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High Renaissance architecture first became visible at Rome in the work of Bramante at the beginning of the 16th century. The period was very momentary, centredalmost exclusively in the city of Rome; it ended with the political and religious tensions that shook Europe during the third decade of the century, culminating in the disastrous sack of Rome in 1527and the siege of Florence in 1529. The High Renaissance was a period of harmony and balance in all the arts, perhaps the most definitive moment in this respect since the 5th century BC in Greece. The art of the High Renaissance, however, sought a general, unified effect of pictorial representation or architectural composition, increasing the dramatic force and physical presence of a work ofart and gathering its energies and forming a controlled equilibrium. Because the essential characteristic of High Renaissance art was its unity, a balance achieved as a matter of intuition, beyondthe reach of rational knowledge or technical skill, the High Renaissance style was destined to break up as soon as emphasis was shifted to favor any one element in the composition. 

In the HighRenaissance the focus of architecture moved physically from Florence to Rome and Venice, while its aesthetic objectives became the search for an all encompassing spatial experience. The three majorarchitects of the century were Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, and Andrea Palladio. 

Mannerist architecture, roughly contemporarneous with mannerist art, draws attention to design elements themselvesparticularly through visual paradox and confusion. The earliest master of the mannerist style in architecture was Michelangelo Buonarotti, whose architecture is filled with confusing and contradictorydevices. 

Mannerist architecture, then, threw the Vitruvian principles of congruence and symmetry on their head. There is a tension in mannerist buildings between order and disorder, between...
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