The Dancing Column
On Order in Architecture
By (author) Joseph Rykwert
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Dancing Column by Joseph Rykwert
Book DescriptionJoseph Rykwert is one of the major architectural historians of this century, whose full humanistic understanding of architecture and its historical significance is unrivaled. The Dancing Column is certain to be his most controversial and challenging work to date. A decade in preparation, it is a deeply erudite, clearly written, and wide-ranging deconstruction of the system of column and beam known as the "orders of architecture," tracing the powerful and persistent analogy between columns and/or buildings and the human body. The body-column metaphor is as old as architectural thought, informing the works of Vitruvius, Alberti, and many later writers; but The Dancing Column is the first comprehensive treatment to do this huge subject full justice. It provides a new critical examination of the way the classical orders, which have dominated Western architecture for nearly three millennia, were first formulated. Rykwert opens with a review of their consequence for the leading architects of the twentieth century, and then traces ideas related to them in accounts of sacred antiquity and in scientific doctrines of humor and character. The body-column metaphor is traced in archaeological material from Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Levant, as well as from Greece, drawing on recent accounts by historians of Greek religion and society as well as the latest discoveries of archaeologists. Perhaps most important, Rykwert reexamines its significance for the formation of any theoretical view of architecture. Chapters cover an astonishing breadth of material, including the notions of a set number and a proportional as well as an ornamental rule of the orders; the theological-philosophical interpretation Christiana of antiquity on which the domination of the orders relied; the astrological and geometrical canon of the human figure; gender and column; the body as a constantly refashioned cultural product; the Greek temple building and the nature of cult; and the endurance of ornamental forms and the function of symbols.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262681018
(262mm x 221mm x 33mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 8-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Joseph Rykwert
Idea of a Town, Paperback (December 2010)
Roman towns and their history are generally regarded as being the preserve of the archaeologist or the economic historian. This title touches on such disparate themes as psychology and urban architecture.
Judicious Eye, Hardback (June 2008)
Is architecture art? This title presents the history of the relationships between painting, sculpture and architecture as they have shifted over the years. It locates the first major shift during the Enlightenment, when key philosophers drew implied and explicit distinctions between the visual arts and architecture.
Fragments of Wilderness City, Paperback (October 2007)» View all books by Joseph Rykwert
Presents perspectives from academics and architecture historians, exploring the projects in India and the Middle East; major cultural commissions; and masterplanning work for Oxford Street in London, The Horniman Museum, and the Avenue of the Emirates in Abu Dhabi. This work is aimed at those interested in architectural innovation at every scale.
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Author Biography - Joseph Rykwert
Joseph Rykwert is Paul Philippe Cret Professor of Architecture Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania.
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