Comparative Essay for the Art Work of Artist Robert Adam and Peruzzi

ComparativeEssay for the Art Work of Artist Robert Adam and Peruzzi Baldassare.


BaldassarePeruzzi was an Italian architect and painter. Born in Siena, Italy,in 1481, Peruzzi had an extremely successful career as an architectin those days. He is famed as a High Renaissance architect in Romealongside his contemporaries Donato Bramante and Raphael Sanzio daUrbino. He is credited to be among the earliest artists to attemptquadratula-illusionist architectural painting. The art is an attempt to extendreal architecture into an imaginary space.

Peruzzibegan his architectural career in Rome where he benefited a greatdeal from apprenticeship from Bramante, Raphael and Sangallo when StPeters Basilica in Rome was being erected. His mentor Raphael died in1520, and Peruzzi succeeded him as the architect of St PetersBasilica.

In1527, the army of the Holy Roman Emperor attacked the French army inItaly in an event famed as ‘Sack of Rome’. During this conflict,there was pillaging and looting during which most of Peruzzi’sworks were destroyed. After the Sack of Rome, Peruzzi moved back toSiena where he briefly practiced architecture and designed severalworks before moving back to Rome where he worked as an architect andpainter to the Republic.

TheHigh Renaissance period was characterized by a spirit of knowledge,creativity, and enlightenment. Artists had an elevated socialstanding, and their works were not regarded as simple handicrafts butas divinely inspired creations. Renaissance artists were creativegeniuses who tackled mathematics, art, and philosophy and presentedsolutions that have outlasted them.

Beforemoving to Rome, Peruzzi’s initial work included painting offrescoes in the Siena Cathedral known as Cappella San Giovanni. Hisfirst architectural work on the Villa Chigi in Rome, that is nowcommonly known as the Villa Farnesina. The Villa has two wingsbranching off from a central hall. The hall has a simple arrangementof pillars, and the exterior is decorated with a strip.

Mostof the interior rooms are decorated with murals majority of which arePeruzzi’s single handed creations. Come of the frescoes are revisedworks from other artists. One such piece is the Sala delleProspettive. This piece was influenced by previous of Mantegna andMelozzo de Forli, and it represents refined ideas of these twoschemers.

Thewalls of the rooms are painted to create an illusion. For instance,when one is standing towards the left side of the hall, they see asif they are standing on an open-air terrace that is lined withpillars and opens up to continuous landscape. There is a plate-glassvault in the Villa on whose firmament Peruzzi painted heavenlybodies, planets, and other zodiac signs. In totality, the Villa’sdecoration strikingly points towards an illusionist perspective.

Hisartistic versatility was not anything peculiar to his days. However,he was principally gifted as a draftsman and architect. He admiredantique buildings and is known to have promoted axonometric drawing.In many of the house facades he painted, he combined hischaracteristic illusionism with antique themes so that the outcomelooked like a grand primeval sculptural façade.

In1502, Peruzzi moved to Rome where he immediately began working onreviving illusionistic classical mural painting. He painted theaterperspectives that were later used as dissertations in architecture.He capitalized on using drawings and drafts as a tool to understandexisting plans and develop future ones.

Intotality, Peruzzi’s works depict influence from Michelangelo andRaphael to a good extent but the primary influence is Siena’sculture. His frescoes are whimsical, lighthearted and fun. Like hisfellow Renaissance artists, Peruzzi’s works had mythological themestouching on a multitude of issues regarding human life.


RobertAdam was a Scottish neoclassical architect (1728-1792). He was alsoan interior and furniture designer. Born to Scotland’s foremostarchitect, he learned the craft and trained under his father. Afterhis father’s death, Robert and his brother inherited their father’sbusiness that included lucrative opportunities such as working forthe Board of Ordnance.

Robertleft Siena in 1754 and went to Rome to study architecture as CLClerisseau and Giovanni Battista’s apprentice. When he returned toEngland, he registered his practice and began developing his theoryof movement in architecture that he called the ‘Adam Style.’ Hebecame a recognized architect in the country. At one point, he heldthe position Architect of the Kings Work.

Duringhis practice in London, he focused on designing complete schemes forfurnishing and decoration of houses. He was one among those whosupported the development of a unified style of design that wentbeyond architecture and extended to interior decoration includingboth fixed and moveable objects in the room. His decoration andarchitectural designs had influence from Greek and Romanarchitecture.

Beforeestablishing his practice, Robert embarked on the ‘Grand Tour’which was five years of visiting classical sites, studyingarchitecture in France and Italy. The popular design in those dayswas classical architecture, Robert did not follow it. Instead, hechose to develop the Adam style which had influence from classicaldesign though it did not adhere to Roman architectural rules asstrictly as Palladianism did. He dismissed the Palladian style, whichhad been introduced in England by Inigo Jones and endorsed by LordBurlington, as disgustful and cumbersome.

Robert’sinitial work was done in collaboration with his brother. It involvedcompleting their late father’s masterpiece, the Hopetoun House inWest Lothian Scotland. They rejected the Palladian cumbersomemoldings and decorations. Instead, they opted for a fresh note ofornate lightness and elegance. The ceiling plasterwork was inspiredby French designs that were then popular.

Hisfirst independent work was designing the Dumfries House in Scotland,in which he continued to utilize his preference for rococo ceilingdecorations. His most remarkable works were the execution of severaldesigns for Admiral Boscawen. Examples include new interiors for theHatchlands Surrey (1758-1761), and designing a new screen and gatewayfor the Admiralty House in Whitehall London (1760).

Theworks in the Admiralty evidenced Robert’s breakaway from thefashionable Palladian style and rococo taste to neoclassic styles.This style was based on a repertoire of classical motifs that Roberthad learned and practiced in Rome. It included the use ofbellflowers, vases, garlands, vines, scrolls of foliage sphinxes etcetera. Although these motifs had been used extensively by otherarchitects in the past, Robert’s work was outstanding. To beprecise, he reduced the height of columns as stipulated by Romanarchitecture, and toned down design elements thus giving his workslightness and elegance that was unmatched in his days.

ContrastingRobert and Peruzzi

Firstthe two lived in different centuries and therefore their works wereinfluenced by various themes. Peruzzi was more inclined inarchitecture and painting while Robert was more interested ininterior design than architecture. Their point of convergence istheir apprenticeship in Rome and the subsequent influence of Romanarchitecture on their future works. An illusionistic architect,Peruzzi’s works differ significantly from Robert’s neoclassicaldesigns.


Beard,G. Magazine Antiques: Robert Adams. Jun 87, Vol. 131 Issue 6, p 1292.

EdIan, Chilvers. TheOxford Dictionary of Arts and Artists 2009: Peruzzi Baldassare.Oxford University Press, 2009. Oxford Reference Online.