The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture
Speculations on Ornament from Vitruvius to Venturi
By (author) George L. Hersey
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Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture by George L. Hersey
Book DescriptionWhy do architects still use the classical orders? Why use forms derived from ancient Greek temples when ancient Greek religion has been dead for centuries and when the way of life they expressed is extinct? And why decorate a contemporary courthouse with the bones, eggs, darts, claws, and garlands that an ancient Greek would recognize as the trappings of animal sacrifice?With these provocative questions George Hersey begins his recovery of the meaning of classical architecture. For the last four centuries, he shows, philology and formalism have drained architecture of its poetry. By analyzing this poetry -- the tropes founded on the Greek terms for ornamental detail -- he reconstructs a classical theory about the origin and meaning of the orders, one that links them to ancient sacrificial ritual and myth. In doing so, Hersey reinterprets key tales and taboos that were part of the cultural memory of the ancient Greeks. His touchstone is Vitruvius, author of the only surviving classical treatise on architecture, whose stories about Dorus, Ion, and the Corinthian maiden, and about the Caryaean women and Persian soldiers, describe the orders as records or remembrances of sacrifice. Hersey finds revivals of this consciousness in the Italian Renaissance and throws new light on the works of the architectural theorists Francesco di Giorgio and Ceasare Cesariano, and also on Raphael's Disputa, Michelangelo's tomb of Julius 11 and Medici Chapel, and Hugues Sambin's handbook on termini.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262580892
(226mm x 147mm x 17mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Jan-1988
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author George L. Hersey
Falling in Love with Statues, Hardback (July 2009)
Falling in love (and out of love) with statues, the author reveals has helped us since antiquity to understand, improve, and empower ourselves. He narrates a powerful history of artificial life at a moment when - with the development of robot soldiers, genetic engineering, and an expanding digital universe - it seems more real than ever.
Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque, Paperback (February 2003)
The age of the baroque - a time of great strides in science and mathematics - also saw the construction of some of the world's most magnificent buildings. Hersey explores the interrelations of the two developments and how they cross-fertilised.
Monumental Impulse, Paperback (April 2001)View all books by George L. Hersey
Art historian George Hersey investigates the many ties between the biological sciences and the building arts.
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Author Biography - George L. Hersey
George Hersey is Emeritus Professor of Art History at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Evolution of Allure: Sexual Selection from the Medici Venus to the Incredible Hulk (MIT Press, 1996) and The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture: Speculations on Ornament from Vitruvius to Venturi (MIT Press, 1988).
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