Review Of "Baldassare Longhena And Venetian Baroque Architecture", Revised Edition, By A. Hopkins

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This volume on Longhena's architecture, a revised edition in English of the 2006 Italian edition, is illustrated with some 350 beautiful photographs and archival drawings. Chapter 2 discusses the glorious S. Maria della Salute, and chapter 5, the Palaces Rezzonico and Pesaro. Hopkins (Univ. of L'Aquila, Italy) looks at grand stairs for libraries in chapter 3; altars, tabernacles, tombs, memorials, and lesser-known churches (the Scalzi, or S. Maria di Nazareth, among them) in chapter 4; and the architect's place in Venice's Greek community in chapter 6. Hopkins, an authority on Longhena for the last 20 years, painstakingly chronicles the web of the architect's patronage and his works' tangled construction histories, providing a vast fund of invaluable information but also making the reading arduous for general readers. The minutiae do not quite coalesce into well-articulated architectural characterizations. Still, by shedding light on the heretofore overlooked polychrome designs from the artist's later career, this volume makes readers aware of the splendor of full Baroque in Venice, fulfilling what the author sets out to do (chapter 1). It will be useful for specialists; the telling illustrations are of value for others. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.


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