Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture Brunelleschi S Dome Is The Story Of How A Renaissance Man Bent Men, Materials, And The Very Forces Of Nature To Build An Architectural Wonder Not A Master Mason Or Carpenter, Filippo Brunelleschi Was A Goldsmith And Clock Maker Over Twenty Eight Years, He Would Dedicate Himself To Solving Puzzles Of The Dome S Construction In The Process, He Did Nothing Less Than Reinvent The Field Of Architecture He Engineered The Perfect Placement Of Brick And Stone Some Among The Most Renowned Machines Of The Renaissance To Carry An Estimated Seventy Million Pounds Hundreds Of Feet Into The Air, And Designed The Workers Platforms And Routines So Carefully That Only One Man Died During The Decades Of Construction This Drama Was Played Out Amid Plagues, Wars, Political Feuds, And The Intellectual Ferments Of Renaissance Florence Events Ross King Weaves Into A Story To Great Effect An American Library Association Best Book Of The Year Boston Globe An Absorbing Tale Los Angeles Times Ross King Has A Knack For Explaining Complicated Processes In A Manner That Is Not Only Lucid But Downright Intriguing Fascinating

See this thread for information.Ross King born July 16, 1962 is a Canadian novelist and non fiction writer He began his career by writing two works of historical fiction in the 1990s, later turning to non fiction, and has since written several critically acclaimed and best selling historical works.King was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada and was raised in the nearby village of North Portal He received his undergraduate university education at the University of Regina, where in 1984 he completed a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in English Literature Continuing his studies at the University of Regina, he received a Master of Arts degree in 1986 upon completing a thesis on the poet T.S Eliot Later he achieved a Ph.D from York University in Toronto 1992 , where he specialized eighteenth century English literature.King moved to England to take up a position as a post doctoral research fellow at University College, London It was at this time that he began writing his first novel.For Michelangelo and the Pope s Ceiling, King was nominated in 2003 for a National Book Critics Circle Award Brunelleschi s Dome was on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the recipient of several awards including the 2000 Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year.He lectures frequently in both Europe and North America, and has given guided tours of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.King currently lives in Woodstock, England with his wife Melanie

[Read] ➵ Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture ➼ Ross King –
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
  • Ross King
  • English
  • 14 December 2019
  • 9780142000151

10 thoughts on “Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

  1. says:

    I read this book about a year before six of us traveled to Italy A fantastic book from engineering, history of the Renaissance, and history of architecture viewpoints Having read the book, I knew we had to visit Florence and climb up to the top of il Duomo I spent many weeks before we left walking up and down two flights of stairs in our house to prepare myself It was a wonderful experience, a great view from up there the Duomo that is, not the top of my stairs.If you ever visit Italy, do not miss Florence, and take a walk to the top of the dome if you are able It really isn t too hard, the only one of our group who didn t make the trek was one person who didn t like heights Of course I was the only one who had prepared I like to think that it was at least a little easier for me than it was for the others following photos taken 6 September 2007 Click any photo for a somewhat enlarged view the interior of the domeBegun by Vasari in 1568, completed by Federico Zuccari in 1579 This work, representing The Last Judgement, was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici, and extends over 3600 sq meters of the dome s interior il Duomo In this photo 7 September 2007 , taken from across the Arno in the Giardino Bardini, the visitors walkway at the top of the dome above the rust colored segments can be seen People are visible, though none of those people include the photographer, unless something very strange occurred The rest of the photos were taken from this walkway Campanile de GiottoThis marble clad bell tower lies just off the south west corner of the cathedral, maybe 10 20 yards away but is farther away than that from il Duomo, which is at the east end of the cathedral The tower was begun in 1334, and completed in 1359 The design is by Giotto di Bondone, a painter who in his later years took up architecture He is held, along with Brunelleschi, as one of the founding fathers of Renaissance architecture Wiki Tempio MaggioreWell, the beautiful blue dome of this synagogue also called the Great Synagogue of Florence, or Tempio Maggiore Israelitico , which was built in the second half of the nineteenth century, is just the most notable feature in this photo, which looks to the east of Florence Basilica of Santa CroceThis church, associated with the Franciscans, lies about half a mile 800 m to the south east of il Dumo It is known as Tempio dell Itale Glorie, since it is the burial place of such famous Italians as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Gentile and Rossini Begun in the 1290s, it was consecrated in 1442, a century and a half later view spoiler intrepid touristsOur group of six, less the spouse of second from right, who did not ascend Hope I can be recognized through my extra 25 pounds of flab back in 2007 hide spoiler

