Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture

Cammy Brothers

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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. 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.

Brothers 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.

Cammy Brothers is associate professor of architecture at the University of Virginia.

"That Michelangelo's architecture evolved from his sculpture is generally acknowledged. With unprecedented precision and thoroughness, Brothers, the author of this beautiful volume with 275 aptly chosen illustrations, explains exactly how. . . . A refreshing contribution to Renaissance studies, and to Michelangelo scholarship in particular. . . . Recommended."—Choice

"This fascinating volume lets us watch genius creating itself."—Don Fry, Virginia Quarterly Review

"Highly scholarly yet smoothly readable, the text amply is supported by numerous full-page reproductions of Michelangelo's drawings, photographs of his completed projects, and carefully selected images of the work of his contemporaries, especially Sangallo. . . . By carefully retracing Michelangelo's creative path, Brothers has provided a provocative vision of an artist, an oeuvre, a mass of historical and analytical material, and a set of issues which are of timeless interest and great importance."—Julia Smyth-Pinney, Arris, the Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians

"This book is one of the most important to have appeared on Michelangelo since James Ackerman's The Architecture of Michelangelo of 1961. It is beautifully written, crisp, astute, and witty, its felicities and insights are too numerous to enumerate here, and it should be included in every course on Renaissance architecture."—Caroline Van Eck, Renaissance Quarterly

Winner of the 2010 Charles Rufus Money Book Award given by the College Art Association

Winner of the 2010 Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award presented by the Society of Architectural Historians for distinguished scholarship by a North American author in the history of architecture
ISBN: 9780300124897
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
272 pages, 9 x 11
200 b/w + 40 color illus.