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The Architecture of A. Palladio

Andrea Palladio's books had a profound influence on Jefferson's architecture; he referred to the Italian architect's classical designs as his "architectural bible."

Palladian theory informed Jefferson's designs for Monticello and the University of Virginia Campus. The classical lines of Palladian architecture blended well, in Jefferson's mind, with the forthright and earnest architecture needed for the fledgling democratic nation.

Most of the books in the Arts chapters in Jefferson's collection were destroyed by the 1851 fire, including his entire architecture section. This copy of Palladio replaces the one Jefferson sold to the nation in 1815.

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580)
The Architecture of A. Palladio; in Four Books. . . . 2 vols. London, 1742.
Rare Books and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (S. 4174) [05.00.00, 05.01.00]

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Volume 2

Andrea Palladio (1508–1580)



Wherein is Treated

Of the Ancient Temples in Rome, and some others to be seen in Italy, and other parts of Europe .

The Whole Revis’d, Design’d, and Publish’d By Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian, Architect to His Most Serene Highness, the Late

Translated from the ITALIAN Original .



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28     The Architecture of A. Palladio.


Of the Pantheon, now call’d the Rotonda.

Of all the Temples which are to be seen in Rome, none is more famous than the Pantheon, at present call’d the * Rotonda; nor indeed that is more intire, seeing it appears almost in its original State, as to what regards the Fabrick, but stript of all it Statues and other Ornaments. According to the opinion of some(a) , it was built by Marcus Agrippa, about the 14th Year of Christ ; but I am apt to believe, that the body of the Temple was erected in the time of the Republick , and that Agrippa only added the Portico to it, which may be concluded from the two frontons in the front of it. This Temple was call’d the Pantheon , either because, after Jupiter, it was consecrated to all the Gods; or, as others will have it, because it bears the figure of the World, or is round. The height of it from the floor to the opening at the top, (whence it receives all its light) is the diameter of its breadth from one Wall to the other: and as People go down to the floor, so anciently they ascended to it by some Steps.  Among the most famous things which we read were in this Temple, was the Statue of Minerva made of Ivory by Phidias ; and another of Venus , which had in its ear for a pendant the one half of that Pearl, whereof Cleopatra dissolv’d the other half, and drunk it at Supper to surpass the liberality of Anthony .  ’Tis said, that this half only of that Pearl was valu’d at 250 thousand Ducats of Gold. This whole Temple was of the Corinthian Order, as well without as within. The Bases are compounded of Attick and Ionick; and the Capitels are wrought with Olive Leaves. The Architraves, Frizes, and Cornices, have very fine Moldings, but otherwise little carving. In the thickness of the Wall are certain void spaces left quite round the Temple, both to preserve it the better against Earthquakes, and also to save expence and materials. This Temple has a most beautiful Portico in front, in whose Frize may be read these words:

M. Agrippa. L. F. Cos. III. fecit.

Under which, that is, in the Fasicas of the Architrave, is this other Inscription in smaller Letters, which shows that the Emperors Septimius Severus and Marcus Aurelis repair’d this Temple consum’d with Age.

Imp. Caes. Septimius. Severus. Pius. Pertinax
Arabicus. Parthicus. Pontif. Max. Trib. Pot.
XI Cos. III. P.P. Pros. Et. Imp. Caes. Marcus
Aurelius. Antonius. Pius. Felix. Aug. Trib.
Pot. V. Cos. Procos. Pantheum vetustate. (consumtum)
Cum. Omni. Cultu. restituerunt.

In the thickness of the Wall within the Temple are seven Chapels with Niches, in which there must have been Statues of course; and between one Chapel and another there is a Tabernacle, so that there are eight Tabernacles in all.


* Plate LV.

(a) I am of opinion that Agrippa built all this Temple; my reason is, because his Thermæ do join so well with the Building.

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Chapter 20.  Of the Pantheon, now call’d the Rotonda.             29

Many will have it(a) , that the Chapel in the middle over against the Entry is not ancient, because its Arch breaks into some of the Columns of the second Order; but that in the Christian times since Pope Boniface , who first dedicated this Temple to our divine Worship, this Chapel is added, as becomes Christian Churches, to have one principal Altar, greater than the rest. Since I perceive nevertheless, that it agrees with the rest of the work perfectly well, and that it has all its Members excellently finish’d, I hold it for certain that it was made, at the same time with the rest of the Temple. This Chapel has two Columns, that is, one of a side, which project out, and are fluted; the space between one Groove and another being cabled and curiously finished.

