Pitti Palace and Boboli garden, Florence

In 1558, Cosimo de Medici asked Bartolomeo Ammanati to improve upon his purchased Pitti Palace. Construction would last through 1570, and several important ideas came into fruition. Ammananti was by trade a sculptor and an architect, we have seen his work in the Laurentian Library and the Villa Giulia. With Pitta Palace, Ammanati expanded the block with arms in the rear toward the garden, making a stronger imposition. The garden itself is laid axially on the slope of a steep hill. It has taken on a more formal design, while also incorporating some of the native wilderness in the area. By putting these elements together, Ammanati has moved forward in the direction of a park environment.
The facade is typical of other Palazzo's we've seen, there are no orders, rusticated throughout, and it maintains certain Renaissance rules. The courtyard facade, however, is entirely different and unexpected. First of all, the courtyard has a sense of being sunk in while the hulking arms tower over. This sets the stage for the usual Mannerist playfulness. In the back there are now orders, but they are quite surreal. Ammanati gives us superimposition, his own version. There are three different orders, and the capitals are clearly representative. However, the columns themselves are sculptural, with a feeling of rippling under the surface and projecting out 3 dimensionally. The stories are heavily rusticated, this works in two ways, it offers plasticity and also contrasts the columns in a gesture of anti-classicization. Also notable here, the articulation of voussoirs. The entablature is serving two functions simultaneously, creating a sculptural sense of animation.

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