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Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis

From the early Etruscan settlement on the hill of Fiesole to the thriving cultural and artistic center under the Medici rule of the Quattrocento through to the present, Florence has had a unique hold on the architectural imagination for centuries. Florence: The City and Its Architecture provides the first truly comprehensive overview of the urban history of the city, unravelling the delicately intertwined strands of politics, religion, art and social culture. Instead of a strictly chronological approach, the book is organized thematically, documenting the city’s expansion and the building of both monuments and the simplest of structures. Throughout, it reveals the influence of the city’s two dominant forces: the Church and the state. From Brunelleschi’s amazing cupola of the Duomo, to the sprawling grandeur of Palazzo Pitti, the icons as well as the architectural typologies of the Florentine landscape are analyzed in detail. Although the book emphasizes the Medieval and Renaissance periods, one section is also devoted to Florence’s modern architecture, which includes landmark buildings such as Pier Luigi Nervi’s Stadio Comunale. New, specially commissioned colour photography, original plans, contemporary drawings, and reproductions of paintings and sculpture of renowned Florentine masters exemplify the extraordinary artistic wealth of the city which, under Medici power and patronage, became the heart of the European Renaissance. The book also includes a glossary of Italian architectural terms, biographical notes on major architects and historical figures, and a foldout city map that locates the buildings discussed in the book. This is a companion publication to Venice: The City and itsArchitecture, also by Richard Goy, published by Phaidon Press in 1997.

For nearly two centuries, from the era of Dante to that of Michelangelo, the comparatively small but extremely wealthy city of Florence exerted an exceptional influence over the development of western civilization that even today remains the subject of endless study, debate and research. The inspired patronage of Cosimo and Lorenzo de Medici — and of Giovanni Rucellai and others — gave rise to seminal architectural works by Brunelleschi and Alberti. Joined by their contemporaries from the Pitti, Strozzi, and Pazzi families, the brothers also provoked a renewed study of classical philosophers and the establishment of renowned cultural academies and public libraries. It was during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that the modern Italian language of today was developed and disseminated, largely through the three-fold genius of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio.

This volume provides a comprehensive and distilled account of the urban history of Florence, from its Roman foundation to the transformations of new modes of transportation and communication of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Avoiding a conventional chronology, the book has a largely thematic organization, identifying important city zones and their modes of growth as well as the stylistic development of the principal architectural typologies. The book has approximately 350 illustrations, including both historical and newly commissioned photographs; reproductions of famous paintings, maps, and prints; and architectural plans and drawings. Among famous works shown here are the painted views of Bellotto, the eighteenth-century lithographs of Zocchi,the Medici villas painstakingly detailed by Utens, and the famous ‘della catena’ view of 1472.

This first part of the book traces the city’s history up to the nineteenth century, the decade of Italian unification. The second part identifies and analyzes in detail the two groups of monumental buildings that have long symbolized the spiritual and the political nuclei of power in Florence: the Piazza del Duomo and the ecclesiastical monuments around it, and the great civic square Piazza della Signoria, which plays the major role in Florence’s political history. The third part of the book is a typological discussion of the architecture of the city, including a brief outline of how the city’s craftsmen actually constructed its monuments, from obtaining the stone to organizing the guild system.

The discussion of Florence’s architecture includes its churches, housing, and the most famous and monumental great palaces of the Renaissance — those of the Medici, Strozzi, Rucellai and the Pazzi famalies — as well as lesser-known contemporaries and successors. Other chapters look at the development of the rural or suburban villa as a type unto itself, concentrating specifically on the many Medici villas outside Florence; and the later Baroque Palazzi, whose at times restrained facades conceal interiors of extraordinary richness and sumptuous decoration. The final part outlines the momentous changes to the city since the mid-nineteenth century, from the destruction of the walls and the ancient markets to the devastation of the bridges in 1944 and the inundation of 1966, and to reconstruction following each of these disasters. The book concludes with a survey of architecture between the wars andhighlights of the modernist period.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780714846279
Binding:
Trade Paperback
Publication date:
04/01/2006
Publisher:
PHAIDON PRESS INC
Pages:
320
Height:
1.29IN
Width:
9.84IN
Thickness:
1.25 in.
Age Range:
13 to 22
Grade Range:
8 to 17
Number of Units:
1
Illustration:
Yes
Copyright Year:
2006
UPC Code:
2800714846271
Author:
Richard Goy
Subject:
Architecture — History.
Subject:
Criticism
Subject:
Florence (Italy) Buildings, structures, etc.
Subject:
General Architecture
Subject:
Architecture — Europe.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Architecture
Subject:
Florence (Italy) History.

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