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Painting in Stone: Architecture and the Poetics of Marble from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Author/EditorBarry, Fabio (Author)
ISBN: 9780300248173
Pub Date07/12/2021
BindingPaperback
Pages432
Dimensions (mm)279(h) * 216(w) * 25(d)
A sweeping history of premodern architecture told through the material of stone
$44.22
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A sweeping history of premodern architecture told through the material of stone

Spanning almost five millennia, Painting in Stone tells a new history of premodern architecture through the material of precious stone. Lavishly illustrated examples include the synthetic gems used to simulate Sumerian and Egyptian heavens; the marble temples and mansions of Greece and Rome; the painted palaces and polychrome marble chapels of early modern Italy; and the multimedia revival in 19th-century England. Poetry, the lens for understanding costly marbles as an artistic medium, summoned a spectrum of imaginative associations and responses, from princes and patriarchs to the populace. Three salient themes sustained this "lithic imagination": marbles as images of their own elemental substance according to premodern concepts of matter and geology; the perceived indwelling of astral light in earthly stones; and the enduring belief that colored marbles exhibited a form of natural-or divine-painting, thanks to their vivacious veining, rainbow palette, and chance images.

A sweeping history of premodern architecture told through the material of stone

Spanning almost five millennia, Painting in Stone tells a new history of premodern architecture through the material of precious stone. Lavishly illustrated examples include the synthetic gems used to simulate Sumerian and Egyptian heavens; the marble temples and mansions of Greece and Rome; the painted palaces and polychrome marble chapels of early modern Italy; and the multimedia revival in 19th-century England. Poetry, the lens for understanding costly marbles as an artistic medium, summoned a spectrum of imaginative associations and responses, from princes and patriarchs to the populace. Three salient themes sustained this "lithic imagination": marbles as images of their own elemental substance according to premodern concepts of matter and geology; the perceived indwelling of astral light in earthly stones; and the enduring belief that colored marbles exhibited a form of natural-or divine-painting, thanks to their vivacious veining, rainbow palette, and chance images.

Fabio Barry is assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University.

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