The Stairs mark’d in the Plan on each side the Entry lead over the Chapels in a secret passage, which goes quite round the Temple, and by which one goes out to the Steps, in order to ascend to the top of the Edifice, by other Stairs that are round it. That part of an Edifice, which is seen behind the Temple, and mark’d M, is part of the Baths of Agrippa.

* Half of the fore-front.
† Half of the front under the Portico.

This Temple(b), as may be seen in these two draughts, has two Frontispieces; the one in the Portico, the other Wall of the Temple. Where you see the Letter A, there are certain Stones jutting out of the Wall, which I cannot imagine what they serv’d for. The joists of the Portico are all made of Tables of Copper.

** The elevation in flank of all the outside.
B. The second Cornice, that surrounds the whole Temple.
†† The elevation in flank of the inside of the Portico.
*** The Ornaments of the Portico at large.

A. The Base.
B. The Capitel.
C. The Architrave, Frize, and Cornice.
D. The molding of the Ornaments made over the Columns, and the Pilasters on the inside of the Portico.
E. The Plan of the Pilasters of the Portico, corresponding to the Columns.
F. The turning of the Caulicoles of the Capitels.
G. The Soffita of the Architrave between the Columns.
H. The Architrave, Frize, and Cornice of the Door.
I. The Festoons which adorn the side of the Door.

††† Part of the Elevation of the inside over against the Entry, where is seen how the Chapels and Tabernacles are disposed, and with what Ornaments: as also how the Squares are comparted in the Vaults, which that they were adorn’d with Plates of Silver, is very probable by certain Vestiges remaining there: for if such Ornaments had been of Bronze, they would not doubtless have been taken away, no more than those which, as I have said before, are in the Portico.
**** A Large design of one of the Tabernacles in front, with part of the Chapels by it.
†††† The Ornaments of the Columns and Pilasters on the inside of the Temple.

A. The Base.
B. The Capitel.
C. The Architrave.
D. The Frize.
E. The Cornice,

Vol. II. H

* Plate LVI.   † Plate LVII.     ** Plate LVIII.   †† Plate LIX.    *** Plate LX.    ††† Plate LXI.   **** Plate LXII.   †††† Plate LXIII.

(a) Rome , in the Year 1614. This Chapel must needs be antique, and I wonder there should be any doubt made of it.
(b) This Temple I observed exactly the latter end of May 1614, and I have noted what I found more in it, than is in Palladio . He imitated this Portico in the Temple of Jove, as he call’d it, Plate XXVIII.

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30     The Architecture of A. Palladio.

F. The turning of the Caulicoles of the Capitels.
G. The fluting of the Pilasters.
H. A Scale of three foot divided into 144 parts, with which the said Ornaments have been measured.

* The Ornaments of the Tabernacles, which are between the Chapels, and in which may be remark’d the excellent judgment of the Architect, who, in the Architrave, Frize and Cornice of these Tabernacles, because the Pilasters of the Chapels were not so far out of the Wall as to be able to receive the whole Projecture of this Cornice, has made only a large Ogee or Gula recta, and the remainder of the Members he converted into a Fascia.

A. The Embasement.
B. The Base.
C. The Capitel.
D. The Architrave.
E. The Frize.
F. The Cornice.
G. A Scale of three foot divided into 144 parts.

AND with this Temple let us make an end of the Draughts of the Temples which are in Rome.


Of the Draughts of some Temples that are out of Rome, or in other parts of Italy; and the first of the Temples of Bacchus.

Without St.Agnes Gate at present so named, but by the Ancients call’d theViminal Gate, from MountViminalis on which it stands, may be seen pretty intire the Temple† that follows, and which is now dedicated to St.Agnes. I am of opinion it was a burying place, because there was found in it a very large Coffin of Porphyry, finely carv’d with Vines, and little Children gathering the Grapes. This has led some People to believe, that it was the Temple of Bacchus. Wherefore, since this is the common opinion, and that it serves now for a Church, I have plac’d it among the Temples. Before the Portico of it may be seen the Vestiges of a Court which was of an Oval Form, and which I fancy was adorn’d with Columns; as well as that in the Intercolumnation there were Niches, wherein stood the Statues of the same. The Gallery of this Temple, by what can be seen of it, was made with Pilasters, and consisted of three voids. In the inner part of the Temple, the Columns which supported the Cupola were placed two by two. All these Columns are of Granate, and the Bases, Capitels, and Cornices are of Marble. The Bases are after the Attick manner, the Capitels are very fine and the Composite Order, having some Foliage that proceed on each side from the Roses, and that add much Grace to the Volutas. The Architrave, Frize and Cornice, are not extraordinary well wrought, which persuades me that this Temple was not built in the good times, but rather under some of the late Emperors. It is inrich’d with much Work and various Compartments, partly of fine Stones, and partly of Mosaic, as well in the Floor, as in the Walls and Arches.

