Rotondi, P., Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino (1950), pp. 81 ff. Luca della Robbia had already employed a double-bulb motif for the leg of a stool in one of his Cantoria reliefs, c. 1435. See Pope-Hennessy, J., Luca della Robbia (1980), pl. 16 .

27 There may well be a specific Roman model for the socle, such as the funerary urn of Trophimus in Bologna, see S. Reinach, op. cit., III, 7, with its inscription plaque between two handleless urns containing ears of barley.

28 Baluster-like bulbs are occasionally found on the faces, rather than on the lids, of antique funerary artifacts. There are several examples of candelabrum motifs flanking the inscription plaques in the Museo Archeologico, Florence; on either side of the framed plaque of an urn now in the Museo Civico, Perugia, a single bulb supports a putto, Altmann, W., Die Romanischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit (1905), ill. 87 .

29 The thrones in Fra Angelico’s Annalena altarpiece, and that in S. Domenico, Fiesole, have similar finials.

30 There are almost identical candleholders on top of a screen in the courtyard of Palazzo Davanzati, Florence, and around the tabernacle of Or San Michele, Florence.

31 This particular relief was not known in the Renaissance, being only discovered in 1937, see Strong, D., Roman Art (1976), p. 20 ; the candelabrum motif, however, is not uncommon in Roman art, see above n. 28.

32 The general similarity between the cathedral lantern and the top of St Louis’s crozier has already been suggested in Heydenriech, L. and Lotz, W., Architecture in Italy, 1400-1600 (1974), p. 330 , n. 49. In Giuliano da Sangallo’s drawing of the lantern, the pinnacles are represented as being single-bulb candelabrum-like motifs, see Battisti, E., Brunelleschi The Complete Work (1981), ill. 286 .

33 For the choirscreen, see Morelli, G., ‘Brunelleschi e l’Arredo Umanistico di S. Maria del Fiore’, in Filippo Brunelleschi, la sua Opera e il suo Tempo (papers presented at the Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Florence, 1977), 2, pp. 603-33. For Filarete’s illustration, see below, n. 77.

34 For the S. Maria Novella pulpit, see Borsi, F. et al., Brunelleschiani (1979), pp. 251 f. One of Luca della Robbia’s Angels of 1448 carries a candlestick with a double-bulb shaft, see Pope-Hennessy, J., Luca della Robbia (1980), pl. 46 .

35 For the Cappella del Sacro Cingolo screen, see F. Borsi et al., op . cit., p. 333, and Marchini, G., Il Duomo di Prato (1957), pp. 62 ff.

36 Moreover, a row of urns decorates the balcony of Bernardo Rossellino’s Misericordia façade (1433), and there is a row of urn-shaped motifs in the friezes of Brunelleschi’s Cathedral exedrae.

37 For the Cappella Cardini, see F. Borsietal., op. cit. pp. 255 f.

38 Illustratedinj. Braun, op. cit., 1, pl. 22.

39 See, for example, G. M. A. Richter, op. cit., ill. 497; Donatello placed an urn under St Matthew’s chair in the Old Sacristy roundel. A little later,urns themselves were used as the supports for a pair of altars in SS. Annunziata, Florence. In the sequence of chapel altartables in the Osservanza, Siena, some have small piers as supports, while others have double balusters, and, furthermore, whereas beneath one pair there are housings for relics, beneath another there are sculpted urns. The elaborate legs of the altartables in S. Giovannino dei Cavalieri, Florence, of uncertain date, incorporate bulbs similar in shape to the Cappella Cardini supports. See also above n. 16.

40 Another such roundel decorates the floor of the Florentine Baptistry.

41 See de Montigny, A. Grandjean and Famin, E., Architecture Toscane, Recueil des plus beaux tombeaux executes en Italie dans les XV et XVI siècles (1846), ill. 7 . Also published by Preyer, B., ‘The Rucellai Loggia’, in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 21 (1977), 192 .

