The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, with its great, terracotta-tiled cupola, still remains a power to astonish. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour and technical ingenuity involved in its creation. This work tells the story of how the cupola was raised.The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, with its great, terracotta-tiled cupola, still remains a power to astonish. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour and technical ingenuity involved in its creation. This work tells the story of how the cupola was raised.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-16 Walker was the hardcover publisher of Dava Sobel's sleeper smash, Longitude, and Mark Kurlansky's steady-seller Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. This brief, secondary source-based account is clearly aimed at the same lay science-cum-adventure readership. British novelist King (previously unpublished in the U.S.) compiles an elementary introduction to the story of how and why Renaissance Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) designed and oversaw the construction of the enormous dome of Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral?designing its curves so that they needed no supporting framework during construction: a major Renaissance architectural innovation. Illustrated with 26 b&w period prints, the book contains 19 chapters, some very brief. Although the result is fast moving and accessible, King overdoes the simplicity to the point that the book appears unwittingly as if it was intended for young adults. (Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo, for example, "took a dim view of marriage and women.") This book feels miles away from its actual characters, lacking the kind of dramatic flourish that would bring it fully to life. Despite direct quotes from letters and period accounts, the "would have," "may have" and "must have" sentences pile up. Still, the focus on the dome, its attendant social and architectural problems, and the solutions improvised by Brunelleschi provide enough inherent tension to carry readers along. (Oct. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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