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Special Lecture Mon June 1- 12.30

Library seminar room 12.30

The façade of Santa Maria Novella and the origins of normative symmetry

Michael Selzer
Abstract:  The standard account of the façade of Santa Maria Novella
explains its design in terms of Alberti’s principle of finitio and its
historical significance in terms of eurhythmia, but a fresh appraisal
proposes instead that the façade’s design reflects Alberti’s principle of
collocatio and that its historical significance lies in its role in the
establishment of bilateral symmetry as the norm in architecture. (No norm
had previously required buildings to be either asymmetric or symmetric.) As
such it is part of the context for the mistaken but prevalent view, also
first associated with Alberti, that Nature’s forms are symmetric.


May 28, 2009 Posted by | Lecture | , , , | Leave a comment