42 The fresco cycle at Spoleto was executed between 1466 and 1469, see Marchini, G., Filippo Lippi (1975), p. 215 .

43 L. Heydenreich, op. cit., pp. 129 f. The Maiano intarsia is the earliest known example of the rooftop balustrade, later used by Bramante in his Tempietto, and by Raphael in the Palazzo Branconio dall’Aquila. Heydenreich, op. cit., n. 15, also points out the early balusters in Uccello’s Urbino predella, which are also arranged in a row; see above n. 18.

44 For Giuliano da Sangallo’s balustrades, see L. Heydenreich, op. cit., pp. 129 f.

45 For the dating of the ‘Laurana’ parts of the Palazzo Ducale (c. 1470), see P. Rotondi, op. cit., pp. 211 ff. The early balustrades in S. Maria dei Miracoli, Venice (begun 1481), resemble those in Urbino. A specific connection between the two projects is reflected in their use of an uncommon motif — the flaming cannon ball; see McAndrew, J., Venetian Architecture of the Early Renaissance (1980), pp. 552 f.

46 For the dating of the Benediction Loggia, see Heydenreich and Lotz, op. cit., pp. 54 f.

47 In 1464, Pagni di Antonio da Settignano came to Florence to fetch the ‘modello’ of the Benediction Loggia, ibid., p. 55.

48 Ibid., p. 102.

49 Bramante uses the single bulb (several different varieties) for the round window in the ‘Previdari’ engraving, see Bruschi, A., Bramante Architetto (1969), ill. 93 ; there is a similar round window in the sacristy of S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, ibid., ill. 106. The double baluster is employed as a window mullion in the drawing of the Palace of Caesar from the ‘Marcanova’ sketchbook in the Biblioteca Estense, Modena.

50 The baluster is used for a stair railing both in Giuliano da Sangallo’s Palazzo Gondi, and in his Palazzo Delia Rovere, Savona. It appears as a fireplace support in Palazzo Gondi and in Francesco di Giorgio’s treatise, fol. 23 recto (ed. C. Maltese, pl. 41). Francesco’s candlestick in Urbino cathedral incorporates an all’antica bulb, while the common usage of the baluster as the radial strut of a carriage wheel can be illustrated by Mantegna’s Triumph of Caesar series.

51 Other examples are Benedetto da Maiano’s intarsia and Cosimo Rosselli’s Madonna and Child with the Infant St John and Other Saints in the Uffizi.

52 For example, decorating the cinerary urn in Perugia, see above n. 28.

53 Four-faceted double balusters would seem to be related to Roman chairlegs of the same shape, for example, a statuette in the Vatican Museum, G. Lippold, loc. cit., pl. 87 (cat. no., Galleria dei Candelabri, 2, 43) or a relief in R. Brilliant, op. cit., ill. V.23. Sansovino uses the four-faceted double baluster in the cortile of Palazzo Corner, Venice; see below n. 117. The turned double baluster with a connecting block is specifically connected with chairlegs by Sansovino who uses the motif for the chairs of his seated Evangelists in S. Marco, Venice. For Sansovino’s and Palladio’s use of this type of baluster, see R. Wittkower, op. cit., p. 48.

54 There is a probable funerary significance for the single bulb pinnacle, often employed for tombs, such as, for example, in S. Maria del Popolo, Rome, see R. Cannatà et al., op. cit., ills 15, 55, 59, 60, which seem to have been consciously connected with Roman candelabra of the S. Costanza type; likewise the candelabrum-like legs of Riccio’s Delia Torre tomb. See also above n. 19. The motif appears on top of the façade of S. Aurea, Ostia.

55 The sedili in Palazzo SS. Apostoli were kindly pointed out to us by Deborah Brown; as already mentioned above p. 4, single bulb supports are found in even the earliest rooms of the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino.

56 For the Pinturicchio frescoes, see R. Cannatà et al., op. cit., p. 79. These bench sedili are similar to those supported upon double balusters in the Cappella dell’Assunta, Spoleto Cathedral, of about the same date.

57 For Pinturicchio’s fresco, see Carli, E., Il Pinturicchio (1960), pp. 23 ff; it is possible, however, that Pinturicchio’s balusters are merely double balusters which, because of the low viewpoint, are partially obscured by the projecting cornice. Nevertheless, this may have suggested the possibility of the dropped baluster balustrade. For Giovanni da Verona’s intarsia, see Zannandreis, D., Le Vite dei Pittori Scultori ed Architetti Veronesi (1891), p. 64 .

