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Architectural Invention in Renaissance Rome
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Book description

Villa Madama, Raphael's late masterwork of architecture, landscape, and decoration for the Medici popes, is a paradigm of the Renaissance villa. The creation of this important, unfinished complex provides a remarkable case study for the nature of architectural invention. Drawing on little known poetry describing the villa while it was on the drawing board, as well as ground plans, letters, and antiquities once installed there, Yvonne Elet reveals the design process to have been a dynamic, collaborative effort involving humanists as well as architects. She explores design as a self-reflexive process, and the dialectic of text and architectural form, illuminating the relation of word and image in Renaissance architectural practice. Her revisionist account of architectural design as a process engaging different systems of knowledge, visual and verbal, has important implications for the relation of architecture and language, meaning in architecture, and the translation of idea into form.


'… what this book does splendidly is focus our attention on the roles of people other than patrons and architects - the advisers, many unnamed - in the production of architecture. In addition, it makes a fundamental contribution by asserting that the poetry associated with villas deserves to be considered as a key part of the process of those villas’ designs.'

Paul Davies Source: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

‘This substantial, original book makes significant contributions to our understanding of the architectural design process in early modern Rome … [Elet] moves effortlessly across traditional disciplinary boundaries, deftly interweaving different modes of analysis and a profound familiarity with myriad sources, primary and secondary … The book’s production value matches the quality of its concept and writing, with many well-chosen illustrations that evoke both the villa and the ideas in circulation around it quite nicely.’

Jessica Maier Source: Renaissance Quarterly

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