**  The Elevation of the outside of the Temple.
†† Shows how the Columns are order’d to support the Cupola.

A. The*

Plate LXIV.   Plate LXV. ** Plate LXVI.  †† Plate LXVII.

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Chap. 22, 23.          Of the Temple of Bacchus. Vesta. &c . 31

A. The Base.
B. The Capitel.
C. The Architrave, Frize, and Cornice.
D. The Springing of the Arches.
E. A Scale of two foot divided into 96 parts, with which the said parts are measur’d.


Of the Temple whose Vestiges are seen near St. Sebastian’s Church on the Appian Way.

Without St. Sebastian’s Gate, which in old times was call’d the Appian Gate (from that most famous Way, which, with such wonderful art and prodigious expence, was made by Appius Claudius ) are seen the Vestiges of the following Edifice*, near to the said Church of St. Sebastian . As far as may be conjectur’d, it was wholly built of Brick.  A part of the Galleries that surrounded the Court is yet standing. The Entry in the said Court had double Galleries; and on the one side and the other of this Entry there were Chambers, which must have been for the use of the Priests. The Temple was in the middle of the Court: and that part of it which is now seen standing above Ground, and upon which was the floor of the Temple, is most solid Work, having no light but from the Doors, and from six little Windows that are in the Niches; for which reason it is somewhat obscure, as are almost all the ancient Temples. Before the front of this Temple, right over the Entry of the Court, are the Foundations of the Portico; but the Columns are now taken away: I have nevertheless represented them in the same dimensions and distances, which they must have had, as may be known by the said Foundations.

A. The Plan of the Temple and Portico under the Area.
B. The Floor or Area of the Temple and Portico under the said Area.
C. The angular Pilasters of the Court at large.
D. The other Pilasters that make the Galleries round the Court.


Of the Temple of Vesta.

At Tivoli , distant from Rome sixteen Miles, upon the fall of the River Anien , now call’d Teverone , is seen the following round(a) Temple†, which the Inhabitants of those places say was the habitation of the Tiburtin Sibyl . But this opinion is without any foundation: and therefore, for the reasons given above, I believe this Temple was dedicated to Vesta . It is of the Corinthian Order. The Intercolumnations are of two diameters. The floor is raised from the ground the third part of the length of the Columns. The Bases have no Zocco, to the end the walking place under the Portico should be more ample and easy. The Columns are just as long as the Nave is large: and they incline

* Plate LXVIII.   †Plate LXIX.


(a) I saw this Temple, June 13, 1614. and there remains some of it still. Entirely half the Portico and the Arch of the Cell is gone. This Temple is not of Marble, but only the Columns, and they are well wrought. The Capitels were of Oak-Leaves, as I think; also under it is a great Sfondati, and greater than in some other Buildings. The Walls of the Cell without and within, have been covered with Stucco.

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32     The Architecture of A. Palladio.

[in]cline towards the Wall of the Nave in such a manner, that the naked at the top of the Columns falls perpendicularly upon the naked of the bottom of their shaft, towards the inside. The Capitels are excellently well done, and wrought with Olive Leaves; whence I conclude that this Temple was built in the good times. The Door and the Windows are narrower at the top than at the bottom, as Vitruvius directs should be done in the sixth Chapter of his fourth Book. This whole Temple is of Tiburtin Stone, cover’d with most fine Stone, which make it seem all of Marble.

*The Elevation of the outside and inside of the Temple.
†The Members of the Portico and Cornice at large.

A.The Basement that goes round all the Temple.
B. The Base of the Columns.
C. The Capitel.
D. The Architrave, Frize, and Cornice.
E. The Soffita of the Portico.
F. A Vault that goes round the Portico.
G. A Scale of three foot divided into 144 parts.
H. The Ornaments of Frize round the Temple.