58 For the Renaissance tribune in the basilica at Aquileia, see Venturi, A., Storia dell’Arte Italiana, 8.2 (1924), pp. 517 f. Dropped balusters, upon tall pedestals, also support the lanterns of the external sacristies of the fifteenth-century model for the Pavia Cathedral, see A. Bruschi, op. cit., ill. 121.

59 The pulpit is dated by an inscription.

60 Although Wittkower, op. cit., p. 44, points out the dropped balusters of the top storey of the Cortile, he is ‘unable to explain this strange fact’; Wittkower notes that according to Vasari the façade was begun by Bramante but continued after his death by Raphael, following a new design. Raphael does not use the dropped baluster in any other project, and, while the double balusters of the third storey may be his, Sangallo’s intervention is thus a possibility, although the balusters also resemble the dropped balusters of the Pavia Cathedral model (Bramante?), see above n. 58.

61 Sangallo’s drawing is reproduced in Grimaldi, F., Loreto, Basilica, Santa Casa (1975), ili. 287 ; a number of documents for the balusters survive, see below n. 73.

62 For the Sangallo Model, see Milion, H. and Smyth, C., ‘Michelangelo and St Peter’s: Observations on the Interior of the Apses, a Model of the Apse Vault and Related Drawings.’, in Römisches Jahrbuchfür Kunstgeschichte, 16 (1976), pp. 137 ff. Antonio employs the dropped baluster for balustrades in another project, see Giovannoni, G., Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane (1959), 11, ill. 199 (Uffizi, Dis. Arch. 178).

The dropped baluster-balustrade, however, does not seem to have become particularly popular in Rome or elsewhere until c. 1550, see, for example, the illustrations in C. L. Frommel, Der Römische Palastbau (1973). The garden loggia balustrade of Giulio Romano’s Palazzo del Tè, mentioned by Wittkower, op. cit., n. 10, is not shown on the Strada-Andreasi drawing and is probably a later addition. According to Professor Amedeo Belluzzi (oral communication), the dropped balusters in the vault of the Palazzo del Tè grotto were probably installed in the late sixteenth century. At S. Benedetto Po, the façade balustrade is probably part of the seventeenth-century modification, see Piva, P. and Pavesi, G., ‘Giulio Romano e la Chiesa Abbaziale di Polirone’, in Studi su Giulio Romano (1975), pp. 53 ff. The balustrade in the courtyard of Sansovino’s Villa Garzoni, unfortunately, is not dated.

63 This view, first expressed by Wittkower, op. cit., p. 42, has recently been modified by Joannides, P., ‘Michelangelo, Filippino Lippi and the Half Baluster’, in The Burlington Magazine, 122 (1981), pp. 153 f; Joannides notes Michelangelo’s earlier use of the ‘half baluster’ in the Medici Chapel which he relates to the paired bulbs in the frieze of the architectural background to Filippino Lippi’s St Philip Revealing the Demon in the Strozzi Chapel of S. Maria Novella, Florence (c. 1500). Michelangelo’s bulbs, however, are upside-down, whereas Filippino’s are not, and are probably related to similar motifs in the frieze of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Rome. Although there maybe some connection between the motifs in the Medici and Strozzi chapels — both are paired, it might be pointed out that both are related to Donatello’s paired urns in the frieze of one of the S. Lorenzo pulpits, see also above n. 16. Moreover, Michelangelo had already used the single-bulb form as a candlestick held by his Angel for the Arca di S. Domenico, Bologna (c. 1494). It is certain, however, that neither Michelangelo nor Filippino Lippi invented the dropped baluster. For further discussion of the Medici Chapel, see below p. 15.

64 Wittkower, op. cit., discusses the shape of both dropped and double balusters.

65 One possible reason for the introduction of this type is discussed below pp. 15-16.

66 See Tommaso, N. and Bellini, B., Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (1929), I, p. 841 , and The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1959), 1, p. 141. For the English derivative banister, see ibid., p. 143.

