Italy's Renaissance 07: Urbino cover

Italy's Renaissance 07: Urbino

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Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro. It is notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico III da Montefeltro, the duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482. We'll explore the Palazzo Ducale and the Duomo di Urbino, and learn about Duke Federico III da Montefeltro. Quiz question at the end to lock in your new knowledge!





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Italy's Renaissance 07: Urbino

Urbino

Learning Objective

1) Name the architectural achievement that made Urbino such an important center of Renaissance culture in the 15th century

Terms

Urbino A historic walled-town in the Marche, Italy.

Duke Federico III da Montefeltro

Federico III da Montefeltro (1422 – 1482), was one of the most successful condottieri* of the Italian Renaissance, and lord of Urbino from 1444 (as Duke from 1474) until his death.

*Condottieri (singular condottiero and condottiere) were the leaders (or warlords) of the professional, military free companies (or mercenaries) contracted by the Italian city-states and the Papacy, from the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance.

Urbino

Urbino

Panorama with Palazzo Ducale & Duomo

The walled city of Urbino was a crucial center of cultural activity during the Renaissance.

Image Courtesy Zyance

(CC BY-SA 2.5)

Key Points

1) Duke Federico III da Montefeltro commissioned the construction of the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the Duomo diUrbino, and was a significant patron of the arts during the Renaissance.

2) The Galleria Nazionale delle Marche is one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world, and resides in the Ducal Palace.

3) No single architect is credited with designing Palazzo Ducale, though many of the most impressive features of this structure are attributed to Luciano Laurana.

Urbino's History

Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro. It is notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture,

especially under the patronage of Federico III da Montefeltro, who was the duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482.

It hosts the University of Urbino, founded in 1506, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Urbino. Its best-known architectural piece is the Palazzo Ducale, rebuilt by Luciano Laurana .

Palazzo Ducale

The construction of the Ducal Palace was begun for Duke Federico III da Montefeltro around the mid-15th century by the Florentine Maso di Bartolomeo.

Luciano Laurana, an architect from Dalmatia who had been influenced by Brunelleschi's cloisters in Florence, designed the façade, the famous courtyard, and the great entrance staircase.

Laurana's light, almost delicate arcaded courtyard at Urbino rivals that of the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome as the finest of the Renaissance.

Duke Federico III da Montefeltro

Duke Federico III da Montefeltro

Duke Federico III da Montefeltro was a major patron of Renaissance culture in Urbino.

Federico lost his nasal bridge and his right eye at a tournament accident.

Public Domain Image

The Ideal Princely Dwelling

The irregular massing of architecture was necessary to overcome the challenges of the cliff like site. From the 1460s onwards,

Laurana created what contemporaries considered the ideal princely dwelling. Many of the refined Early Renaissance carved details are so similar to features in paintings by Piero della Francesca that scholars have debated his possible input in the execution of Laurana's plan.

After Laurana's departure from Urbino in 1472, works were continued by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who was mainly responsible for the façade decoration. The portals and the window sculptures were executed by the Milanese Ambrogio Barocci, who was also the decorator of the interior rooms.

Richly Sculptured

In high, plainly stuccoed rooms the richly sculptured doorways, chimneys, and friezes created by Barocci, Domenico Rosselli, and their workshops stand out.

After the death of Duke Federico (1482), the construction was left partially unfinished. The second floor was added in the first half of the following century by Girolamo Genga.

The Palazzo Ducale houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world. It is also famous as the setting of the conversations Baldassare Castiglione represents as having taken place in the Hall of Vigils in 1507 in his Book of the Courtier.

Duomo di Urbino

Duomo di Urbino

The Duomo di Urbino is the main church of the city and cathedral of Urbino.

(CC BY-SA 1.0)

Duomo di Urbino

The Duomo di Urbino, the cathedral of Urbino, was founded in 1021 and rebuilt in the 15th century; the rebuilding was commissioned by the duke of the period, Federico III.

However, the cathedral was not completed until 1604. The Duomo, which had a simple plan with a nave and two aisles, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1789.

The church was again rebuilt by the Roman architect Giuseppe Valadier. This rebuilding effort wasn't completed until 1801. The current church has a typical neo-classicist appearance, with a majestic dome. It houses a San Sebastian painting from 1557, an Assumption by Carlo Maratta (1701), and the famous Last Supper by Federico Barocci (1603–1608). Beyond the limits of the city is the Church of San Bernardino, housing the tombs of the Dukes of Urbino.

Question 1

Many of the details found in the Ducal Palace in Urbino are thought to be based on features in the paintings of:

A Piero della Francesca

B Francesco di Giorgio Martini

C Ambrogio Barocci

D Baldassare Castiglione

Answers

A Piero della Francesca

Originally posted to Boundless

Pictures and Titles Added

(CC BY-SA 4.0)