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Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture Paperback – November 1, 2001
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About the Author
Ross King is the author of two novels, Ex Libris and Domino. Brunelleschi's Dome is his first book published in the United States.
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Though the book was about the building of the dome it was about so much more. It told the reader about life in renaissance Florence and brought us into the lives of the people, how they lived, what they ate, the inner workings of their guilds and political system and even how they made bricks. It was truly a wonderful read and I will now order Ross King's book about the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.
If you love renaissance history, Florence, art or just enjoy reading a well written story, this is a book is for you.
King brings together the time and place of Florence in the Middle Ages. The feel of the times, and wonder of new developments we might see as pedestrian are brought to some semblance of life.
The book isn't long at under 200 pages, but the ability to make the reader understand how this dome was conceived and built is terrific. I understood the architectural aspects, the structural engineering aspects and what this meant to Europe once it was completed.
Worth reading and I look forward to reading King's other books.
The issue I take with the text is its relative lack of illustrations of the dome itself: while there are artist's renderings of various construction engines and other architectural diagrams, the noticeable lack of any clear illustration of the interior scaffolding and exterior shell made what could have been an exemplary text simply above average. While King describes in vivid detail the intricacies of its construction and the brilliance of Brunellesci's achievement, a picture (or two) would have gone a long way to breathing life into his words.
For potential (or armchair) travelers to Florence, I highly recommend this text (in spite of its shortcomings), as the details of daily life, the myriad setbacks and the scope and scale of the project itself are described in detail, and make a visit to the city (and the cathedral itself) much more relevant with a little background. For readers, like me, who needed (or wished) for some graphic detail on this site in particular (and in 15h century Italian architecture in general), I recommend Renaissance Architecture (History of World Architecture)
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