The Professione di Architetto in Renaissance Italy shows how Renaissance Italian architects used the concept of the professione di architetto as a way to affirm and delineate the character of their occupation. Drawing inspiration from antiquarian models and taking advantage of the humanist ethos, these architects equated “profession” with manual and theoretical expertise, social authority, and the fulfillment of artistic, civic, and moral ideals. Elizabeth Merrill places the origins of architectural professionalism in early modern Italy—rather than in the nineteenth-century movements frequently cited by social historians—and describes the theoretical context for the architect's professional rise. Positioning themselves alongside university-educated professors, architects of Renaissance Italy crafted didactic treatises about their work and created academies for its instruction, foreshadowing a long history of architectural discourse that continues to this day.

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