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Dominion of the Eye


  • 253 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 384 pages
  • Size: 253 x 203 mm
  • Weight: 1.565 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 711/.55/4551
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: NA9070 .T73 1997
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Plazas--Italy--Florence
    • City planning--Italy--Florence
    • Architecture, Medieval--Italy--Florence
    • Florence (Italy)--Buildings, structures, etc
    • Art, Medieval--Italy--Florence--Influence

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521555029 | ISBN-10: 0521555027)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published November 1997

Replaced by 9780521728256


Trachtenberg's book exmines the urban transformation of Florence in the fourteenth century. Focusing on the creation of the Piazza della Signoria and the Piazza del Duomo, he documents in engaging detail how and why urban planners, in league with the civic government, enlarged these urban spaces. Articulating the design principles that served as the foundation for these urban renewal projects, Trachtenberg's book fundamentally revises our understanding of urban planning in the early modern period, countering the received claim that rational planning begins only in the Renaissance. His book also brings a new depth of understanding to the entire visual culture of Trecento Florence, demonstrating how many of the developments in painting, sculpture and architecture of this period form the basis of the achievements of the Quattrocento, particularly the discovery of perspective. Combining both empirical and post-structuralist methods, Trachtenberg's book is among the first, if not the first, to question critically many of the assumptions that have formed the basis of scholarship of Renaissance art since the sixteenth century.


Preface; Part I. History and Theory: 1. Florence brought to historical account; 2. Toward the Trecento Florentine piazza: problematics; Part II. From Theory to Practice: 3. The Piazza del Duomo; 4. The Piazza della Signoria; Part III. Framing Urbanistic Discourse: Space, Subject and Vision in Trecento Theory and the Arts: 5. Spatial theory; 6. The spatial order of Florentine streets, monumental architecture, and the new towns; 7. Trecento pictorial perspective reconsidered; 8. Perspective in Trecento sculpture and architectural detail; 9. The Trecento fusion of the arts; 10. The architecture of painting and the multimedia tableau; 11. The role of optical and surveying theory; Part IV. On The Politics of Urbanistic Order: 12. The political logic of demolition; 13. Spatial form and political authority; 14. The symbolic power of scopic order; 15. Florentine Trecento urbanism as institutional and ideological praxis II; 16. The Florentine urbanistic 'style' as bourgeois instrumentalism; 17. Resistance and Renaissance: an afterword.


"...essential for anyone specializing in any of the visual arts, including architecture and urbanism." Choice

"This deeply revisionary study of urbanism, art, and power in early modern Florence is without question one of the most important works of architectural history to appear in many decades....Trachtenberg's exciting, highly suggestive synthesis forces us to see in new ways the profound tranformation of one of the great cities in modern Europe...." Virginia Quarterly

"engaging, forcefully written, and highly polemical book...this elegantly argued, relentlessly single-minded, and extravagantly speculative book rewards the reader with a keen appreciation of the many dialectical nuances informing trecento Florrentine urban planning." Speculum

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