This original work explores not just historical sources relating to buildings but also humanist/antiquarian texts, papal sermons/eulogies, inscriptions, frescoes and contemporary maps. An important contribution to current scholarship of early sixteenth century Rome, its urban design and architecture.
Analyzing a range of documentary and literary evidence, art and architectural historian Niall Atkinson creates an “acoustic topography” of Florence. The dissemination of official messages, the rhythm of prayer, and the murmur of rumor and gossip combined to form a soundscape that became a foundation in the creation and maintenance of the urban community just as much as the city’s physical buildings. Sound in this space triggered a wide variety of social behaviors and spatial relations: hierarchical, personal, communal, political, domestic, sexual, spiritual, and religious.
By exploring these rarely studied soundscapes, Atkinson shows Florence to be both an exceptional and an exemplary case study of urban conditions in the early modern period.
For centuries scholars have puzzled over the chapel's lavish Corinthian column screens, the crosses surrounded by Neo-Attic vine scrolls in its pedimental reliefs, and the Christian Latin inscriptions in huge Neo-Augustan block capitals from its friezes. The sixteenth-century humanists who named the building the "Tempietto del Clitunno" treated it as an ancient Roman temple that the Christians later converted. But modern art historians, learning that the Tempietto had been built from the ground up as a chapel, declared it an anomaly, the product of a most startling and unexpected Early Christian and medieval classical revival.
Emerick intervenes by critiquing the notion of classical revival in medieval architecture. Impatient with the old Enlightenment historical plot that makes the Tempietto into a dark-age prodigy, Emerick boldly redescribes the architectural record to take away the Tempietto's strangeness. He shows conclusively that the chapel's orders, pedimental reliefs, and inscriptions conform to ancient Roman Imperial Corinthian standards, but then goes on to show that just this Corinthian decorative system was frequent, even normal in festive, public, Christian cult rooms from Constantine's day down through the twelfth century.
History of style as an end in itself yields here to style treated as political phenomenon. Emerick turns to the frescoes on the Tempietto's rear apse wall for clues to the builders' political goals. He explains how grandees from the medieval Lombardo-Frankish Duchy of Spoleto, full participants in a Christian theocratic state, set up an array of Mediterranean icons inside the Tempietto to enhance their social and political control. The chapel's Corinthian decorative system, he concludes, must be integral to this political program.
The House of Medici picks up where Barbara Tuchman's Hibbert delves into the lives of the Medici family, whose legacy of increasing self-indulgence and sexual dalliance eventually led to its self-destruction. With twenty-four pages of black-and-white illustrations, this timeless saga is one of Quill's strongest-selling paperbacks.