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Studies in the Italian Baroque

Studies in the Italian Baroque Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/oaj/article/5/2/75/1496452 by DeepDyve user on 18 September 2020 This is not a book for beginners, but a richly rewarding from under the rib on completion of a section of the vault) one for those who are already orientated to a certain degree are explained. The latter was perhaps the most difficult of all mediaeval building operations. Eventually it was as regards seventeendi-century art. However, it is superbly bypassed by the erection of vaults without falsework: the clearly written, and provides a critical inventory of what substitute was a series of stone-weighted ropes hung from there is to be seen with the best advice on what one will the tie-beams of the great timber roof, a system used in find precisely where, and its art historical significance. many of the great cathedrals of the thirteenth century. Locations are limited to streets, and there are no itineraries. Again, its advantages were multiple: a considerable saving Advice on getting in to buildings has been left out, under- in centering and boarding, and a stronger vault, for the standably since the author and visitors to Rome, and Italy, pressure of the mortar was that of the normal voussoir have to contend with inconsistent and eccentric opening action of the vault. Much of what Fitchen writes of building hours which it would be misleading to pretend to be able to techniques must be perforce speculation, but it is convin- give a reliable guide to. Footwork and persistence are cing and rational speculation. needed to cope with this. A pity that, like Wittkower's 1927 The drawings and diagrams which accompany the text edition of Baedeker, tips on ostellerie and trattorie were not are vital to its understanding. The glossary of architectural included so that the visitor in pursuit of Baroque Rome terms is similarly important for those uninitiated into the could be sure not only of tracking down artistic splendours, mysteries of trapezoidal ambulatory bays and the like. but also count on satisfying refreshment. And the bibliography on falsework literature appears The book is probably a little too big to go in most exhaustive. Some photographs of existing cathedral struc- pockets, and a bit pricey for others (could not a paperback tures would have provided further clarification, similarly be produced soon?), but the thoroughness of the contents the manuscript illustrations to which he alludes. But Fit- make it almost as much a work of reference as a guide. chen does not want specific examples to obscure the means Presumably it was considerations of size which meant that of the Gothic engineering achievement in general. This margins were trimmed to a size that would make it very study enables us to appreciate more fully the technical difficult for any but those with microscopic handwriting expertise and improvements which enabled the creative to annotate the entries. Could not some pages for notes spirit of the day to find such splendid embodiment. have been included? R.B.W. JAME S LINGWOOD Guide to Baroque Rome, Anthony Blunt, Granada Pub- Studies in the Italian Baroque, Rudolf Wittkower, lishing, 1982, 317pp. 115 Figs. £15.00 hardback Thames and Hudson, London, 1982, paperback £7.50, 304pp. 356 figs. As any visitor to Rome will appreciate, whether with delight or despair, the abundance of Baroque architecture, The publication in paperback of this collection of several of painting and sculpture to be found there more than justi- Rudolf Wittkower's most important articles on the Italian fies a guide book to itself that omits earlier and later items. Baroque, seven years after their original appearance in a That Anthony Blunt has managed to condense so much hardback edition priced beyond the reach of most students, accurate, detailed information on the subject so succinctly is timely. It is to be hoped that the other volumes of his into 317 pages is a feat in itself. Art historically the book collected papers will follow soon in paperback form. The is both up to date and takes account of an immense range articles gathered here range from his monumental 1937 of scholarship and literature, clearly the result of long study Art Bulletin article on Rainaldi, which still retains its intel- and acquaintance with the subject; and the author can lectual vigour and reminds one that Wittkower early on draw on his particular expertise for Borromini and Cortona established himself as an authority on Baroque architec- (on whom a monograph is announced as forthcoming). tural studies, to a lecture on Piranesi he gave the year be- The references to early guides and subsequent literature fore his death in 1971. It is a great boon to have items from are exemplary in that they are limited to only what is essen- very diverse, not to say sometimes difficult to get hold of, tial, and this is translated into very spare but highly prac- sources, brought together. Most of them concern major tical entries — entries such as that on S. Agnese in Agone works or major figures — Bernini and the Piazza S. Pietro, (or in Piazza Navona) are masterpieces of concision when Longhena's S. Maria della Salute, Vittone's domes, three dealing with complicated building histories, the results of pieces in Piranesi, and two fascinating papers on Borromini which are related to what can actually be seen. and Guarini as men informed by the breadth of knowl- Illustrations have been limited to contemporary and edge and astuteness of the co-author of Bom Under Saturn. early prints and drawings which show features of design Wittkower was a rare art historian who brought wide and planning that have been subsequently lost — an ex- learning, tenacious pursuit of original and illuminating cellent idea allowing fascinating confrontation of image documents and drawings, great sharpness of eye, and and building. The book is organised into alphabetical above all, originality of thought, to the study of the Baro- sections on churches, palaces, the Vatican, villas, foun- que. His Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750, conveys tains, and miscellaneous buildings, and the Alban Hills extraordinary authority and energy even in entries on the (covering Frascati, Ariccia, Castelgandolfo, Grottaferrato, most minor figures. Studies in the Italian Baroque is a worthy Genzano and Marino). An extensive critical bibliography companion and ideal complement to his larger history. is provided, and a full index of artists. An essentially schematic, but reliable account of the developments with- R.B.W. in architecture, painting and sculpture opens the book, and defines what is to be included under the rubric Baroque — from the 1620s to, in architecture, the final manifestations of barochetto in the mid-eighteenth century. TH E OXFORD ART JOURNAL — 5:2 1983 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oxford Art Journal Oxford University Press

