Cloth $62.00 ISBN: 9780226327839 Published March 2001
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226327846 Published December 2002

Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque

George L. Hersey

Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque
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George L. Hersey

284 pages | 52 color plates, 106 halftones, 52 line drawings, 2 tables | 7 x 9 | © 2001
Cloth $62.00 ISBN: 9780226327839 Published March 2001
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226327846 Published December 2002
The age of the Baroque—a time when great strides were made in science and mathematics—witnessed the construction of some of the world's most magnificent buildings. What did the work of great architects such as Bernini, Blondel, Guarini, and Wren have to do with Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Desargues, and Newton? Here, George Hersey explores the ways in which Baroque architecture, with its dramatic shapes and playful experimentation with classical forms, reflects the scientific thinking of the time. He introduces us to a concept of geometry that encompassed much more than the science we know today, one that included geometrics (number and shape games), as well as the art of geomancy, or magic and prophecy using shapes and numbers.

Hersey first concentrates on specific problems in geometry and architectural design. He then explores the affinities between musical chords and several types of architectural form. He turns to advances in optics, such as artificial lenses and magic lanterns, to show how architects incorporated light, a heavenly emanation, into their impressive domes. With ample illustrations and lucid, witty language, Hersey shows how abstract ideas were transformed into visual, tactile form—the epicycles of the cosmos, the sexual mystique surrounding the cube, and the imperfections of heavenly bodies. Some two centuries later, he finds that the geometric principles of the Baroque resonate, often unexpectedly, in the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. A discussion of these surprising links to the past rounds out this brilliant reexamination of some of the long-forgotten beliefs and practices that helped produce some of Europe's greatest masterpieces.
Contents
1. INTRODUCTION
Baroque Architecture and Baroque Geometry; Effable Shapes; Square-Based Proportion; Effable Number Sequences; The Golden Section Sequence; The Fibonacci Sequence; Heavenly Fabrics
2. FROZEN MUSIC
Modular Music; Planetary Music; Angel Music; Architectural Acoustics; Sounding Boxes for Preachers; Blondel: The Attic Bass; Consonance and Dissonance; Spatial Triads; The Music of Bernini's Baldacchino
3. THE LIGHT OF UNSEEN WORLDS
Number, Light, and Music; Projecting Images; The Eye; Lenses and Reflectors; Microscopes, Telescopes, and Magic Lanterns; Optical Domes and Lanterns; St. Peter's; The Invalides; St. Paul's; The Paris Panthéon; Armillary Spheres and Orreries; Boullé's Newton Tomb; St. Bride's, Fleet Street
4. CUBICES RATIONES
Engendering Geometry; "Congruence" or Tilling; The Cube and Its Progeny; Pregnant Platonic Solids; Rhombic and Archimedean Solids
5. SYMMETRIES
What is Symmetry? What Has Symmetry Been? Reflective Symmetry; Translatory Symmetry; Glide Symmetry; Wallpaper Symmetry; Further Advances of the Nine-Square Lattice; Spiral Symmetries
6. STRETCHED CIRCLES AND SQUEEZED SPHERES
The Beauties of Distortion; Ovals, Ellipses, Parabolas, and Hyperbolas; Borromini; St. Peter's Colonnade; Blondel's Parabolic and Hyperbolic Openings; Squeezed Spheres; Packed Paraboloids
7. PROJECTION
Projective Geometry; Descartes's Lattice; The Costruzione Legittima; Girard Desargues's Perspective; Desargues's Geometry; Shadow Projection; Projection in Military Architecture; Projection and Spiral Stairs
8. EPICYCLES
Epicycles (and Epicycloids); Epicyclic Architecture; Eccentric Epicycles; Elliptical Epicycles; Broken Symmetry
9. UNFORGOTTEN LORE
Geometry in the Twentieth Century; Frank Lloyd Wright; Le Corbusier; The Modulor Man; The Other Fathers of the Modulor Man; Modulor Lattices
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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