Drawing Out Meaning

16th and 17th-century architecture: Andrea Palladio

Conjectural reconstruction of the Baths of Trajan, Rome

Conjectural reconstruction of the Baths of Trajan, Rome, 1540s
Artist: Andrea Palladio
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


Andrea Palladio's Renaissance architectural treatise, 'I Quattro Libri', or 'The Four Books of Architecture', has had an important impact on generations of architects since its publication in 1570. The publication is filled with woodcut illustrations of ancient architecture and Palladio's own designs. To create the images, Palladio first executed detailed elevations and sections on paper with iron gall ink. These drawings were simplified and made into woodcuts for mass production.

Inigo Jones and Lord Burlington brought Palladianism to 17th and 18th-century Britain where it became the dominant architectural style of new building in London. One of a series of Palladio's remarkably detailed drawings of Roman imperial baths, Burlington bought this drawing in the early 18th century.


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