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The Four Books on Architecture Paperback – September 9, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Perhaps the most influential practitioner in the history of Western architecture and one of the earliest neoclassicists, Palladio created a singular corpus of architecture, the legacy of which is seen and felt in buildings of all types throughout the Western world. His theoretical and promotional treatise, I Quattro Libri dell' Architecttura, was first published in Venice in 1570 and sets forth a grammar of architecture. From building materials to residences to Roman temples, Palladio covered an incredible breadth of topics in his four volumes. This new translation in English, the first since Isaac Ware's of 1738, is simultaneously elegant and readable. The organization of the volume is immaculate: in addition to the informative introduction?which serves as a bibliographic essay on the various editions of the work?the list of illustrations from the 1570 edition, glossary, and bibliography all enrich the value of this treatise immeasurably. This edition also features the original woodcut illustrations, which are not as pristine as the engravings produced for Ware's edition but are carefully interleaved with the text. An important addition to academic libraries, architectural collections, and libraries collecting in the theory of art and architecture.?Paul Glassman, Pratt Inst. Lib., Brooklyn
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Tavernor and Schofield's beautiful edition brings us...the Palladio we had always hoped to meet.

(John McKean Architects Journal)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (September 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262661330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262661331
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Harris on April 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Palladio was not the first to publish a book illustrating principles of classical architecture but he was the most convincing. Palladio's finely detailed, measured wood cut illustration --reproduced at a slightly smaller scale in this translation--, made the long lost principles of Roman architecture and construction easy to understand.
In his Four Books of Architecture of 1570, Andrea Palladio balanced illustrations of ancient Roman construction, that he had drawn from observing ruins, with brief, straightforward practical interpretations of historical descriptions of Roman architectural design and construction from Vitruvius's First Century BC Treatise on Roman And Greek architecture, which had been found a century before in a Swiss monastery. To this treatise on Roman architecture, Palladio added examples of his own imaginative designs to demonstrate how ancient principles of engineering, planning, construction and decoration could enhance public and private buildings of his day.
Palladio's successful Four Books were published and translated many times. They became one of the most cited references for architects in the West, where they dominated architectural studies until academic training for architects became standard in the 19th century. Variations on Palladio's designs are everywhere. Thomas Jefferson's house, Montecello, is one of the best known examples in the U.S.. Jefferson owned a copy of Palladio's 1570 edition of the Four Books.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most important of architectural manuals. Palladio's influence was enormous; one magnificent example of American Palladianism is Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia Library; others can be found in the work of Philip Johnson. The design of The Four Books of Architecture is one of the reasons for this success. Drawings and plans fill the page, comments are sparing, invitations to use the eye and imagination as well as practical instructions. In this respect Palladio's book resembles that of the equally influential, equally visionary Paul Klee in his Pedagogical Sketchbooks. Seeing so much of his influence in public buildings, it is hard not to find the original sourcebook refreshing. I'd suggest looking through it alongside a general survey of the buildings themselves, like translator Robert Tavernor's Palladio and Palladianism (in Thames and Hudson's World of Art series). Tavernor has done his job very well. The english translation is neither anachronistic nor colloquial, but as lucid as the original. The book's designers have really done brilliantly in finding the most suitable typefaces to match Palladio's original woodcuts and in choosing a size and format, down to the weight and colour of the paper, that makes these ideas handsome and vivid now. An exemplary edition. Richard Bernas.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Webb on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the most celebrated and influential of architectural texts has been republished in a highly readable version by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield (the first new English translation since 1738!) with facsimiles of Palladio's woodcuts, correctly placed in the text. It makes a wonderful introduction to the timeless principles of architecture and to Palladio's dazzling oeuvre. How agreeable it would be to browse this classic in the shade of the Villa Rotunda on a hot summer afternoon. (Michael Webb is the book reviewer for LA Architect magazine.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Curren VINE VOICE on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Andrea Palladio's Quatro Libri is a timeless work on classical architecture. All four books are consolidated into one book that has been translated into English. This book was very easy to read with hundreds of woodcuts that read as very detailed renderings. It was enjoyable to take my time and read an instruction book on how to create beautiful classical architecture from the Master himself. My architectural alumni never bothered to mention Andrea Palladio or his four books in the design studio except to mention them in my architectural history classes. This had to do with ignoring classical architecture and practicing contemporary architecture. How unfortunate. This book is a timeless piece of work. I recommend this book to anyone (especially architecture students) before you go to Europe to study architecture. My favorite book is book IV on temples. While this is the largest book, it is the most interesting. Palladio documents the great works of Roman antiquity of both ruined and preserved works (Pantheon). The lesson to be learned by all contemporary architects is Palladio's timeless use of proportions of which he goes thru great efforts to document in the Quatro Libri.
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