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.