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The Naturalis historia by Pliny the Elder provided Renaissance scholars, artists and architects with details of ancient architectural practice and long-lost architectural wonders – material that was often unavailable elsewhere in classical literature. Pliny's descriptions frequently included the dimensions of these buildings, as well as details of their unusual construction materials and ornament. This book describes, for the first time, how the passages were interpreted from around 1430 to 1580, that is, from Alberti to Palladio. Chapters are arranged chronologically within three interrelated sections – antiquarianism; architectural writings; drawings and built monuments – thereby making it possible for the reader to follow the changing attitudes to Pliny over the period. The resulting study establishes the Naturalis historia as the single most important literary source after Vitruvius's De architectura.Read more
- Identifies an important new literary source on architecture (Pliny the Elder's Naturalis historia) that was used extensively by Renaissance scholars, artists, and architects
- Is multidisciplinary and will appeal across a broad spectrum of interests, including art history, the history and theory of architecture, classics (textual analysis, textual interpretation, and reception studies), Italian (cultural studies, history, language, and literature) and antiquarianism
- Exceptionally well-produced and researched, with ample footnotes, beautiful illustrations, and an index that enables quick and easy access to a veritable mine of information on numerous aspects of the emergence of Renaissance architecture in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy
- Winner, 2018 Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize, Renaissance Society of America
Reviews & endorsements
'… this is highly recommended reading for the architectural historian of the Renaissance - especially one who wants to understand how thoroughly Plinian the Renaissance canon of the Five Column Orders actually is.' Krista De Jonge, Renaissance Quarterly
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- Date Published: July 2016
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107079861
- length: 510 pages
- dimensions: 262 x 185 x 35 mm
- weight: 1.63kg
- contains: 74 b/w illus. 8 colour illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. Pliny the Elder and his place in antique and mediaeval writings on architecture
2. Initial explorations: Petrarch, the Mirabilia Urbis Romae and Flavio Biondo
3. The manuscript hunter and the librarian: Poggio Bracciolini and Giovanni Tortelli
4. A new system: Pomponio Leto and his school
5. Emerging doubts
6. Pliny and Leon Battista Alberti: two 'architectural histories'
7. Pliny, Filarete and the ideal patron of architecture
8. 'Aldus and his dream book': the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
9. A more down-to-earth Pliny
10. Mixing the traditions: the curious case of Cesare Cesariano
11. Developments in the Veneto: the Vitruvian commentaries of Daniele Barbaro and I quattro libri by Andrea Palladio
12. Standing before the marvels: Ciriaco d'Ancona and Pliny's 'Opera mirabilia in terris'
13. In the mind's eye: drawings of Plinian wonders, from Leonardo to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
14. From paper to stone: rebuilding Pliny's architectural marvels
Final thoughts: Pliny's influence on the Renaissance understanding of ancient architecture.
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