  2. says:

    This is an account of how the monument that human ingenuity could build to itself came into being.During the 13C the prosperous Florence deemed that its small Cathedral needed than just repairs Santa Reparata was then demolished and a new and considerably larger building was commissioned to Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect who had already designed other pleasing churches in the city The new Cathedral would also drop its no longer suitable old name and take on the radiant designation of Santa Maria del Fiore Work began at the turn of the century but soon came to a halt when its designer passed away More unfortunate events followed and it was not until the very strong and wealthy Arte de la Lana the Guild of Wool Merchants undertook to give its completion a new push.That it would have to be such a guild the one who could spin stone out of yarn should be of no surprise The wealth of the city was based on the turning around and trading such golden fleece.During the calamitous 14C the fortunes of the Cathedral went through ups and downs Giotto and Pisano were there and helped the Black Death walked its scimitar other architects like Orcagna and Neri di Fioravante followed and considerably modified the original plan About one hundred years after it was begun, it was nearly finished Except for its Dome.When the design was altered the model proposed by Neri di Fioravante had won the day It was so very attractive because it seemed so very Italian It would have a huge Dome reminiscences of the glorious Roman past and would have no ugly external Gothic barbarian buttresses.What had not yet been resolved was how something of the sort could be built Its size and its elevation on relatively thin walls, were unprecedented A cross view comparing it to the also baffling Roman Pantheon speaks better than many words.Ross devotes this book to tracking how such a solution was forged And the story is fascinating He starts with the Competition that again the Arte de la Lana, who was still spinning the functioning of the city, opened up to the public He expands on the rivalry between the two geniuses who have become the most famous contenders of the Italian Renaissance Ghiberti and Brunelleschi had to measure each other up repeatedly during those years, first with the Baptistery doors and then with any new of the many commissions that were stemming out of that vibrant city These two had the required invective and dexterous mind.Ross then proceeds to tell us how Brunelleschi solved the problems similarly to the way Brunelleschi himself revealed them That is, gradually stone by stone, or chapter by chapter If Brunelleschi feared plagiarism, Ross seems concerned with losing the narrative interest.Ross then does not present the architectural scheme as it stands, and he prefers to unveil in installments about what made the dome possible the double shells the inadequacy of wood centering the octagonal crossings and ribs the pointed fifth arch the side chains as braces around the ribs variation in the density of materials the herringbone brickwork internal trusses, etc This approach has somewhat dampened a clear representation of how it all holds together But in so doing Ross succeeds in showing how each small advance was fraught with difficulty and considerable danger He engagingly elaborates on these temporary uncertainties, obstacles and technological problems and on the very many additional ingenious solutions that Brunelleschi devised For these were not just a few All the practicalities in the actual building, to the smallest detail, had to be contended by Brunelleschi, the capo maestro He devised his ox hoist the Castello or novel crane the lantern hoist the hidden staircase in between the double shell, amongst others Brunelleschi s training in clock making clearly helped him to keep his pace.For he finished it He also had time to design the Lantern as well, although he did not see its completion since he died soon after it was begun, in 1446 The ceremony of its consecration has also passed into history The population felt as if they were witnessing a miracle The heavenly motet that Guillaume Dufay composed especially for this occasion, Nupem Rosarum Flores, must have been conducive for the mystical reception in the congregation Later, the celestial frescoes designed by Giorgio Vasari completed the embellishment of such a realized impossibility.And even if Ross writing reminded me somewhat of the style of guidebooks, or had the taste of isolated research, or irritated at times for not giving of the original Italian names and adapting the material too much for an easy reading, he does succeed in bringing forth Brunelleschi s extraordinary achievement.Apart from all the technical details and all the circumstantial considerations, what this Dome by Brunelleschi proves to us is that there was new faith in the power of the individual who had a complete confidence in his own human capabilities.It was not just the Dome it was that conviction of himself and of his own ingenuity that was so very new And if any one feels like climbing up the than 450 steps of the dome from his her armchair, there is is this fun video by someone who got inspired by this very bookhttps watch v ohB1s