67 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, ed. Rackham, and Jones, (1938-), 23, 60 (see also 13, 34 and 23, 57 ff.). The word is also used by, among others, Columella (10, 297), Dioscorides (1, 154) and Galen (see Opera Omnia (ed. Kühn, C., 1821), XI, 847 ).

68 See Piero de’ Crescenzi, Trattato della Agricoltura (ed. 1805), bk. 2, eh. 9 (vol. 1, p. 89) for balaustra, and bk. 5, ch. 3 (vol. II, p. 67) for balausta. In medical books, the word balaustium was in use until as late as the seventeenth century, see e.g. Gerard, J. and Johnson, T., The Herbal ofGeneral History of Plants (1633), p. 1451 .

69 See Bandirali, M. V., ‘Documenti per Benedetto Ferrini Ingegnere Ducale Sforzesco (1453-79), Arte Lombarda, 60 (1981), 63, n. 118; even if correctly transcribed, the meaning of the word is here in doubt. The tabernacle is to be made for S. Maria del Monte outside Varese.

70 Francesco di Giorgio (ed. C. Maltese) op. cit., 1, fol. 15 verso (pi. 26) and fol. 15 recto (pl. 25). For a brief treatment of the dating of the MSS (before 1482-c. 1500) see Heydenreich and Lotz, op. cit., p. 358, n. 12.

71 Published in Bardazziet, S. al., Santa Maria delle Carceri a Prato (1978), p. 318 .

72 Sagredo, Diego da, Medidas del Romano (Toledo, 1526), chapter entitled ‘Dela Formacion delas colunas dichas monstruosas, candeleros, y balaustres’. For Serlio, see Tutte le Opere d’Architettura et Prospettiva di Sebastiano Serlio (ed. Scamozzi, G. D. 1619), IV, 177 recto; also VII, 108 and 214.

73 For the Medici Tombs, see Ciulich, L. B. and Barocchi, P., Ricordi di Michelangelo (1970), p. 120 ; in another document of the same date, the term ’mezzi balausctri’ is used, ibid., p. 116. For the Santa Casa, see K. Weil-Garris, Santa Casa di Loreto (1977); there is more than one spelling: balautsti (document 791), balaustri (document 813), balaustj (document 816), balausti (document 828).

74 See, for example, G. Vasari (ed. Bettarini and Barocchi), op. cit., III, p. 210, p. 600 and iv. 1, p. 242.

75 It is difficult to draw further conclusions because there are so few references to balusters in published documents: none, for example, in the documents published in C. L. Frommel, op. cit.

76 Filarete’s Treatise on Architecture (ed. J. R. Spencer, 1965); for example, II, fol. 122 recto.

77 Ibid., II, fol. 120 recto, fol. 122 recto; the choir seems to be based upon the octagonal choir once in Florence Cathedral, see above p. 4; the spiral decoration of the bulbs is comparable to the balusters of the Palazzo Gondi staircase, see above p. 6.

78 Francesco di Giorgio (ed. C. Maltese) op. cit., 1, fol. 15 verso (pi. 26): ‘Ancho le cholonne a balaghusti e chandelieri le quali chon gientilezza di magistero molte hornate fero’.

79 For example, ibid., 1, fol. 71 verso (pl. 130). Neither are there any balustrades as opposed to colonnette railings in Francesco’s painting and sculpture.

80 Ibid., i, fol. 23 recto (pl. 41) and fol. 59 recto (pl. 109); compared with the ’cholonna a balausti’, the baluster-shaped gun might be said to be more canonical. Although not a balustrade, a row of ornamental columns with bulging bases is depicted above the peristyle of around temple, ibid., i, fol. 84 recto (pl. 155).

81 Sagredo loc. cit.: ‘con buxetas y vasos antiguos, diversamente formados: cubiertos y vestidos de follageria: y otras labores fantásticas: puestos uno sobre otro: y encima de todos, assientan el balaustre: el qual es no menos ataviado: el vientre de sus hojas antiguas: y el cuello desus estrias, o de otras labores que a proposito le vengan’; translation taken from Llewellyn (op. cit., p. 296), who discusses Sagredo’s chapter in detail.

