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The Hermit's Hut offers an original insight into the profound relationship between architecture and asceticism. Although architecture continually responds to ascetic compulsions, as in its frequent encounter with the question of excess and less, it is typically considered separate from asceticism. In contrast, this innovative book explores the rich and mutual ways in which asceticism and architecture are played out in each other's practices. The question of asceticism is also considered-as neither a religious discourse nor a specific cultural tradition but as a perennial issue in the practice of culture. The work convincingly traces the influences from early Indian asceticism to Zen Buddhism to the Japanese teahouse-the latter opening the door to modern minimalism. As the book's title suggests, the protagonist of the narrative is the nondescript hermit's hut. Relying primarily on Buddhist materials, the author provides a complex narrative that stems from this simple structure, showing how the significance of the hut resonates widely and how the question of dwelling is central to ascetic imagination. In exploring the conjunctions of architecture and asceticism, he breaks new ground by presenting ascetic practice as fundamentally an architectural project, namely the fabrication of a "last" hut. Through the conception of the last hut, he looks at the ascetic challenge of arriving at the edge of civilization and its echoes in the architectural quest for minimalism. The most vivid example comes from a well-known Buddhist text where the Buddha describes the ultimate ascetic moment, or nirvana, in cataclysmic terms using architectural metaphors: "The roof-rafters will be shattered", the Buddha declares, and the architect will "no longer build the house again". As the book compellingly shows, the physiological and spiritual transformation of the body is deeply intertwined with the art of building. The Hermit's Hut weaves together the fields of architecture, anthropology, religion, and philosophy to offer multidisciplinary and historical insights. Written in an engaging and accessible manner, it will appeal to readers with diverse interests and in a variety of disciplines-whether one is interested in the history of ascetic architecture in India, the concept of "home" in ancient India, or the theme of the body as building.
Santa Maria di Firenze, an ancient, venerable Benedictine abbey (called the Badia) located in the heart of Florence, is the subject of Anne Leader s new book. In 1418, 17 Benedictine monks journeyed to Florence from Padua to save one of their order's oldest houses from ruin. Realizing that reformed spiritual practice alone would not save the Badia, Abbott Gomezio di Giovanni commissioned the creation of a new cloister, to be decorated with vivid and engaging frescoes designed to motivate its residents. Leader s richly illustrated, interdisciplinary study examines the Badia during this crucial period of reform and rebirth. It reveals the renovated Badia as integral to the spiritual, political, and social life of early Renaissance Florence, as well as to the broader program of expanding Benedictine Observance throughout Italy."
The patronage of Benedictine art and architecture, and the circumstances that made it possible and desirable, reveal much about the ambitions, beliefs and allegiances of both the order and those who interacted with it; moreover, analysis of such patronage also improves our understanding of some of the most important and beautiful buildings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and other artefacts surviving from the middle ages.In this survey, focussing on the Benedictine monasteries and nunneries in south-west England (including Glastonbury) during the 240 years leading up to the dissolution of the religious orders under Henry VIII, the author discusses the question in terms of "internal" practice, initiated by Benedictine monks and nuns, and "external" practice, for which non-monastic agents were responsible; and analyses the historical circumstances affecting the commission and the purchase of art and architecture. Throughout, he takes care to situate the study of buildings and their embellishment within the broader context of Benedictine culture. The text is lavishly illustrated with forty-five black and white plates of art, architecture and documents, many of which have not previously been reproduced. Dr JULIAN M. LUXFORD is Senior Lecturer at the School of Art History, St Andrews University.
Old Order Mennonites are deeply faithful, agrarian-rooted, Swiss-German Anabaptists who have called Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, home for 300 years. Their meetinghouses silently embody their religious traditions, and yet few outsiders have seen the startling utilitarian beauty of these rural structures up close. The author and photographer were allowed rare access to 22 austere houses of worship. The result is a one-of-a-kind book featuring over 300 photos and diagrams that document all aspects of the meetinghouses, from the design of their benches and buggy sheds to the arrangement of tables central to worship. As fast-growing Lancaster County encroaches on the Old Order way of life, their communities are changing. This book is a record of an extraordinary religious heritage.
A testament to the people who built them, churches represent shared religious beliefs, local craftsmanship, and community. Members of the congregations often constructed these buildings from readily available materials to fulfill their visions of faith, education, and fellowship. Over time, congregations grew, and some hired architects to erect high style churches on the prairie. From simple wood structures to large stone edifices, each building embodies the identity of its worshippers. Over the course of several years and many summer-time trips across South Dakota, Robert W. Sebesta photographed more than six hundred religious buildings built from 1869 to 1930 - many still in use, others long neglected. In Early Churches in South Dakota, he details, decade-by-decade, the early efforts to create these places of worship and the modern-day struggles to preserve them.
The Chapel of St John the Baptist is a unique masterpiece of European art, with enormous historical, cultural and artistic importance. It was constructed in its entirety in Rome in the 1740s for a commission by the Portuguese monarch King John V, partially shown at the pontifical city (in 1747 and 1749) and then reassembled in the Church of Sao Roque in Lisbon. This is a complete and comprehensive study of the chapel, encompassing its design and construction, as well as the extraordinary collections within. Magnificently illustrated with a stunning selection of photographs, this beautiful volume brings together the studies of a number of experts on the chapel's architecture, sculpture, mosaics, metalwork and outstanding collections of silver, textiles, furniture and books. Specialist and non-specialist alike will not fail to be captivated by the extraordinary beauty of this unparalleled architectural and artistic creation.
Artist Eugenia Balcells explores color and light as an artistic expression. FREQUENCIES is the catalogue that accompanies a new exhibition project by the artist Eugnia Balcells on some perceptive aspects of energy: light and colour. FREQUENCIES is a book that wants to be faithful to the screens on which the images of the multimedia installations Colour wheel, Labyrinth, Marble and Frequencies are projected. It is a book that allows us to slowly study the flow of the colour spectrum that defines the geometry of everything that exists. FREQUENCIES is both a visual source of knowledge and a collection of reflections on the communicative capacity of art and sciences.
From its days as the largest city in England after London and, until the Industrial Revolution, capital of the most populous county in the country, to its current status as a major regional centre and one of the most prosperous and attractive cities in England, Norwich has a proud and distinctive identity. This extraordinary history is embodied in the buildings that have shaped the city. Norwich in 50 Buildings explores the history of this rich and vibrant community through a selection of its greatest architectural treasures. From the Norman cathedral to the twenty-first-century Forum, this study celebrates the city's architectural heritage in a new and accessible way. Author Pete Goodrum guides the reader on a tour of the city's historic buildings and modern architectural marvels.
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