and leader of all masters"
was a fine Dalmation architect. Born in Zadar in 1425, little is known of
his life until 1468. His direct contacts with teachings by Leon Battista
Alberti and Brunelleschi may only be inferred until 1468, but in that year
his name started to appear on documents that bear witness to a fervent
Renaissance period in Italy.
1468 Laurana (his original surname was Lo Vrana) was designated by
Federico from Montefeltro engineer and leader of all masters, for the
building of what is still considered a real architectural jewel; the Ducal
Palace of Urbino. Since then he has been considered, and will
always be, one of the greatest architects of all times.
worked in the creation of the huge architectural structure providing
valuable intuitions. The Ducal Palace is a “città in forma di
palazzo” (a town shaped as a palace), as Baldassar Castiglione
wrote, and now hosts the rich National Gallery of the Marches and
the Archaeological Museum. Laurana’s style is visible in small
details (such as the colonnade of the Cortile d’Onore, whose
corners do not interrupt the balance of the portico thanks to supporting
L-shaped pillars), as well as in larger details, such as the Torricini,
the towers that have become the symbol of Urbino. They were designed to
connect the pre-existing Jole Palace to the Medieval Castle,
and gave the world an elegant masterpiece that is perfectly integrated
with the surroundings.
left Urbino in 1472, because he was probably involved in other projects,
Francesco di Giorgio Martini took his place in the completion of the Ducal
Palace. Laurana probably restructured the Corte Alta of Fossombrone,
a summertime residence of the Montefeltro family, designing a light,
pensile open gallery, which now hosts the Civic and Archaeological
1474, when Laurana was already working for the King of Naples, Alphonse of
Aragon, to the building of the Triumphal Arch in Naples (at the entrance
of the Anjou Donjon), the architect went to Pesaro. There, he
designed the Rocca Costanza for Costanzo Sforza. It is a four-sided
stronghold, characterized by huge towers surrounded by solid walls. It now
hosts the local offices of the State Archive.
della Rovere called Laurana to Senigallia in 1479. There he
completed his last work, restructuring the stronghold. Its centuries-old
structure needed to be fortified, to better resist invasions by the Turks.
refined and harmonic style may be found in the painting La città
ideale (The Ideal Town), attributed to the architect and now visible
at the National Gallery of the Marches. In it Laurana proposed the
perspective view of a beautiful and imaginary Renaissance town, marked by
the perfect proportion between spaces that Laurana sought.
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