82 See the passage quoted immediately below.

83 Sagredo, loc. cit.: ‘Ay otros balaustres . . . compuestos de dos baricefalas yguales, enei largo, enei gruesso, enlas molduras,y en todas las otras labores: pegados por los assientos. Este genero de balaustres son mas delgados, mas subtiles, mas largos de cuello, y mas estirado . . .’; translation from Llewellyn, op. cit., p. 296.

84 Vitruvius, On Architecture (ed. Granger, F., 1931), bk. 3, ch. 3 (p. 172); the translation is ours. There is, however, some variation in the texts of Vitruvius available to Renaissance theorists. Although all Renaissance editions agree that this passage begins with the words ‘et ipsarum aedium species sunt’, the main points of difference are as follows: ‘varicae’ appears as ‘barycae’, ‘barycephalae’ is sometimes omitted (see n. 106 below), and in some editions a number of further words are added to Vitruvius’s list.

85 Cesariano, C., DiL. Vitruvio Politone de Architettura (1521), fol. 54 verso; Martin, I. and Goujon, J., Architecture ou Art de Bien Bastir de Marc Vitruve Pollion Autheur Romain Antique (1547), p. 33 ; Barbaro, D., I Dieci Libri dell’Architettura di M. Vitruvio Tradutti et Commentati (1556), p. 76 .

86 As pointed out by Llewellyn, op. cit., p. 295, n. 12, in the fifteenth century the orders were usually referred to simply as Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. However, in Francesco di Giorgio’s treatise, the generic word spezie is used (Francesco di Giorgio, ed. С. Maltese, 11, 376: ‘Ciascuna delle ditte tre spezie [di colonne]. . . ‘). This word closely resembles Vitruvius’s word species. Moreover, although Calvo’s second translation of Vitruvius (c. 1515) reads ‘la spezie di questi templi son baryce, baricephale, cioè basse e large’, a marginal note ‘ordine del tempio areostylo’ suggests that Calvo may have at least thought Vitruvius’s passage to be ambiguous; see Fontana, V. and Morachiello, P., Vitruvio e Raffaello (1975), p. 483 .

87 Giocondo, Fra, M. Vitruvius per locondum Solito CastigatiorFactus,. . . (1511), p. 26 recto. For further discussion of why Fra Giocondo might have called this type of column a ‘barycephala’, see below p. 14.

88 Sagredo, loc. cit.; see also Llewellyn, op. cit., p. 294, n. 4.

89 Sagredo almost certainly visited Italy between 1517 and 1526; for further details, see Llewellyn, N., ‘Diego da Sagredo’s Medidas del Romano and the Vitruvian Tradition’ (unpublished M.Phil, dissertation submitted to the University of London, 1975) pp. 6 ff.

90 Philander, , In Decem Libros M. Vitruvii Pollionis de Architectura Annotationes (Rome, 1544), pp. 66 f: ‘Earn speciem vocat Barycam, Barycephalamque. Verbis his quid significan vellet, videtur mini expressisse, cum inquit (humiles lataeque.) Nam quod plerique omnes ad columnarum formam retulerunt, quas Balustrias, quasi Balaustias vocant (credo a similatudint floris mali punici) no satis vidisse existimo, vel ipso auctore Vitru. qui ait, in Areostylis, aedium species esse Bary cas, Barycephalasque’.

91 Philander, , M. Vitruvii Pollionis de Architectura Libri X . . . (Lyons, 1552), p. 91 : ‘Balaustiorum vero more in imum scapum orbiculate crescentes, sursum versus in summum caput resupinate expansum imminuuntur’. Whether the columns are thought to resemble balusters (balustriae) or pomegranate flowers (balaustiae), is not clear, since in the phrase ‘balaustiorum vero more’ a different word (balaustius/balaustium) is introduced. The complete text of Philander’s longer commentary is published, although not analysed, by Heydenreich, op. cit., p. 125.

92 Ibid. : as in n. 90 above, and: ‘In podiis deformantur columellae veluti duarum obversarum balustriarum, liceat enim mihi hoc nomine tantisper uti, dum melius inveniatur’.