Studies in the Italian Baroque

Oxford Art Journal , Volume 5 (2) – Jan 1, 1983

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© 1983 OLP Graphics
ISSN
0142-6540
eISSN
1741-7287
DOI
10.1093/oxartj/5.2.75-a
Publisher site
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Abstract

Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/oaj/article/5/2/75/1496452 by DeepDyve user on 18 September 2020 This is not a book for beginners, but a richly rewarding from under the rib on completion of a section of the vault) one for those who are already orientated to a certain degree are explained. The latter was perhaps the most difficult of all mediaeval building operations. Eventually it was as regards seventeendi-century art. However, it is superbly bypassed by the erection of vaults without falsework: the clearly written, and provides a critical inventory of what substitute was a series of stone-weighted ropes hung from there is to be seen with the best advice on what one will the tie-beams of the great timber roof, a system used in find precisely where, and its art historical significance. many of the great cathedrals of the thirteenth century. Locations are limited to streets, and there are no itineraries. Again, its advantages were multiple: a considerable saving Advice on getting in to buildings has been left out, under- in centering and boarding, and a stronger vault, for the standably since the author and visitors to Rome, and Italy, pressure of the mortar was that of the normal voussoir have to contend with inconsistent and eccentric opening action of the vault. Much of what Fitchen writes of building hours which it would be misleading to pretend to be able to techniques must be perforce speculation, but it is convin- give a reliable guide to. Footwork and persistence are cing and rational speculation. needed to cope with this. A pity that, like Wittkower's 1927 The drawings and diagrams which accompany the text edition of Baedeker, tips on ostellerie and trattorie were not are vital to its understanding. The glossary of architectural included so that the visitor in pursuit of Baroque Rome terms is similarly important for those uninitiated into the could be sure not only of tracking down artistic splendours, mysteries of trapezoidal ambulatory bays and the like. but also count on satisfying refreshment. And the bibliography on falsework literature appears The book is probably a little too big to go in most exhaustive. Some photographs of existing cathedral struc- pockets, and a bit pricey for others (could not a paperback tures would have provided further clarification, similarly be produced soon?), but the thoroughness of the contents the manuscript illustrations to which he alludes. But Fit- make it almost as much a work of reference as a guide. chen does not want specific examples to obscure the means Presumably it was considerations of size which meant that of the Gothic engineering achievement in general. This margins were trimmed to a size that would make it very study enables us to appreciate more fully the technical difficult for any but those with microscopic handwriting expertise and improvements which enabled the creative to annotate the entries. Could not some pages for notes spirit of the day to find such splendid embodiment. have been included? R.B.W. JAME S LINGWOOD Guide to Baroque Rome, Anthony Blunt, Granada Pub- Studies in the Italian Baroque, Rudolf Wittkower, lishing, 1982, 317pp. 115 Figs. £15.00 hardback Thames and Hudson, London, 1982, paperback £7.50, 304pp. 356 figs. As any visitor to Rome will appreciate, whether with delight or despair, the abundance of Baroque architecture, The publication in paperback of this collection of several of painting and sculpture to be found there more than justi- Rudolf Wittkower's most important articles on the Italian fies a guide book to itself that omits earlier and later items. Baroque, seven years after their original appearance in a That Anthony Blunt has managed to condense so much hardback edition priced beyond the reach of most students, accurate, detailed information on the subject so succinctly is timely. It is to be hoped that the other volumes of his into 317 pages is a feat in itself. Art historically the book collected papers will follow soon in paperback form. The is both up to date and takes account of an immense range articles gathered here range from his monumental 1937 of scholarship and literature, clearly the result of long study Art Bulletin article on Rainaldi, which still retains its intel- and acquaintance with the subject; and the author can lectual vigour and reminds one that Wittkower early on draw on his particular expertise for Borromini and Cortona established himself as an authority on Baroque architec- (on whom a monograph is announced as forthcoming). tural studies, to a lecture on Piranesi he gave the year be- The references to early guides and subsequent literature fore his death in 1971. It is a great boon to have items from are exemplary in that they are limited to only what is essen- very diverse, not to say sometimes difficult to get hold of, tial, and this is translated into very spare but highly prac- sources, brought together. Most of them concern major tical entries — entries such as that on S. Agnese in Agone works or major figures — Bernini and the Piazza S. Pietro, (or in Piazza Navona) are masterpieces of concision when Longhena's S. Maria della Salute, Vittone's domes, three dealing with complicated building histories, the results of pieces in Piranesi, and two fascinating papers on Borromini which are related to what can actually be seen. and Guarini as men informed by the breadth of knowl- Illustrations have been limited to contemporary and edge and astuteness of the co-author of Bom Under Saturn. early prints and drawings which show features of design Wittkower was a rare art historian who brought wide and planning that have been subsequently lost — an ex- learning, tenacious pursuit of original and illuminating cellent idea allowing fascinating confrontation of image documents and drawings, great sharpness of eye, and and building. The book is organised into alphabetical above all, originality of thought, to the study of the Baro- sections on churches, palaces, the Vatican, villas, foun- que. His Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750, conveys tains, and miscellaneous buildings, and the Alban Hills extraordinary authority and energy even in entries on the (covering Frascati, Ariccia, Castelgandolfo, Grottaferrato, most minor figures. Studies in the Italian Baroque is a worthy Genzano and Marino). An extensive critical bibliography companion and ideal complement to his larger history. is provided, and a full index of artists. An essentially schematic, but reliable account of the developments with- R.B.W. in architecture, painting and sculpture opens the book, and defines what is to be included under the rubric Baroque — from the 1620s to, in architecture, the final manifestations of barochetto in the mid-eighteenth century. TH E OXFORD ART JOURNAL — 5:2 1983

Journal

Oxford Art JournalOxford University Press

Published: Jan 1, 1983

There are no references for this article.