Painting in Stone - Architecture and the Poetics of Marble from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Author(s): Fabio Barry

Fine Art

A sweeping history of premodern architecture told through the material of stone

Spanning almost five millennia, Painting in Stone tells a new history of premodern architecture through the material of precious stone. Lavishly illustrated examples include the synthetic gems used to simulate Sumerian and Egyptian heavens; the marble temples and mansions of Greece and Rome; the painted palaces and polychrome marble chapels of early modern Italy; and the multimedia revival in 19th-century England. Poetry, the lens for understanding costly marbles as an artistic medium, summoned a spectrum of imaginative associations and responses, from princes and patriarchs to the populace. Three salient themes sustained this "lithic imagination": marbles as images of their own elemental substance according to premodern concepts of matter and geology; the perceived indwelling of astral light in earthly stones; and the enduring belief that colored marbles exhibited a form of natural--or divine--painting, thanks to their vivacious veining, rainbow palette, and chance images.

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780300248166
  • : Yale University Press
  • : Yale University Press
  • : 1.912
  • : November 2020
  • : 3.229 Centimeters X 22.3 Centimeters X 28.6 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 448