Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture

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Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture

Cammy Brothers

Publisher: Yale University PressFormat: Hardcover

Michelangelo's fame as a painter and sculptor tends to eclipse his reputation as an architect, but his impact here was just as profound. In this engaging and handsome book, Cammy Brothers takes an unusual approach to Michelangelo's architectural designs, arguing that they are best understood in terms of his experience as a painter and sculptor. Our own conception of architecture as a practice dependent on the formulation of new ideas through drawing, and our image of the flash of brilliance embodied in the quick sketch, have their roots in methods and functions defined by Michelangelo. Unlike previous studies, which have focused on the built projects and considered the drawings only insofar as they illuminate those buildings, this book analyses his designs as an independent source of insight into the mechanisms of Michelangelo's imagination. Brothers gives equal weight to the unbuilt designs, and suggests that some of Michelangelo's most radical ideas remained on paper. By following the steps by which Michelangelo arrived at his extraordinary inventions, the author questions conventional notions of spontaneity as a function of genius.Rather, she explores the idea of drawing as a mode of thinking, using its evidence to reconstruct the process by which Michelangelo arrived at new ideas. By turning the flexibility and fluidity of his figurative drawing methods to the subject of architecture, Michelangelo demonstrated how it could match the expressive possibilities of painting and sculpture.

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