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Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture Hardcover – September 23, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1568988405 ISBN-10: 1568988400 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (September 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568988400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568988405
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #703,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author and photographer of these vaulted European church ceilings from the 12th through the 16th centuries directs readers' attention to the emotional resonance and liberating sensation one feels in these buildings, and to the spiritual meaning of the symmetries and mathematical proportions employed in their construction. At the book's core are 104 pages of color photographs that capture these symmetries and let readers discover their pleasures. Stephenson (Visions of Heaven) provides a straightforward architectural history of the structures and their evolution into delicate traceries suggesting floral patterns and ending with the rampant vegetal images of the late Gothic style. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"David Stephenson's new book of photography is a love letter to the intricate, seemingly sui generis vaults of Europe's Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and churches. Half the wonder of these soaring architectural feats is that they were devised and built at all. The other half comes with the realization that we will never build this way again: It takes too long. It's too expensive. We don't know how.These buildings, some nearly a millennium old, are charged with the grandeur of God, as though their architects, suddenly doubting that it could be read in nature, decided to codify it in stone. The skyward vaults suggest their faith's holy order, the majestic possibilities of men working to glorify their creator, the intimation, the endurance of infinity." --Dwell

"It may have been the 4 a.m. wake up call for the 6 a.m. flight the other weekend, but I was more than intrigued by a review in Dwell Magazine of David Stephenson's Heavenly Vaults : From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture. Thought you might be too..." --Voila

"Apparently science and religion do have a lot in common after all...both appreciate great geometry. Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture, a new book by David Stephenson captures the inspired design of some of Europe's great cathedrals. Einstein once said all religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree, these vaults certainly support that theory." --The Smart Set

"The author and photographer of these vaulted European church ceilings from the 12th through the 16th centuries directs readers' attention to the emotional resonance and liberating sensation one feels in these buildings, and to the spiritual meaning of the symmetries and mathematical proportions employed in their construction. At the book's core are 104 pages of color photographs that capture these symmetries and let readers discover their pleasures. Stephenson (Visions of Heaven) provides a straightforward architectural history of the structures and their evolution into delicate traceries suggesting floral patterns and ending with the rampant vegetal images of the late Gothic style." --Publishers Weekly

"In `Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture', photographer David Stephenson looks up to the harmoniously patterned ceilings of the Pantheon, Chartres, Canterbury Cathedral and other sacred buildings." --Newday

"This Book looks downright Spiritually uplifting.. the Religion part aside. Look at that Vaulted ceiling - a feat of the human hand, but also of the spirit." --Anna Sheffield Jewelry

"Available now from Princeton Architectural Press, Heavenly Vaults continues photographer David Stephenson's investigation of the `architecturally sublime.' The focus here, as explicitly expressed, is on vaulted ceilings in basilicas, cathedrals, and churches throughout Europe. Isobel Crombie provides a contextual forward." --Curated Magazine

More About the Author

http://www.davidstephensonart.com

David Stephenson was born in 1955, and studied at the University of Colorado and then the University of New Mexico, completing an MFA in 1982. He moved to Australia that same year to take up a position teaching photography at the University of Tasmania School of Art. A fascination for the vast in space and time characterized by the sublime has led him to travel and photograph extensively around the world, with journeys to Europe, the Himalayas, and both the Arctic and Antarctic.

In a career spanning more than three decades, Stephenson's photographs have been exhibited extensively internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1993), the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (1994), the Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, Scotland (1995), the National Gallery of Victoria, (1998), the Cleveland Museum of Art (2001), and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (2001). His work is represented in many public and private collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the French Bibliotheque Nationale, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 2005 Princeton Architectural Press, New York published a monograph of Stephenson's Domes project titled Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture. In 2006 the Gulbenkian Foundation Cultural Centre in Paris presented a retrospective exhibition and catalogue of his photographs titled Sublime Symmetries, which included images of architecture, landscapes, and skies. In 2009, Princeton Architectural Press published Stephenson's second monograph, Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ray TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This new entry (2009) into the library of Gothic building photography is a welcome addition due to its high quality reproductions, its coverage of a wide variety of structures from across Europe, and the addition of a short, but informative, written narrative on the issues surrounding medieval vaulting for European edifices. As anyone who is interested in Gothic architecture is painfully aware, the ability to purchase high quality (or actually, ANY quality) printed photo books covering the field is excruciatingly difficult. It's not because there are no books out there: it's that many of them are generally available only in Europe, are published by local concerns such as cathedrals, churches, or local towns and therefore not easily found in online sellers, and are not always the best reproduction quality. In addition, those that ARE printed in high quality, large page format tend to sell out quickly, pushing the price of the remaining volumes into the stratosphere.

You should keep this in mind with this text, because even though the book is being printed by Princeton, it is entirely possible this volume will follow the same trajectory and end up being prohibitively expensive. That's a shame, because this is a lovely book that is best distributed to a wide audience. If you are interested in Gothic architecture, this book will provide you with great images of the transept crossing vaulting and choir vaulting in full color and with good resolution. A nice touch of the book is that the photos are arranged with essentially the same photographic "framing" in each image, making comparisons between the structures very easy as you move from page to page (see the sample photos above to see what I mean).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grant Barber on November 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Amazing, moving, profound, wonderful....I can easily continue until I run out of adjectives. I bought this book with the plan to enjoy it for a while then pass it on to a friend as a gift; I am now quite ambivalent about this plan. The photographs (HOW did he take them?) cover the vaults of Gothic churches in at least England, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Italy...? I've seen first hand maybe a handful of those he's pictured, although I question now whether I've truly 'seen' them. In addition to now making a life list of churches I want to see if I have the chance to return to Europe, I found several ways to enjoy this collection. First, flip through from front to back slowly, get a feel for the range of colors and designs. Then take them one by one, staying with those which really move you. Hold the book within 12 inches of your eyes and stare at the center so that your vision takes in the whole. Look at each picture noting its three dimensional quality. Look at each picture as if it is two dimensional. Pick out component details of the vault. Repeat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Geert Schotanus on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very beautiful book, with detailed pictures of many kinds of vaults. Also it's very informative about these vaults and their history
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By Agnie on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Magnificent photos!
If you're interested in vaults or simply like to admire beautiful pictures that's the right album!
Wide range of churches photographed.
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