Visions of Heaven
The Dome in European Architecture
, Victoria Hammond
Publication date 11/1/2005
11 x 11.5 inches (27.9 x 29.2 cm), Hardcover
192 pages, 125 color illustrations
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There's an ethereal magic to standing beneath a dome, neck craned, looking up at a vision of the heavens created by some long-ago figure of genius. From the Pantheon to the Hagia Sophia, the power of the dome seems transcen-dent. Photographer David Stephenson's magnificently kaleidoscopic images of dome interiors capture this evanescent drama, and make Visions of Heaven one of the most spectacularly beautiful books we've ever produced.
Traveling from Italy to Spain, Turkey, England, Germany, and Russia, among other countries, and photographing churches, palaces, mosques, and synagogues from the second to the early twentieth century, Stephenson's work amounts to a veritable typology of the cupola. His images present complex geometrical structures, rich stucco decorations, and elaborate paintings as they have never been seen before. Brilliantly calibrated exposures reveal details and colors that would otherwise remain hidden in these dimly lit spaces.
Visions of Heaven shows more than 120 images, including the Roman Pantheon, the Byzantine churches of Turkey, the great domes of the Renaissance, the decorative cupolas of the Baroque and the Rococo ages, and a nineteenth-century synagogue in Hungary.
David Stephenson is head of photography at the University of Tasmania School of Art, Hobart. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and published in numerous publications.
Victoria Hammond has worked as an art historian and art museum director and has curated several acclaimed nationally touring exhibitions. She has written extensively on art and historical architecture and is the award-winning author of many art catalogs and histories.
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"Stephenson's sensitive approach transforms what could have been a repetitious survey into a series of constant surprises and delights."
"The majority of the book is devoted to stunning photographs of dome interiors. Those who have had experience shooting domes know the difficulty of the task, which requres precise lighting and camera positioning. Pre-modern structures are notoriously uncooperative in this regard, rendering Stephenson's beautiful collection of photographs even more admirable. "
"A collection of more than 120 strikingly beautiful full-page images of domes by photographer Stephenson. . . . offering up the result as a meditation on this marriage of geometry and the sacred."
"Reproduced one dome per page, the selection conveys the element's evolution and astonishing range, from fresco-covered white-plaster domes in the Czech Republic to Spanish versions frantically covered with stucco foral patterns, like birthday cakes for God."
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