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Rustication

Posted on Mar 1, 2009 | 2 comments

Ciao tutti, I’m back after a couple days break from posting. The opening went well, smaller than last time but with a nice group of people. The weather has been fantastic the past few days, with glimpses of spring, which is bringing more people outside. Now, on to the photo!

I took this on the same evening as the Bar Campidoglio and Turtle Fountain photos. It shows the detail of a doorway on an apartment building near the Jewish Ghetto. This type of deep stone cut masonry is called rustication. This technique was very popular during the Italian Renaissance, especially in Florence. The Palazzo Medici-Riccardi and Palazzo Strozzi, both in Florence, are prime architectural examples of the technique. If you’ve visited Italy, most likely you’ve seen rustication a million times and probably haven’t thought too much of it. The rough blocks of stone contrast against the smoother masonry of the overall building and the technique was originally used to give an imposing and fortified look to the ground floor of palazzi. You’ll find the technique most used to frame doorways, like this photo, and on the corners of buildings, though sometimes entire facades were rusticated. The technique continued in popularity throughout the Renaissance and into the Mannerist and Baroque periods, where the rustication sometimes became exaggerated, making it an even more spectacular architectural feature. Walk through Rome and you’ll see rustication on many many buildings, so many that it seems common, but remember that it wasn’t something that came into “fashion” until the 15th century. Ontario Architecture has a nice page with different takes on rustication from Italy to England, where the technique was used frequently by Inigo Jones.

2 Comments

  1. thanks for the compact art history class. YOu should do this more often. It’s the best way to learn about our cities

  2. I know! Sometimes I take it for granted because that’s what I’ve been studying for so long.

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