  3. says:

    Updated July 17, 2013 added image and linksAt the height of the Renaissance in Florence a competition was announced The cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore had been under construction for than a century, but no one knew how to construct the massive dome that was called for in the original design, a design from which the city rulers were loathe to depart The task was widely considered impossible, but Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and clockmaker, submitted a construction plan that was breathtaking in its radicalism His achievement revolutionized architecture In dedicating his life to this project, he had, of necessity to invent hoists and cranes of extremely original design to perform tasks never before mechanized The dome remains aloft today, still one of the largest on earth The book is interesting and offers a nice picture of some aspects of life in the fifteenth century The subculture of high end artistes of the time, the warfare between city states, impact of the plagueThe photo was taken from the Getty Museum siteP 14 The Black Death was a faithful visitor to Florence It arrived, on average, once every ten years, always in the summer.Various remedies were tried to drive it away Church bells were violently rung, firearms discharged into the air, and the portrait of the Virgin from the church at nearby Impruneta an image with miraculous powers that was said to have been painted by Saint Luke borne in procession through the streets Those rich enough escaped into the country Those who stayed behind burned wormwood, juniper and lavender in their hearths Ox horns and lumps of sulfur were also burned, because stenches were considered equally effective in clearing the air So intense were these fumigations that sparrows would fall dead from the rooftops.P 34Perspective is the method of representing three dimensional objects in recession on a two dimensional surface in order to give the same impression of relative position, size, or distance as the actual objects do when viewed from a particular point Filippo is generally regarded as its inventor, the one who discovered or rediscovered its mathematical laws For example, he worked out the principle of the vanishing point, which was known to the Greeks and Romans but, like so much other knowledge, had long since been lost P 71Freshly cut from a quarry, limestone and sandstone smell of rotten eggs, and the stronger this sulfurous stench, the better the quality of the stone P 121In 1492 Filippo Maria captured both Brescia and Genoa, and a year later seized the town of Forli, only 50 miles from Florence The following year, as plague raged through Tuscany, his forces defeated the Florentines at Zagonara, in Romagna There were only three casualties, all Florentine soldiers who fell from their horses and drowned on the battlefield in their heavy plate armor it had rained heavily in Zagonara the night before This lack of bloodshed shows that warfare in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, contrary to popular conceptions, could be reasonably civilized Most battles resembled chess matches in which opposing commanders sought to outmaneuver each other, the loser being the one who conceded that his position was technically vulnerable These engagements were fought by mercenaries who settled the terms of warfare in advance, rather like sportsmen deciding the rules of the game EXTRA STUFFA small web site dedicated to the domeHere is a nifty article on Brunelleschi and the dome in the latest Feb 2014 NAtional Geographic mag You may have to sign in or sign up to actually get to the article, but NG is free

  4. says:

    I thought it was a fascinating look at a wonder of architecture and at the always interesting Middle Ages Filippo is generally recognized as the one who discovered or rediscovered the mathematical laws of perspective For example, he worked out the principle of the vanishing point, which was known to the Greeks and Romans, but, like so much other knowledge, had long since been lost Plato had actually condemned perspective as a deceit He praised the flat Egyptian art for showing figures in their true proportions This prejudice against dishonesty in art was adopted in Christian art as well Only in the first decades of the 14th century did the ancient methods of perspective reappear when Giotto began using chiaroscuro to create realistic three dimensional effects A giant hoist had to be made to lift heavy timbers and other products The rope makers were taxed to manufacture a 600 foot long rope weighing over a thousand pounds Before the dome was completed the hoist would raise aloft marble, brick, stone, and mortar weighing an estimated 70 million pounds The last act of the dome s construction was the placement of an eight foot high bronze sphere that sits atop the lantern The commission for the ball went to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio One of his young apprentices was Leonardo da Vinci Because Leonardo did some drawings of the hoist, he is often wrongly given credit for their invention The whole idea of building such an enormous dome is so difficult for me to fathom I don t think I will ever understand it fully Filippo was a master of illusion From outside, the dome looks perfectly octagonal It was actually built circle by circle Filippo was a scholar of Dante, so the dome is often compared to Dante s Heaven However, a comparison to Dante s nine circles of Hell is also apt The Florentines were inept in a battle against the duke of Milan Clergymen blamed homosexuality They thought it was destroying the city Florence was so famous for homosexuality that the German slang for sodomite at that time was Florenzer. Efforts were made to identify and prosecute homosexuals One way to end the problem was to make female prostitutes Brothels were set up everywhere The prostitutes were required to wear distinctive garb gloves, high heeled shoes, and a bell on the head But none of this helped the men in battle One way for the Pope to march safely through the streets was to have coins thrown in order to scatter the people and keep them from pressing too closely to the Holy Father It took over 16 years to complete the dome Ancient Romans had a dubious method of protecting their buildings from lightning believing that eagles and sea calves were never struck, they buried the corpses of these creatures within the walls to ward off disaster The dome is an amazing feat I will never visit Florence and visit, but I enjoyed my vicarious visit through this book.

