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Title: The Italian reception of Pliny the Elder's account of architecture c. 1430-1550
Author: Fane Saunders, Peter Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 9895
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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Pliny the Elder's Naturalis historia includes a wealth of information on ancient architecture. The books on mineralogy are particularly plentiful on the subject: Books XXXIII-XXXV contain numerous entries on architectural ornament, while at the heart of Book XXXVI lies a lengthy account of Wonders of the World, fourteen of which are located in the East, eighteen in Rome. As yet, no study exists on the reception of these passages during the Italian Renaissance. This dissertation explores how and why, between roughly 1430 and 1550, humanists, antiquarians, architects and draughtsmen tapped into this rich vein of material. There were two main approaches to Pliny's account. In the mid-Quattrocento, writers tended to concentrate on the wondrous aspects of Plinian architecture. Towards the end of the century, however, perhaps in response to the publication of Vitruvius's De architectura around 1486, various attempts were made to visualise the appearance of these marvels and to understand the method of their construction. The dissertation is divided into three parts. The first, entitled `Antiquarian Studies in Rome', examines the contribution of Pliny to the Renaissance understanding of the Roman ruins. It commences in the 1440s with the three curial humanists, Flavio Biondo, Poggio Bracciolini and Giovanni Tortelli, and concludes with the works published in the 1540s by Bartolomeo Marliani and Sebastiano Serlio. The second part, `Writings on Architecture', examines the extent to which Pliny was employed by writers on architecture such as Leon Battista Alberti, Filarete and Cesare Cesariano. The third, `Architectural Drawings', begins in the early 1430s, with sketches made by Ciriaco d'Ancona of Greek monuments mentioned by Pliny, and ends around 1550, with the deaths of architects from the so-called setta sangallesca who reconstructed three of the Plinian marvels on paper
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available