Christine Smith is a professor of architectural history at the Harvard Design School. She is the author of Architecture in the Culture of Early Humanism: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Eloquence, 1400-1470.
Before and After the End of Time: Architecture and the Year 1000
by Christine Smith
Paperback, 128 pages
$22.50 (Can $25.50)
The end of the world—and of time—was expected by many to occur in the year 1000. This was based on references in the Bible, which also described in considerable architectural detail the Heavenly City of Jerusalem that was to come. The essays in this book look at the contrast between the heavenly architecture of prophecy and the Romanesque architecture that did appear. At the turn of the first millennium, spiritual and historical notions of time were held simultaneously. The powerful imagery of an ideal, translucent kingdom of heaven permeated the European imagination at the same time that the massive style of Romanesque architecture began to flourish. The essay "The Human Architect..." serves as an excellent introduction to Romanesque architecture with its revival of cut-stone masonry and the technological revolution it began. It delineates its links to classical antiquity and points out its innovations. Other essays focus on references to God as the divine architect, on the precious stones of which the Heavenly City is built, architectural photography, and the influences of both Romanesque architecture and the imagery of the ideal city on architects and scholars. They bring to life some of the most powerful and enduring ideas in western European cultural tradition. This book is illustrated throughout in color and black and white. Numerous photographs, drawings, and plans illustrate the exteriors, interiors, and sculptural details of Romanesque architecture. A series of lithographs from Odilon Redon's Apocalypse series evoke the Medieval imagination. 30 color illustrations, 51 black-and-white illustrations.