  5. says:

    Read this book either on the flight to Italy or on the flight back Either way it will greatly enhance the pleasure you experience from visiting Florence Ross King s Brunellschi s Dome is short, easy to read and filled with delightful anecdotes It s prime merit is that it explains everything that the tourist would want to know about the design, construction techniques employed and technological innovations that were made in the building of this architectural wonder One is overwhelmed by the beauty of the Duomo when one sees it set against the Tuscan hills in the incomparable city of Florence King s book will help you appreciate the remarkable brilliance of the architectwho executed the project.

  6. says:

    A quick, popular read about the construction of the Duomo in Florence Lots of gossip, facts, technical information taken from secondary sources but not well referenced Still, an ideal preparation for, or companion to, a trip to beautiful Florence.

  7. says:

    When you stand in the Duomo in Florence and look up, even though you know the dome has been there for over 5 centuries, it s still hard to believe it stays in place It s even harder to imagine how it was constructed without supporting scaffolding Read this book and you will understand, not only the construction but also the nature of the Renaissance civilization that encouraged and financed such a miracle.

  8. says:

    Great book, fascinating history covering everything that went into the building of this amazing world landmark Architecture, art history, culture, Italian politics and drama, of course I learned a lot and was thoroughly enchanted by this book.

  9. says:

    Even the original planners of the dome had been unable to advise how their project might be completed they merely expressed a touching faith that at some point in the future God might provide a solution, and architects with a advanced knowledge would be found. I was in Florence a couple of weeks ago, and although I hadn t really noted the omission at the time, it s now oddly sad to me that at the Accademia we were told, This is Michelangelo s Statue of David , and at the Uffizi we were told, This is Botticelli s Birth of Venus , but at the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore we were told, The original architect of the church died without explaining how to build the dome you see here The church would be under construction for over a hundred years before someone came along and figured it out So while Michelangelo and Botticelli are familiar names and rightly so it is kind of sad that the someone who came along and figured out how to build this iconic dome isn t really known to history an omission or less corrected by Ross King s Brunelleschi s Dome And I only say or less because it would seem that biographical information on Brunelleschi himself is scant, making this book the story of the dome than of the man an interesting tale, but not perfectly matched to my own interests.What is known of Brunelleschi Trained as a goldsmith and clockmaker, he entered a competition to design the bronze doors of the Baptistery of Saint John When Brunelleschi was declared a co winner along with another young goldsmith, Lorenzo Ghiberti, the notoriously hot headed Brunelleschi declined to work in partnership and left Florence starting his self directed training in architecture and beginning a life long rivalry with Lorenzo Brunelleschi travelled to Rome where he studied the dome of the Pantheon and the proportions of various columns and facades , and when he returned to Florence, he reintroduced vanishing point perspective to painting When the main body of the Cathedral was nearly finished and a competition was finally opened for a plan for constructing its massive dome, Brunelleschi s design barely beat out that of Lorenzo Ghiberti, and once again, they were asked to work together This time Brunelleschi agreed, but with few of the specifics written down and many that were, recorded in a cipher Brunelleschi took control of the project, leaving Lorenzo to share the title of capomaestro in name only but why should Lorenzo care He enjoyed equal pay and was free to pursue many lucrative and prestigious projects on the side In addition to working out how to construct the huge, uniquely shaped dome without the need for props and centering devices, Brunelleschi also won every competition for the designs of the necessary hoists and cranes that would be used in the dome s construction He had many engineering successes he received the first ever invention patent , a few failures, exchanged insulting sonnets with his rivals, and died shortly after the last brick was placed on the dome and before construction began on the dome s surmounting lantern the design for which Brunelleschi also beat out Lorenzo in yet another competition In many ways, Brunelleschi was as successful, inventive, and groundbreaking as a Leonardo da Vinci, and with his greatest accomplishment dominating the skyline of Florence, it s a sad wonder to me that I ve never before heard his name even while in the shadow of a structure that still stands as the largest brick and concrete dome in the world.Like da Vinci, Brunelleschi kept ciphered notebooks, but unlike the great Leonardo, Brunelleschi was too secretive of his designs to have left behind diagrams of his greatest inventions even today, engineers have to guess at how his hoists were built guess at how he designed and inserted the various chains that are hidden within the dome s structure and balance the forces at work there If I had interest in engineering, I would probably be awestruck by what Brunelleschi achieved interested in a passage like this one The horizontal thrust of an arch or dome varies inversely with its rise, and since a pointed arch rises higher than a rounded one, it naturally generates less thrust In fact, the architects of the Cathedral of Milan believed that pointed arches produced no horizontal thrust whatsoever They were mistaken, of course, though a quinto acuto arch does generate as much as 50 per cent less radial thrust than a shallower, semicircular one It therefore requires less abutment and has a lower tendency to crack or burst at its base.Ross King is heavy on the engineering of the dome which is, I suppose, the point but I preferred the human moments I liked the idea of the original architect s large scale model having a home in the under construction Cathedral, which the wardens touched every New Year s Day while vowing, throughout the generations of construction, to follow faithfully I also like that once the dome was finally underway, this scale model then served as a lavatory for those same wardens I liked King s description of the Plague and wars that carried on throughout the dome s construction liked the description of the decimated Rome that Brunelleschi found himself in A million people had dwelled in Rome during the height of the Empire, but now the city s population was less than that of Florence The Black Death of 1348 had reduced numbers to 20,000, from which, over the next fifty years, they rose only slightly Rome had shrunk into a tiny area inside its ancient walls, retreating from the seven hills to huddle among a few streets on the bank of the Tiber across from St Peter s, whose walls were in danger of collapse Foxes and beggars roamed the filthy streets Livestock grazed in the Forum, now know as il Campo Vaccino , the Field of Cows Other monuments had suffered even worse fates The Temple of Jupiter was a dunghill, and both the Theater of Pompey and the Mausoleum of Augustus had become quarries from which ancient masonry was scavenged, some of it for buildings as far away as Westminster Abbey Many ancient statues lay in shards, half buried, while others had been burned in kilns to make quicklime or else fertilizer for the feeble crops Still others were mangers for asses and oxen The funerary monument of Agrippina the Elder, the mother of Caligula, had been turned into a measure for grain and salt. The bottom line I was a little bored by the engineering details but appreciate their importance , and while King was forced to repeatedly say, Little is known of this period in Brunelleschi s life , I was grateful that he was able to assemble what is known Brunelleschi deserves this and tour guides ought to say, This is Brunelleschi s Dome Four stars is a rounding up, only reflecting my own reading enjoyment.

  10. says:

    Brunelleschi s Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture was a fascinating look at the personal struggles and brilliance of Brunelleschi in his engineering, design and erection of the dome over the beautiful new cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore in the heart of Florence However, it had already been under construction for a century when, in 1418, a contest was announced for designs to be submitted for the construction of a dome that would vault over the cathedral However, of the many plans submitted, only one a model that offered a magnificently daring and unorthodox solution to the problem of vaulting such a large space appeared to show much promise This model, made of brick, was built not by a carpenter or mason but by a man that would make it his life s work to solve the puzzles of the dome s construction a goldsmith and clockmaker named Filippo Brunelleschi The hoist that he created was to become one of the most celebrated machines of the Renaissance, a device that would be studied and sketched by numerous other architects and engineers, including Leonard da Vinci And before the dome was complete, the hoist would raise aloft marble, brick, stone and mortar weighing an estimated 70 million pounds This is an engrossing tale of the struggles, obstacles and brilliance of one man as well as a wonderful look at the history, art and architecture in fifteenth century Florence for all who are still amazed at the awesome beauty and grandeur of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

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