The Villas Of Palladio
The perfect book for architects, travelers, and lovers of Italy and Palladio’s architecture.
The Renaissance architect and builder Andrea Palladio is arguably the most influential architect in Western history, and certainly the most beloved. His sixteenth-century villas in the Italian Veneto revolutionized the course of architecture, and the principles on which he based his work are still used today.
For the past several years, Italian water colorist Giovanni Giaconi has devoted his talents to creating exquisite large-format pen-and-ink watercolor renderings of all thirty-two of Palladio’s villas. Each drawing captures the timeless beauty of Palladian architecture and provides a detailed record of these masterpieces.
Giaconi’s choice to represent the villas through a portrait of their facade rather than as an object in perspective reflects a particular tradition in the representation of architecture – a tradition that has a notable influence on Palladio’s own craftsmanship as well as on his architecture.
The treatment of depth in Giaconi’s watercolors is exceptionally effective in allowing us to perceive the villas as three – dimensional objects in spite of their two – dimensional representation. Shadow plays an important role here.
The use of light in the watercolors is as important as his use of shadow; his drawings capture the remarkable light of the Veneto that models the forms of the villas, which are shown with their doors open, as though inviting us to enter.
Where the central halls run from the front to the back of the villas, both doors are open, allowing us the view of the clear blue sky beyond, a reminder of the villa’s country settings.
Together with brief descriptions of each villa, samples of Giaconi’s preparatory sketches, and Palladio’s own woodcuts, these works of art leave a deep impression of Palladio’s oeuvre and give the reader an opportunity to compare the original designs with the actual buildings and their present state of conservation.
All drawings and watercolors were made between 1995 and 2002.
Giovanni Giaconi is an artist and designer Living in Vicenza. Kim Williams is an architect living outside of Florence.