The Dancing Column: On Order in Architecture

ISBN: 9780262181709
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Joseph Rykwert
Format: hardback
Year published: 1996
Publisher: MIT
Publisher Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Total Pages: 598
Illustrations: Illustrated in black and white throughout


1 available

The Dancing Column provides a new critical examination of the way the classical orders, which have dominated Western architecture for nearly three millennia, were first formulated. Rykwert opens with a review of their consequence for the leading architects of the twentieth century, and then traces ideas related to them in accounts of sacred antiquity and in scientific doctrines of humor and character. The body-column metaphor is traced in archaeological material from Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Levant, as well as from Greece, drawing on recent accounts by historians of Greek religion and society as well as the latest discoveries of archaeologists. Perhaps most important, Rykwert reexamines its significance for the formation of any theoretical view of architecture. Chapters cover an astonishing breadth of material, including the notions of a set number and a proportional as well as an ornamental rule of the orders; the theological-philosophical “interpretatio Christiana” of antiquity on which the domination of the orders relied; the astrological and geometrical canon of the human figure; gender and column; the body as a constantly refashioned cultural product; the Greek temple building and the nature of cult; and the endurance of ornamental forms and the function of symbols.

Good condition book in good condition dust jacket. One minor tear to dust jacket at top of spine.


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