**  The Ornaments of the Door and Windows.

A. The Ornaments of the Door.
B. The Ornaments of the Windows on the outside.
C. The Ornaments of the Windows on the inside.
D. A Scale of two foot divided into 96 parts.

The Fascias of the Ornaments of the Door and the Windows are different from those that are usually made.

The Astragals, which under the Cimafiums, project beyond them, which is a thing I have not seen in the other Ornaments.


Of the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

In a very fine part of the City of Naples , below the Square of the Palace and the Vicaria , is seen the Portico of a Temple†† built and consecrated to Castor and Pollux by Tiberius Julius Tarsus , and by Pelago the freed-man of Augustus , as it appears by its Inscription in the following Greek letters.


That is in Latin,


Which words signify that Tiberius Julius Caesar begun to build this Temple, and the things in the same, to the Sons of Jupiter (meaning Castor and Pollux)


* Plate LXX.   † Plate LXXI. ** Plate LXXXII.  †† Plate LXXIII.

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Chap. 25.         Of the Temple which is below Trevi.              33

And to the City: and that Pelago the Freedman and Commissary of Augustus finish’d it with his Money, and consecrated it. This Portico is of the Corinthian Order. The Intercolumnations are more than a diameter and a half, but come not to two diameters. The Bases are made after the Attick manner. The Capitels are carv’d with Olive Leaves, and most diligently wrought. Very fine is the invention of the Stalks or Caulicoles which are under the Rose, and which are knotted together: They issue out of the Foliage, which in the upper part, cover the other Stalks that support the Horns of the Capitel. From this instance therefore, no less than from several others scatter’d up and down this Book, it is evident that an Architect is not restrain’d departing sometimes from common methods or usage, provided such variation be agreeable and natural. There is carv’d in the Fronton a Sacrifice in Basso-relievo, by the hand of a most excellent Sculptor. Some will have it that there were two Temples in this place, the one round, and the other square. There remans no trace of the round one, and the square one is in my opinion modern: Wherefore, without meddling with the body of the Temple, I have only in the first draught given the upright of the front of the Portico.

*The particular Members at large.

A. The Base.
B. The Capitel.
C. The Architrave, Frize, and Cornice.
D. A Scale of four Foot divided into 192 parts.


Of the Temple which is below Trevi.

Between Fuligno and Spoleti, below Trevi , stands the little (a)Temple†, to which belong the following Draughts. The Basement that supports it is eight foot and a half high; to which height one ascends by Steps which proceed from the sides of the Portico, and which end in two small Porticos, that issue out of the remainder of this Temple. The prospect of it is Prostylos , and the Columns set very close. The Chapel which over against the Entry of the nave, has mighty fine Ornaments, and the fluting of the Columns is Spiral: These Columns, as well as those of the Porticos, are of the Corinthian Order, and delicately wrought, with a curous variety of Intaglias. By this Temple therefore, and by all the other Temples, what I said in the first Book appears to be manifestly true; which is, that the Ancients in such sort of Edifices, and particularly the smallest, used very great diligence and exactness in polishing every part, and setting them off with all the Ornaments possible, provided they were natural and graceful: Whereas in the great Fabricks, such as Amphitheatres and the like, they only polish’d certain parts, leaving the remainder rough, to avoid both the expence and the time that would be requisite to polish all; as shall by seen in my Book of Amphitheatres, which I hope to publish speedily.

A. The Plan of the Body of the Temple.
B. The Plan of the Portico.
C. The Plan under the Embasement of the Portico.

VOL. II.             I

D. The

* Plate LXXIV. † Plate LXXV.

(a) Of this Temple a pretty deal is entire: The two Roofs of the little Porticos on the side stand up, the Statues have been taken away. I saw this Temple June, 16, 1614. I imagine the Frontispiece of this Temple to be modern, by reason of the Inscription in the Freeze of it. This Temple is all of Marble.

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Pantheon. Plate LV.

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Pantheon. Plate LVI, Half of the fore-front.

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Pantheon. Plate LVII, Half of the front under the Portico.

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Pantheon. Plate LXI, Part of the Elevation of the inside over against the Entry.

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Temple of Bacchus. Plate LXVI, Elevation of the outside of the Temple.

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Temple of Vesta. Plate LXIX.

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Temple of Vesta. Plate LXX, Elevation of the outside and inside of the Temple.

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