Leon Battista Alberti & Victor Marie Hugo

4 April 2015
Compares critical & aesthetic philosophies of architecture of 15th Cent. Renaissance Italian architect & 19th Cent. Romantic French novelist.

Though both Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) and Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885) looked to the past for examples for contemporary architecture, they approached the problem in a completely different spirit. Where Alberti, the Renaissance architect and theorist, wished to impose greater rationality on architecture, and on the disorder of the Medieval city, Hugo, the Romantic novelist, saw a need to remain true to the organic, homogeneous nature of the city of the Middle Ages. The two men were similar in their perception of the Medieval city as an example of uncontrolled growth. But they placed an entirely different value on this fact. Anthony Blunt’s remark about Renaissance classicism sums up this difference: in architecture the revival of Roman forms was used to create a style which answered to the demands of human reason rather than to the more..

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