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Pa Lace

palace, royal, style, palaces, exercises, architecture, taste and display

PA LACE. (from the Latin palutium), a word implying, in its stricter sense, a royal abode, but occasionally applied to the residences of other persons; the accompanying epithet the quality of the inhabitants, as imperial palace, ducal palace., &e. In Italy the term Palazzo, taken by itself, is used for any large mansion or nobleman's house ; and palaces of this class constitute, after churches, the principal architectural features of Genoa, ,Florence, Rome, Alilan, Vicenza, Venice, and other cities, to which they impart an air of grandeur which is wanting in the street architecture of this country ; for in spite of all other defects, and the bad taste they frequently display, they generally possess the redeeming quality of dignity. Our own metropolis, on the contrary, possesses scarcely half a dozen private mansions that have any pretensions to external nobleness of style. In fact, the most palazzo-like buildings we have are onr modern club-houses. Neither are any of our royal palaces, with the single exception of Windsor, stamped with architectural magnificence; both in extent and style they are surpassed by several of the country seats of our nobility. Throughout the whole of Europe very few royal palaces, whatever may be their magnitude, are at all distinguished by superior archi tectural taste. In the French capital it is only the eastern facade of the Louvre, the river-front, and the inner-court, which can lay claim to beauty or richness, the Tuileries being only a mass of quaint grotesqueness. The Vatican at Rome is merely a huge irregular pile; and Versailles and the Escurial, not wi t hstanding the millions they cost, are both monu ments of exceedingly bad taste. Though fir from beautiful, the royal palace at Madrid, begun in 17:17, from the designs of Giambattista Saelletti, an Italian architect, is a stately and regular pile, it being 470 feet square, and 100 in height, but the effect such a mass would otherwise produce is greatly impaired by the number of mezzanines, The same remark applies to the celebrated palace erected by the king of Naples, about the middle of the last century, at Caserta, and of w hick Vanvitelli was the architect. This building is certainly characterized by magnitude, for it extends 781 feet from east to west, and 50 from north to south ; et of either grandeur of conception, or majesty of style, there is very little, cer tainly not enough, to reconcile us to the prodigal execution of so very indifferent a design. The royal palace at Stockholm is a stately edifice in the Italian style, although the original design, by Count Tessin, was considerably curtailed. The

original imperial winter palace at St. Petersburgh was a vast pile erected by the Italian architect Rastrelli, in the reign of the Eizabeth, of most imposing aspect towards the quay of the Neva, but exceedingly heavy and grotesque as to st? le.

Enormous as have been the sums expended upon many of these edifices, every one of them falls very short of the ideal of a royal palace, in which, if anywhere, not only all the luxury and pomp of architecture, but a certain colossal dignity of aspect, should present itself This can never be accomplished where stories above storks are allowed to display themselves externally. That is hut a vulgar species of architectural grandeur which is produced by a multiplication of little parts and features. All the rooms required for the accomodation of an extensive household should be turned towards inner courts, and the whole ex terior, having only a single range of lofty windows above the ground-floor, should be left fur the unrestrained display of architecture, and sculpture upon a noble scale, without any intermixture of littlenesses. By such a disposition, too, convenience would perhaps be found far better consulted than at present. because, while all the apartments fin. official and state receptions and court entertainments could be con nected together, the whole of the vast number of subordinate rooms required in such a habitation would be concentrated within the general plan. and at the same time might he kept entirely apart, by means of galleries between the outer and inner range, communicating at intervals with lesser vesti bules and staircases attached to the suites of lesser rooms and private apartments of every description.

PA LiESTRA, or P A LESTRA, (from the Greek 7ra.atrpa) among the ancient Greeks. a public building, where the paid' exercised themselves in wrestling, running, playing at quoits. &e.

Some say the palestrze consisted of a college and an academy ; the one for exercises of the mind, the other for those of the body. But most authors rather take the palest•a to be a xystus. or mere academy for bodily exercises, according to the etymology of the word, which comes from wrestling, one of the chief' exercises among the ancients.

The length of the palmstra was marked out by stadia, each equal to geometrical paces; and hence the name studittm was given to the arena whereon they ran.