A Monopteros temple

Monopteros temple, X/4


Monopteros temple

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A Monopteros temple, a design for Barbaro's Vitruvius.

Andrea Palladio (c.1550)

RIBA Library Drawings Collection

Plate from Barbaro's Vitruvius

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Daniele Barbaro. I Dieci libri dell' architettura di M. Vitruvio / tradutti et commentati da Monsignor Barbaro (Venice, 1556), p. 125

British Architectural Library


Palladio provided the illustrations for the plates in Daniele Barbaro's translation and commentary on Vitruvius, published in 1556. Barbaro was a good friend of Palladio's and his family was one of his most important patrons.

The example shown above is one of these: the plan and elevation of a monopteros temple; the plate itself can be seen in the image on the right. A monopteros temple is roofed and has a single ring of columns, and no inner room for a shrine or statue.

Along with producing the drawings to illustrate Vitruvius's ideas, Palladio suggested textual amendments, as can be seen in his writing here.

Vitruvius's De Archittura, probably written about 25BC, is the only known contemporary source for the understanding of classical architecture. His ten books, rediscovered during the Renaissance, influenced a generation of classical architects. Palladio was foremost amongst these, applying Vitruvius's building methods in his own work. His illustrations for Daniele Barbaro's commentary are thought to be among the clearest depictions of Vitruvius's ideas.