Gottfried Semper: Architect of the Nineteenth Century

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9780300066241: Gottfried Semper: Architect of the Nineteenth Century
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During his life, the German architect, scholar and political revolutionary, Gottfried Semper (1803-1879) experienced early fame, political exile from his homeland, international prominence, and seeing European architecture transformed by his influential body of ideas. In this biography Harry Mallgrave presents an account of the life, buildings and writings of the man he describes as a colossus of the 19th century.

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Living through one of the most tempestuous periods in German history--from the Napoleonic Wars through unification--Gottfried Semper produced some of the monuments of Prussian architecture: the Hoftheater at Dresden, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Hofburg Theater in Vienna. He also produced two classic works of art history: The Four Elements of Architecture and Science, Industry, and Art, which influenced contemporaries from Richard Wagner to Louis Sullivan. The tumult of 20th century Germany has more or less overwhelmed Semper's memory and reputation, so this new biography is a welcome addition to the history of 19th century architectural history. Harry Francis Mallgrave is the Willard K. Martin Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon.

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During an adventurous life, the German architect, scholar, and political revolutionary Gottfried Semper (1803-79) experienced early fame, political exile from his homeland, international prominence, and the exhilaration of seeing European architecture transformed by his influential body of ideas. In this engrossing biography of Semper - the first written on this architect - Harry Mallgrave presents a comprehensive account of the life, buildings, and writings of the man he describes as a colossus of the nineteenth century. Mallgrave weaves an engrossing saga of Semper's troubled youth, his fascination with the July Revolution in France, and his daring if somewhat imprudent voyage to a Greece wracked by civil war. He speaks of Semper's glorious design for the Dresden Hoftheater in the mid-1830s, his influence on Richard Wagner, and his plummeting fortunes after the political unrest of 1848-49. Mallgrave traces Semper's slow but determined literary resurrection that culminated with the publication of his epoch-making book on style; he follows his artistic resurrection with a monumental practice in Zurich and Vienna. By the time of his spectacular design for the second Dresden Hoftheater in the early 1870s, Semper was without architectural peer in the German-speaking countries and his ideas had pushed European architecture to the brink of Modernism.

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Mallgrave, Harry Francis
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