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The Four Books of Architecture [Paperback]

Andrea Palladio
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 2002
The Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio was one of the most influential figures that the field of architecture has ever produced. For classical architects, the term Palladian stands for a vocabulary of architectural forms embodying perfection and beauty. Of even greater significance than Palladio's buildings is his treatise I quattro libri dell'architettura (The Four Books On Architecture), the most successful architectural treatise of the Renaissance and one of the two or three most important books in the literature of architecture. First published in Italian in 1570, it has been translated into every major Western language.This is the first English translation of Palladio in over 250 years, making it the only translation available in modern English. Until now, English-language readers have had to rely mostly on a facsimile of Isaac Ware's 1738 translation and the eighteenth-century engravings prepared for that text. This new translation by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield contains Palladio's original woodcuts, reproduced in facsimile and positioned correctly, adjacent to the text. The book also contains a glossary that explains technical terms in their original context, a bibliography of recent Palladio research, and an introduction to Palladio and his times.The First Book discusses building materials and techniques, as well as the five orders of architecture: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. Palladio describes the characteristics of each order and illustrates them. The Second Book discusses private town houses and country estates, almost all designed by Palladio. The Third Book discusses streets, bridges, piazzas, and basilicas, most of ancient Roman origin. The Fourth Book discusses ancient Roman temples, including the Pantheon.

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The Four Books of Architecture + Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture [Books I-X ]: Bks. I-X + The Classical Language of Architecture (World of Art)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (2 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262661330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262661331
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.7 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Tavernor and Schofield's beautiful edition brings us...the Palladio we had always hoped to meet." John McKean Architects Journal

About the Author

Richard Schofield is Professor of Architectural History at the Instituto universitario di architettura at Venice (IUAV). He is coauthor of books on Giovanni Antonio Amadeo and Pellegrino Pellegrini. Robert Tavernor is Professor and Head of Architecture at the University of Bath and a practicing architect. His previous books include a translation (with Joseph Rykwert and Neil Leach) of Alberti's On the Art of Building in Ten Books; and Palladio and Palladianism.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Palladio was not the first to publish a book illustrating principles of classical architecture but he was the most convincing. Palladio's finely detailed, measured wood cut illustration --reproduced at a slightly smaller scale in this translation--, made the long lost principles of Roman architecture and construction easy to understand.
In his Four Books of Architecture of 1570, Andrea Palladio balanced illustrations of ancient Roman construction, that he had drawn from observing ruins, with brief, straightforward practical interpretations of historical descriptions of Roman architectural design and construction from Vitruvius's First Century BC Treatise on Roman And Greek architecture, which had been found a century before in a Swiss monastery. To this treatise on Roman architecture, Palladio added examples of his own imaginative designs to demonstrate how ancient principles of engineering, planning, construction and decoration could enhance public and private buildings of his day.
Palladio's successful Four Books were published and translated many times. They became one of the most cited references for architects in the West, where they dominated architectural studies until academic training for architects became standard in the 19th century. Variations on Palladio's designs are everywhere. Thomas Jefferson's house, Montecello, is one of the best known examples in the U.S.. Jefferson owned a copy of Palladio's 1570 edition of the Four Books.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exemplary edition 22 April 1998
By A Customer
This is one of the most important of architectural manuals. Palladio's influence was enormous; one magnificent example of American Palladianism is Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia Library; others can be found in the work of Philip Johnson. The design of The Four Books of Architecture is one of the reasons for this success. Drawings and plans fill the page, comments are sparing, invitations to use the eye and imagination as well as practical instructions. In this respect Palladio's book resembles that of the equally influential, equally visionary Paul Klee in his Pedagogical Sketchbooks. Seeing so much of his influence in public buildings, it is hard not to find the original sourcebook refreshing. I'd suggest looking through it alongside a general survey of the buildings themselves, like translator Robert Tavernor's Palladio and Palladianism (in Thames and Hudson's World of Art series). Tavernor has done his job very well. The english translation is neither anachronistic nor colloquial, but as lucid as the original. The book's designers have really done brilliantly in finding the most suitable typefaces to match Palladio's original woodcuts and in choosing a size and format, down to the weight and colour of the paper, that makes these ideas handsome and vivid now. An exemplary edition. Richard Bernas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Palladio 31 Oct 2011
By Parsley
Very good source book for traditional details, getting proportions right etc. Not sure why all those neo-georgian architects nowadays can't use this as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition, beautifully formatted 15 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was surprised when this wonderful edition turned up; for the price - this is an absolute steal, a must have for any serious reference library.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars third party delighted 12 Jan 2010
bought as a gift and thus unable to comment on the content, however the recipient was delighted with it
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