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The Villas of Pliny from Antiquity to Posterity

Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey traces the influence of Pliny the Younger as a continuous theme throughout the history of architecture. First he looks at what Pliny considered to be the essential qualities of a villa. He then discusses the many buildings Pliny inspired: from the Renaissance estates of the Medici, to papal summer residences near Rome, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the home of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Equally important to du Prey’s study are the many designs by architects past and present that remain on paper. These imaginary restitutions of Pliny’s villas, each representative of its own epoch, trace in microcosm the evolution of the classical tradition in domestic architecture. In analyzing each project, du Prey illuminates the work of such great masters as Michelozzo, Raphael, Palladio, and Schinkel, as well as such well-known modern architects as Léon Krier, Jean-Pierre Adam, and Thomas Gordon Smith.

404 pages | 48 color plates, 159 halftones, 29 line drawings | 8-1/2 x 9-3/16 | © 1994

Architecture: History of Architecture

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: In Praise of Restitution
Introduction: Comum Tuae Meaeque Deliciae
1. Four Candid Points of a Villa
2. The Medici and Pliny
3. Ruins and Restitutions
4. From Words to Images
5. Lectures and Exhibitions
6. The Joys of Emulation
Conclusion: Amores Mei
1. Pliny’s Letter to Gallus
2. Pliny’s Letter to Apollinaris
3. Thomas Wright’s Description of His Villa
4. Known Laurentine and Tuscan Villa Restitutions
List of Abbreviations


Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
Honorable Mention

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