93 Sagredo, loc. cit.; Cesariano and Barbaro produce similar derivations.

94 Rivius, G. H., Vitruvius Teutsch (1548, republished ed. Forssman, E. 1973) pp. 113 f.

95 Sagredo, loc. cit.

96 Serlio, op. cit., 4, p. 177 recto. Although Serlio uses the word ‘parapetto’, the illustration shows it to be a balustrade.

97 Zanini, G. Viola, Della Architettura (1629), p. 360 : ‘Il pulvino di questo capitello, come si è mostrato così e da farsi, che appaia quasi à modo balaustrato, non però s’intenderà, che habbia del balaustro per esser quello, come cosa dura, e fatta senza ragione, se ben alcuni l’hanno fatto, e intagliato à foglie di rovere, non essendo cappaci che questo vocabulo Pulvino significa coscino, che è cosa molle e tenera, e questo avviene dalla lor poca scienza’. For Renaissance architects like Biagio Rossetti, the Ionic pulvin is indeed very like the double baluster.

98 Sagredo, loc. cit.; Philander (1544 and 1552) loc. cit.

99 Apart from the Market of Trajan, Huelsen, C., Il Libro di Giuliano da Sangallo Codice Vaticano Barberiniano Latino 4424 (1910), fol. 5 verso, Giuliano draws the Temple of Portumnus at Porto, fol. 37 recto, and the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, fol. 42 recto, with attached balustrades; the ruinous condition of the buildings depicted might suggest that Giuliano thought his drawings to be genuine partial reconstructions, although there are such purely fanciful details as the circular step platform in front of Trajan’s Market.

100 The drawings are in a copy of Sulpitius’s edition of Vitruvius (1486), conserved in the Biblioteca Corsiniana, (photographs in the Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art).

101 Fra Giocondo, op. cit., p. 28 recto. The round temple in Raphael’s Sacrifice at Lystra tapestry cartoon is crowned with a balustrade, and there is an ancient building with a balustrade in Peruzzi’s Presentation of Mary in S. Maria della Pace, Rome.

102 See, for example, Mandowsky, E. and Mitchell, C., Pirro Ligorio’s Roman Antiquities (1963), ills 25, 26 . Both Antonio da Sangallo and Ligorio make frequent use of the balustrade in their modern buildings.

103 Palladio, A., I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (1570), 11, 31 and 42. There are, however, schematic balustrades depicted on the imagined porticoes attached to the Basilica of Maxentius (iv, 13) and the Temple of Venus and Rome (IV, 37 f).

104 D. Barbaro, op. cit., pp. 85 and 87, 136, 152 and IS3, 169. A circular temple with roof-top balustrade also appears in the preliminary plate, although this was not designed by Palladio.

103 D. Barbaro, op. cit., p. 84. In the Latin version of the Barbaro Vitruvius published in 1567, the phrase ‘concolonelle fatti a Balaustri’ is translated as ’columellis et balaustiis’.

106 Not all Renaissance editions of Vitruvius even include the word barycephalae in the text; in Sulpitius’s, Cesariano’s and Barbaro’s it is omitted although Cesariano and Barbaro discuss it in their commentaries. With regard to the two Calvo translations, it is included in the second but omitted in the first although Calvo adds it as a marginal annotation (Fontana and Morachiello, op. cit., pp. 152 and 483). As Philander notes, in some texts the word urniles (perhaps a corruption of humiles) occurs along with barycephalae; the connection between barycephala and the baluster could have been strengthened if urniles, which resembles the word urnula, was thought to mean ‘urn’ since the baluster and the urn were often regarded as interchangeble ornaments.

107 Llewellyn, op. cit., (1977), p. 297; Sagredo, however, was published in Lisbon (1541), in French in Paris (1539) and in Flemish in Antwerp (1539).

