Popularity ~ 1850 - 1890
By the middle of the 19th century,
American were starting to react to the impact of the industrial
revolution. There was an overall feeling of optimism that
pervaded the air. For the first time, there was huge
opportunity for education, and exposure to fine arts, music, and
drama and for leisure activity. American cities were becoming
cultural centers and rural life seemed less attractive.
Looking back at this period we can see that almost all academic
fields formed in the 1880's Modern history, psychology, and Natural
sciences date from the 1880's. The Metropolitan Opera and the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, along with many symphonies
and ballets. The American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian
Institute, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art were all
forming as well. Many universities were expanding, and new
universities were founded in the Midwest. Printing technology
improved dramatically after the end of the Civil War, making
magazines, newspapers, and dime novels commonplace for the masses.
As a result of this explosion of
knowledge and the arts, many people were exposed to knowledge that
their parents never imagined. Businessmen of this period
strived to be familiar with the most respected artists of the
Renaissance. The wealthy might take a tour, visiting Italy,
Greece, France, and England, seeing great works of art. Even
white collar workers might have a chromolithograph or photograph of
fine art framed on his wall.
How did the people of this time see
themselves and their homes? What kind of home would express
this exuberant acceptance of "modern" life? Something
Renaissance. And so was born American Italianate Architecture.
This was also a period of a rising
middle class. This triggered all sorts of insecurities from
both the upper class, and the new middle class. Thus, status
was something that everyone wanted to express. Builders wanted
to build as high and bracketed as possible in order to let everyone
know how important they were. The Campaniles and Cupolas
became an integral part of these homes. Cupolas are mostly
useless and usually kept sealed off to conserve heat, but were a
must for anybody who was anybody in the 60's, 70's and 80's.
- Soaring off center tower
- This was a feature in the earlier Italianate homes.
Later, these became Cupolas, but still added the signature
look to the home.
- Cupola - This was
modeled after the topmost extension of a Campanile
arrangement of windows and doors
- Usually found on larger homes
- Belvedere - Again,
usually reserved for larger homes.
- Pergola - Common - most
often in the rear, near or in the gardens
Fact: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a
A Classic Italianate Villa with a "Cupola" - Painting
by Harry Devlin
Italianate with a "Campanile"
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