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Golden Proportions in a Great House: Palladio’s Villa Emo

  • Rachel Fletcher
Chapter

Abstract

Palladio created two distinct versions of Villa Emo at Fanzolo, the plan published in I quattro libri and the constructed villa that survives to this day. In both, harmony appears mathematically in the dimensions. The published plan is measured in Vicentine feet and is comprised of whole number measures that have been identified as among the terms of musical harmonies. Meanwhile, a geometric analysis based on a 1972 survey of the constructed Villa Emo reveals a plan of the central block that is not perfectly square, but proportioned to a circle that inscribes two smaller squares. Subsequent room dimensions and passageways follow in golden mean progression. The placement of doors and fireplaces derives from a regular pentagon whose base is drawn on the front edge of the portico. While proportions derived from other geometric shapes are also present, the golden mean also appears to dominate the front elevation.

Keywords

Golden Section Golden Ratio Central Block Dine Room Regular Pentagon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

The author wishes to thank Count Leonardo Marco Emo Capodilista and Caroline Emo who generously opened the doors of Villa Emo and shared their family history. The original article has been revised to include new information about the villa and family genealogy and to recognize and address challenges to the author’s premise made by Lionel March in “Palladio ’s Villa Emo: The Golden Proportion Hypothesis Rebutted” (March 2001). Alexander Skillman, assisted by Samuel B. Seigle, reviewed and contributed to the etymologies of mathematical terms.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York School of Interior DesignNew YorkUSA

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