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The Art of Building in the Classical World
Vision, Craftsmanship, and Linear Perspective in Greek and Roman Architecture


  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107002357

£ 67.00

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the application of drawing in the design process of classical architecture, exploring how the tools and techniques of drawing developed for architecture subsequently shaped theories of vision and representations of the universe in science and philosophy. Building on recent scholarship that examines and reconstructs the design process of classical architecture, John R. Senseney focuses on technical drawing in the building trade as a model for the expression of visual order, showing that the techniques of ancient Greek drawing actively determined concepts about the world. He argues that the uniquely Greek innovations of graphic construction determined principles that shaped the massing, special qualities and refinements of buildings and the manner in which order itself was envisioned.

    • Features new analyses of the ancient blueprints at Didyma, the design process of curvature in the Parthenon, and the Greek origins of linear perspective and scale ground plans
    • Describes how Greek architects influenced classical thought
    • Includes discussions of Plato's relationship to pictorial representation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an ambitious book, carefully edited and profusely illustrated. It is hard not to be stirred by the questions [Senseney] raises: what were the origins of Greek and Roman architectural drawings? How did drawings determine the actual outcome of a building and a city? And, did architectural drawings affect aspects of intellectual life beyond architecture?' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    'This book is a valuable contribution to a recent tradition of writings that have sought to get inside the working processes of Greek and Roman architects.' American Journal of Archaeology

    'The volume is an interesting addition to the recent literature on the art building in the Greek and Roman world.' Arctos

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107002357
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 185 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 95 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: challenges of analysis and interpretation
    1. The ideas of architecture
    2. Vision and spatial representation
    3. The genesis of scale drawing and linear perspective
    4. Architectural vision
    Excursus: envisioning cosmic mechanism in Plato and Vitruvius
    Appendix A: analysis of the dimensions of the blueprint for entasis at Didyma
    Appendix B: analysis of the hypothetical working drawing for platform curvature at Segesta
    Appendix C: analysis of the hypothetical working drawing for platform curvature in the Parthenon.

  • Author

    John R. Senseney, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    John R. Senseney is Assistant Professor of Ancient History in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research has ranged from ancient methods of surveying and planning to Plato and book culture, with publications appearing in Hesperia, Sacred Landscapes in Anatolia and Neighboring Regions, the International Journal of the Classical Tradition, and the American Journal of Archaeology.

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