- Hardcover: 300 pages
- Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (November 22, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 156898331X
- ISBN-13: 978-1568983318
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,348,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Italian Architecture of the 16th Century 1st Edition
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About the Author
Colin Rowe was a wildly popular lecturer at Cornell. A mentor to thousands, his legacy at Cornell matches that of Vincent Scully at Yale. Rowe's lectures assumed legendary status and notes by students continue to circulate; his seminal books include Mathem
Leon Satkowski, who trained at Cornell and Harvard, is a professor of architecture and art history at the University of Minnesota.
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Beginning with a long essay on Donato Bramante, Rowe's palimpsest is to deal with the architect-as-traveller: the visitor who goes out of his way to see the works of other architects and painters (and because since architecture is about ideas and theories, Rowe gives the representation of architecture in painting the same importance as architecture that was actually built).
In describing the imaginary itinerary of Bramante from Rome to Milan some time around 1477, he allows himself to suppose that two stopping points must have been Padua and Mantua, and that in those places Bramante must have seen the frescoes and architecture of Andrea Mantegna; all of which unmasks Rowe as himself a determinist (for all his denials) because of his determination to imply that Bramante's famous Tempietto in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio was the result of his having previously seen these other projects by older architects.
Fanciful, certainly, and from an historical point of view, unacceptable because it is not supported by any documentary proof. We have in fact not the slightest idea as to what route Bramante took from Rome to Milan, and there is no evidence whatever that would permit us to think that he visited Mantua or Padua at all.
But that is how Rowe plays fast and loose with history for the sake of making a point. His erudition is limitless as he assembles notional evidence to demonstrate similarities and differences between one building and another, often widely separated in time and space, in order to suggest that architecture as creative endeavour relies on a spread of ideas, on assonances between things, on a spirit of the age that implies the existence of shared concepts and ideas even when there is no documentary evidence that there was. Rowe's evidence is the architecture itself; sifting it with forensic exactness, he builds his case that no architect operates in a vacuum and that there is a zeitgeist (one of Rowe's favourite terms) or "mood" in which all participate, of which the arts are the expression and the demonstration.
Throughout the book, as in all his other works, the illustrations play an active part and are carefully organised on a comparative basis, as evidence for the point he's making in the text.
In his lifetime, Rowe's radical approach to architectural history as evidence of the existence of currents and preoccupations sometimes caused him to be accused of unscholarliness and earned him the opprobrium of many a conventional historian; in this book, which is largely based on the lectures he delivered during his 28 years at Cornell University, we find him at his most intensely challenging and stimulating.
As compared to the determinism of conventional historians and their suppositions about the "renaissance", Colin Rowe was an intellectual giant who changed the course of architectural historiography: a subversive who exploded the whole picture of "history" and then reassembled it to make possible new readings that escape academe (for all that he was an academic) to make history into an environment of the here and now that we inhabit, here and now. He has explained this approach elsewhere (in an essay entitled "Program and Paradigm") with a quotation from T. H. Huxley: "Those who refuse to go beyond the facts rarely get as far as fact....Almost every great discovery has been made by 'the anticipation of nature', that is by the invention of hypotheses which, though verifiable, often had little foundation to start with."
This very important book must be on the shelf - or better still, on the table - of every serious architect and architectural thinker. If you are familiar with Rowe's other books and writings, this will be a wonderful addition to your Rowe library. If you're new to Rowe, this book will change the way you think - forever.