PALAZZO DELLA CANCELLERIA     (for italian version click here)

This building was started up for Cardinal Riario and afterwards occupied from the apostolic "Chancellery".
It seems it was planned and mostly ended between 1486 and 1496. The building shows traces of Alberti's influence. Tradition used to attribute it to Bramante, probably for its elegance but Bramante was supposed to arrive in Rome only in 1499-1500, therefore there is no doubt that the basic architectonic features of the "Palazzo della Cancelleria" were fixed long before.
The extremely long facade is composed of a tall base on which raise two floors, cadenced by a double track rythm of pilaster strips.
Analogies with "Palazzo Rucellai" are evident, but the shrewdnesses used in the proportions of "Palazzo della Cancelleria" mark an improvement in comparison with the dull copy carried out by Rossellino in Pienza. The Horizontal Division in three parts is made simpler and more linear than "Palazzo Ruccellai"'s one thanks to the missing pilaster strips on the ground floor. The windows, relatively small, of the ground floor form a powerful base on which rise the two upper floors, them also covered in ashlar, therefore with a different treatment.
The "Piano Nobile" has a unique big window for each span,while the last floor has two windows in each span.
The great wall mass is interrupted both horizontally and vertically at the ends of the faŤade, but they are missing the necessary depth to return them completely effective.
In "Palazzo della Cancelleria" the rythm is more complicated than in Palazzo Rucellai, for the alternating of a narrow span without windows closed between pilaster strip in pairs and a wider span with window, so the rythm AABAABAA of Palazzo Rucellai, is replaced with ABABAB.
The window-sills and the bases of the pilaster strips are here separated from the frame of the lower floor.
The introduction of wide and narrow spans brings to a new kind of proportions. Instead of simple ratios like 1:2 or 2:3 of the building of First Renaissance, we find in the Cancelleria that irrational proportion called" Golden Section".
For example, the width of an entire unit of four pilaster strips is at its height like the of one of the main windows is at its width, and the same relation rules the width of the narrower spans and of the wider spans.
This shows how the architect of"Palazzo della cancelleria" had a deep knowledge of both Albertian theory and praxis, and he was able to bring a remarkable progress in Architecture.

The main faŤade anyway does not correspond to the others on via del Pellegrino, on Corso Vittorio and on the garden. The rythmical truss on the main faŤade is replied only in the central part of the front on via del Pellegrino, though with a different rythm, because the in pairs pilaster strips get nearer one to the other far away from the windows.
Moreover the ground floor of via del Pellegrino has a row of shops ( maybe the Riario was obliged to reinstate the ones demolished with the old buildings) . The fronts on Corso Vittorio are not cadenced anymore with in pair pilaster strips, but plain pilaster strips and the windows of the upper floors don't have a small fake balcony ,which instead exists on the main faŤade, the windows of the ground floor have instead, plain arched lintel.
In the front, on the garden side, the openings on the different floor are absolutely irregular.
The faŤade of the inside courtyard presents a tighter relationship with Palazzo Rucellai because it is directly simplified from the prospect of the Colosseum, with columns on the lower fllor and pilaster strip on the last upper floor. The double order of arcades which are sustained by pillars recalls the Hospital of Innocents,while the third floor shows a changing compared to the same floor of the outside faŤade in substitution of the in pair pilaster strips with the single pilaster strips, that give the inside rythm of the modulation AAA.
THE corner problem is here also resolved, like in Palazzo Venezia with an L-like pillar. All these shrewdnesses make us think, that if there has been a participation of Bramante, in must be in this part of the building.
This opinion is enforced, as a matter of fact, that Bramante comes from Urbino, where we can find the first datable example of this kind of solution for corner problems.The height of the inner court-yard columns is 1/5 higher than the pilaster strips in the same floor of the outer faŤade (5,23 than 4,10), also like the heigt of the upper floor.
These variations also are due to the lowering of a 1/5 of the trabeation in the inside court-yard.
"Palazzo della Cancelleria", after the will of Riario, includes S Lorenzo in Damaso church.
In the composition the Palace comes from Tuscan Princes, in the style of the outside detail we can recognize Venetian and Lumbardian influences, like the type of window and the arch which is planned on small pillars and framed in a rectangle.
Murray:89,91;Fasolo:49,50;Simonetta Voltieri