This lavishly illustrated volume is the first major global history of ornament from the Middle Ages to today. Crossing historical and geographical boundaries in unprecedented ways and considering the role of ornament in both art and architecture, Histories of Ornament offers a nuanced examination that integrates medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and modern Euroamerican traditions with their Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican counterparts. At a time when ornament has re-emerged in architectural practice and is a topic of growing interest to art and architectural historians, the book reveals how the long history of ornament illuminates its global resurgence today.
Organized by thematic sections on the significance, influence, and role of ornament, the book addresses ornament's current revival in architecture, its historiography and theories, its transcontinental mobility in medieval and early modern Europe and the Middle East, and its place in the context of industrialization and modernism. Throughout, Histories of Ornament emphasizes the portability and politics of ornament, figuration versus abstraction, cross-cultural dialogues, and the constant negotiation of local and global traditions.
Featuring original essays by more than two dozen scholars from around the world, this authoritative and wide-ranging book provides an indispensable reference on the histories of ornament in a global context.
Contributors include: Michele Bacci (Fribourg University); Anna Contadini (University of London); Thomas B. F. Cummins (Harvard); Chanchal Dadlani (Wake Forest); Daniela del Pesco (Universita degli Studi Roma Tre); Vittoria Di Palma (USC); Anne Dunlop (University of Melbourne); Marzia Faietti (University of Bologna); María Judith Feliciano (independent scholar); Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU); Jonathan Hay (NYU); Christopher P. Heuer (Clark Art); Rémi Labrusse (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense); Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard); Marco Rosario Nobile (University of Palermo); Oya Pancaroğlu (Bosphorus University); Spyros Papapetros (Princeton); Alina Payne (Harvard); Antoine Picon (Harvard); David Pullins (Harvard); Jennifer L. Roberts (Harvard); David J. Roxburgh (Harvard); Hashim Sarkis (MIT); Robin Schuldenfrei (Courtauld); Avinoam Shalem (Columbia); and Gerhard Wolf (KHI, Florence).
Gülru Necipoglu is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. She is the author of The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton) and The Topkapi Scroll: Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture. Alina Payne is the Alexander P. Misheff Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and Paul E. Geier Director of Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence. She is the author of The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance and From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism.
"After its famous denunciation by Adolf Loos, ornament seemed a wasteful frivolity to most architects and designers. But that attitude has lost steam in recent years, as firms derive much of their revenue by building in places with a healthier regard for pattern and decoration. Right at the outset, this scholarly tome firmly establishes the vitality of architectural ornament today, leaving readers to peruse premodern histories after having shed their Loosian prejudice."--Metropolis
"[A] handsome book."--Peter Parker, A Magazine for RIBA Friends of Architecture
"[An] important volume . . . seamlessly edited by Necipoğlu and Payne, [the book] covers an unprecedented and stringent collection of scholarly research and reflection. It is not a history of ornament per se, but rather a rigorous and sometimes cautionary record of the history of ornament’s shifting meaning and theoretical basis. This volume assesses ornament as a legitimate aspect of designing the future built environment. It is neither elegy nor encyclopedia; the purpose instead is summed up simply in the editors’ introduction as ‘to address what ornament does [and did].’ The result is a summons to surrender preconceived notions about ornament as somehow apart from or inferior to architecture in its full range of possible expression."--Paul Gunther, Architect’s Newspaper
"Histories of Ornament will propel art historical consideration of ornament to new levels. No other volume so clearly shows the profound relevance of medieval and early modern ornament, and the surprising cross-cultural aspects of their histories, to the resurgence of interest in ornament in today's global world."--Persis Berlekamp, University of Chicago
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Jennifer Tolbert Roberts:
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Finbarr B. Flood: