Yuehan An

BA Honors | Art History


My name is Yuehan An, and I usually go by Marley. I major in Art History and minor in Business Economics. I am originally from Beijing, China. I chose to write about Roman palaces because I have loved visiting house museums ever since I was a child. Even though it sounds a little bit creepy, visiting other people’s houses is one of my biggest passions in life. After touring all the major palazzos in Rome, I was still dissatisfied as I could see frescoes through the open windows when I was walking at night. I was determined to see those up close, so I talked to the doormen and owners of historical palazzos into letting me visit and conduct first-hand primary research.


My research question was “what was the ideal palace in Rome during the Renaissance?” I tried to answer this question from two perspectives: theory and reality. The first section of my thesis is dedicated to the theories. I analyzed Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture, Leon Battista Alberti’s On the Art of Building in Ten Books, and Paolo Cortesi’s De Cardinalatu. I selected passages that focus on private palaces in these architectural treatises and compared the author’s opinions. I concluded that “social status” and “comfort” are two key elements that contribute to a palace being ideal. In section 2, I argue that the theories and reality of ideal palaces match, meaning “social status” and “comfort” are also key for private architecture in the real world and not just on paper.


Palazzo Fioravanti Interior
Palazzo Farnese facade
Palazzo Baldassini facade
Palazzo Barberini interior