108 C. Cesariano, op. cit., p. 58 verso: ‘. . . vestito di folie sia tanto constricto che facia una imbuitone tumida corno uno botone di rosa vel de uno papaverino scapo aut de uno pomo granato quando ha emisso il flore’; Caporali, G. B., Architettura con il suo Commento et Figure Vetruvio in Volgar Lingua Raportato per G. B. Caporali (1536), p. 84 r : ‘. . .di foglie vestito, gonfiato come un bottone о polzuolo di rosa о di papaverino scapo. O vero d’un pomo granato quando ha fuore messo il fiore’.

109 The flowers, opening 3 and opening 73 (illustrated here); the candelabra, opening 74. The sketchbook is now in the Pierpont Morgan Collection, USA (photographs, the Conway Library of the Courtauld Institute of Art). The candelabra are similar to one drawn by Leonardo, see Pedretti, C., Leonardo Architetto (1978), ill. 176 .

110 The balusters of the balustrade in the Bode Museum, Berlin, illustrated by Heydenreich, op. cit., ill. 14, are ornamented with both simple leaves or petals and stamen-like motifs which give them an appearance very like a pomegranate flower.

111 As suggested by Llewellyn, p. 298, who cites some interesting sixteenth-century representations of the Temple with prominent balustrades. The Biblical references are: 1 Kings 7. 15-22; 1 Kings 7. 41-42; 11 Kings 25. 16-17; n Chronicles 3. 15-17; 11 Chronicles 4. 12-13;jeremiah 52. 20-23.

112 See Onians, J., ‘Style and Decorum in Sixteenth Century Italian Architecture’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis submitted to the University of London, 1968), pp. 205 ff, and Magnusson, T., Studies in Roman Quattrocento Architecture (1958), pp. 351-62 and 55-214.

113 The illustration of the Temple Gate in Luca Pacioli’s De Divina Proportione ( 1509), mentioned by Llewellyn, op. cit., p. 298 n.29, is of particular interest here since double balusters stand directly on top of capitals.

114 See above p. 8 and below p. 15.

115 Also made explicit by Calvo, see above n. 86. Like Heydenreich, op. cit., p. 124, according to Bury, J. B., ‘The Stylistic Term Plateresque’ in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 39 (1976), 215 n. 56 , Fra Giocondo took the word barycephala to mean the baluster columns; these columns, however, are quite different from the real balusters in Fra Giocondo’s stylobata plate, see above p. 12.

116 In the church of S. Maria della Croce, Crema, however, this type of column is used as a large scale order. Examples of the column are even found in the late sixteenth century, for instance, inside Palazzo del Banco di Chiavari, Genoa, see Poleggi, F., Strada Nuova una Lottizzazione del Cinquecento a Genova (1968), ili. 68 .

117 There are similarly used four-faceted balusters in the high-level courtyard loggia of Palazzo Giusti, Vicenza.

118 The sedile, which is in the Duchess’s apartment, is thought by P. Rotondi, op. cit., p. 238, to date from the ‘Laurana’ phase of the Palazzo Ducale (c. 1470). In shape, the supports resemble Francesco di Giorgio’s fireplace supports, see above n. 50.

119 Philander, op. cit. (1552): ‘Quod genus visitar Senis Ethrurum, in officina lapicaedina, id est, ubi ad praecipuae aedis structuram caeduntur et quadrantur saxa’.

120 A preparatory drawing for the choirstalls by II Riccio, with conventional double balusters as alternatives, exists in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena. It is possible that the colonnettes are also related to Roman furniture legs: Peruzzi draws a sarcophagus with couch legs of the same shape, see Frommel, C. L., Baldassare Peruzzi als Maler und Zeichner (1968), ill. 13a.

121 Fra Giocondo, op. cit., p. 33 recto. In the second edition (1513) the mistake is rectified.

122 G. B. Caporali, op. cit., p. 77 verso.

123 de Urrea, M., M. Vitruvio Pollion De Architectura (1582), p. 39 verso.

124 Formerly in S. Trinità.

125 See above n. 120.

126 Apparently entire thrones with legs of this shape were originally intended at this level, see Joannides, P., ‘Michelangelo’s Medici Chapel: Some New Suggestions’, in The Burlington Magazine, 114 (1972), 5481 ff.

Renaissance balusters and the antique

  • Paul Davies and David Hemsoll

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