Palladio's Villas Week 2: From farm buildings to Baroque mansions

July 28, 2021 | 2 Comments

The second week of my Palladian Villa project involved an eclectic collection of buildings.

PV08: Villa Contarini degli Scrigni

A crazy over the top Baroque building with only the faintest remnant of Palladio left – simply the two serlian openings on the main floor. See full spread below for more about that.

I decided to sketch this with a fine pen (Platinum Carbon Pen) and got a bit bored with all the details. It really is overly grand and at times I almost laughed aloud at how crazy parts of it are.


Palladio Pause: A Tuscan Capital

I wasn’t sure on Monday whether I would have time for a Palladian VIlla sketch, so instead I did a simple drawing of a Tuscan capital.

I used the measurements explained in my favourite book on The Orders by Robert Chitham. I did refer to Palladio’s description as well…

and this brought back amazing memories of reading from Palladio’s Four Books while at Villa Emo in 2019. I love this type of detailed descriptions and they definitely help with my sketching. One day I hope to do a full study of The Orders but until then you can see what I’ve done to date here.


PV09: Villa Arnaldi

At the other end of the scale from PV08, this is a simple farmhouse that Palladio was in the middle of modifying when the project was abandoned.

PV10: Villa Caldogno

I swapped the order of Villas Caldogno and Anagarano so that I could pair a red teacup with Angarano so this really should be PV11. But hey, I’m not strictly going in order!

I didn’t know much about either of these villas until last year. As a special treat for our virtaal Palladian Odyssey tours, our art historian Monica, visited both of these and filmed a few short videos about them. It’s always special to see Palladian villas in context and so Monica’s short videos really brought these buildings to life for me.

PV11: Villa Angarano

If you have to convert a Palladian villa into a Baroque palace this is the way to do it. Oh ah! I love this one! 🙂

PV12: Villa Saraceno

One of my favourites of Palladio’s early work, Villa Saraceno featured prominently in the docufilm I saw about Palladio when I was in Italy in 2019. But more about this next week when I return and do more sketches of this villa.


Full Spreads

Incorporating these Palladian Villas into my everyday pages is the best part of this project!

I’m so enjoying this project even though I’m only dedicating about 30 minutes to it each day. Most of these sketches are done in under 20 minutes and the repetition is really honing my quick classical architecture sketching skills.

I’m using a lot of techniques from my SketchingNow Buildings course. We’ll be doing a Group Run-through of Buildings later in the year (no exact date as yet) so if you are interested in this course please check it out!


  • Jamie C says:

    It’s amazing how much detail you can get into a building sketch in just 20-30 minutes! I’m really looking forward to the buildings class! Your project inspires me, both of them, and a great way to keep sketching, keep the creative flow going while in lockdown!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jamie – just for the record the first sketch of VIlla Contarini took longer… but the rest are definitely under 30 minutes.

      Lots of disciplined practice and developing of specific skills to be able to do this. And a big reason for this project is to improve even more! 🙂

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