The Emulation of Antiquity: Designing Renaissance Buildings from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo

Although Italian Renaissance architecture has been much explored, the historical development of its key animating principle, the revival of classical Antiquity, has never been comprehensively analysed.

In modern scholarship this is usually presented as an unquestionable axiom, and is often over-simplified or misunderstood. This project re-examines Renaissance architecture’s engagement with the ancient past, explaining with unprecedented precision the distinctive strategies and imitative practices followed by successive architects, shedding new light on architecture’s evolution between 1400 and 1550 and providing the foundation for an enriched understanding and revised interpretation of this seminal period in European culture. The book will cover the periods usually referred to as the Early and High Renaissance, and will be focused on the works of a series of major figures working in Florence, Rome and elsewhere, including Brunelleschi, Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo.

The project will lead to a book-length study that is due to be published by Yale University Press. 

Dr David Hemsoll