1st November 2013
Text and Ruin: Reading Ancient Architecture in Renaissance Rome
This presentation considers how ancient descriptions of buildings helped shape architectural thought during the Italian Renaissance. Today, scholars tend to examine the Renaissance response to classical architecture through the prism of Vitruvius’s De architectura and the material remains of antiquity. Taking three Roman ruins as case studies, this paper suggests that artists, architects and antiquarians of the period were, in fact, inspired by a host of vivid ancient accounts.
Peter Fane-Saunders is Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. He won the 2012 Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant for research in Venice, and was Rome Fellow at the British School at Rome in 2010-2011. He received his doctorate in 2010 from the Warburg Institute, University of London. His forthcoming book, Pliny the Elder and the Emergence of Renaissance Architecture, establishes the Naturalis historia – an encyclopaedic study of the natural world by the Roman polymath Pliny the Elder – as the single most important literary source after De architectura for the Renaissance understanding of ancient architecture.