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The US Congress: 'Palladio, the Father of American Architecture'


Palladio certainly needs no introduction or epithets. For us, it is synonymous with architecture. But apparently not just for us. He's so famous for his greatness, even overseas, that the One Hundred Eleventh Congress of the United States of America called him the «Father of American Architecture». This is also due to the fact that «the architectural monuments in the USA, which were directly or indirectly inspired by Palladio's writings, illustrations and projects, form a large and invaluable part of the cultural heritage of the Nation» and that The Four Books of Architecture provided inspiration for many of the great American classical buildings of the nineteenth and twentieh centuries, the period known as the American Renaissance». Among these buildings, we can mention the White House (1793-1800) by James Hoban, the villa of Monticello (Charlottesville, Virginia) the estate of Thomas Jefferson (the third president of the USA), designed by himself; the «John A. Wilson Building», the seat of the government of the District of Columbia.



The White House (Washington DC)

Thanks to the Concurrent Resolution 259, unanimously voted by the House and the Senate, the Congress issued a statement of principles about the gratitude to the Italian culture, especially to Palladio, the author of Villa Capra in Vicenza (also known as «la Rotonda»), of Villa «Malcontenta» in Mira, of Venetian churches, such as Redentore and S. Giorgio Maggiore, and of Villa Barbaro in Maser (Treviso), where he died on August 19th, 1580. Through this authoritative document the Congress dealt with nationally interesting topics without legislative purpose.
This resolution acknowledged unequivocally the fundamental role for the dissemination of Palladio's works over the world, by means of the Comitato Nazionale Palladio 500 (the National Committee for Andrea Palladio 500) and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio (Palladio International Center for the Study of Architecture), in Vicenza. This document was officially presented during a press conference, in the seat of the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, where the Italian Cultural Institute in the USA and various American Institutions were present. The process that led to the drafting of this historic document involved Italian and foreign curators of the exhibition «Palladio 500» that has been touring the world. This resolution was introduced by Bill Pascrell, a democratic deputy of New Jersey, together with Mike Enzi, a republican senator of Wyoming, and with the support of Giulio Terzi, the Italian ambassador in Washington.
In the introduction, the Concurrent Resolution 259 traces his life and works: «Whereas 2008 was the 500th anniversary of the birth year of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio»; (...) «Whereas Andrea Palladio was born Andrea di Pietro on November 30, 1508»; (...) «Whereas Palladio, born of humble origins, apprenticed as a stonemason in his early life»; (...) «Whereas under the patronage Count Giangiorgio Trissino (1478-1550), Palladio studied architecture, engineering, topography and military science in his mid-twenties»; (...) «Whereas in 1540, Count Trissino renamed him "Palladio", a reference to the wisdom of Pallas Atena, as well as the Italian form of the name of the Roman writer of the fourth century, Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius»; (...) «Whereas Palladio's designs for public works, churches, mansions and villas rank among the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Italian Renaissance»; (...) «Whereas Palladio's surviving buildings are collectively included in the UNESCO World Heritage List»; (...) «Whereas Palladio's treatise, "The Four Books on Architecture", ranks as the most influential publication on architecture ever produced and has shaped much of the architectural image of Western civilization»; (...) «Whereas Thomas Jefferson called Palladio's "The Four Books of Architecture" the "Bible"for architectural practice, and employed Palladio's principles in establishing lasting standards for public architecture in the United States and in constructing his own masterpiece, Monticello»; (...) «Whereas our Nation's most iconic buildings, including the United States Capitol Building and the White House, reflect the influence of Palladio's architecture through the Anglo-Palladian movement, which flourished in the 18th century».
Great satisfaction was expressed by Amalia Sartori, the Chairman of the Celebrations Committee and of "Palladio International Center for the Study of Architecture" CISA: «I do not think there are many precedents for similar recognitions to the Italian art, by the United States Congress».
According to Achille Varati, the mayor of Vicenza, «this event will mark a turning point for Vicenza, which tends to be a narrow minded town, and will thus give it an opportunity to open to the world».

Translation by Dr. Chiara Botteon - Translator & Tour Guide

traduzione offerta dalla dott.ssa Chiara Botteon
Traduttore & Accompagnatore Turistico

Per info, contatti e traduzioni: mail@marcadoc.it

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