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Description - Reformations by Christopher Tadgell

Unprecedented in scope, this fifth volume in the Architecture in Context series traces the rediscovery of Classical ideas and the emergence of the great artists and architects of late 15th- and early 16th-century Italy that led to the cultural peak characterized as the High Renaissance.

It begins with a definition of Mannerism, the seminal development from the High Renaissance and the Baroque, associated with such dominant and influential figures as Raphael, Michelangelo, Vignola, Romano and Palladio. The political context within which Mannerism and its variants developed - from the Reformation to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War - is outlined before the major figures and achievements of Italian architecture in the period are explored in great depth and breadth. The journey then moves to France and architects and thinkers such as Pierre Lescot, Philibert de l'Orme, J.A. du Cerceau and Salomon de Brosse. These two major traditions - with the intercession of architects from the Netherlands who had ideas of their own - had a huge impact in central Europe, the ideas spreading across a vast area including modern-day Germany, Austria and Poland.

After a digression to the notably eclectic England of Elizabeth I and James I, where pioneers such as Robert Smythson were overshadowed by the towering figure of Inigo Jones, Reformations ends with a survey of architecture in the Iberian peninsula and the colonies of Spain and Portugal, where the powerful influence of the Italian masters met a strong vernacular tradition.

Profusely illustrated and with many specially drawn plans, this is a wide-ranging and detailed guide to the architecture of a period that continues to fascinate and engage us today.

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