A Clearing In the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and by Witold Rybczynski

By Witold Rybczynski

In a super collaboration among author and topic, Witold Rybczynski, the bestselling writer of Home and town Life, illuminates Frederick legislation Olmsted's position as a huge cultural determine on the epicenter of nineteenth-century American history.

We understand Olmsted in the course of the actual legacy of his gorgeous landscapes — between them, New York's valuable Park, California's Stanford college campus, and Boston's again Bay Fens. yet Olmsted's contemporaries knew a guy of much more terribly diversified abilities. Born in 1822, he traveled to China on a service provider send on the age of twenty-one. He cofounded The Nation journal and was once an early voice opposed to slavery. He controlled California's greatest gold mine and, throughout the Civil conflict, served because the govt secretary to the USA Sanitary fee, the precursor of the crimson Cross.

Rybczynski's ardour for his topic and his realizing of Olmsted's gigantic complexity and accomplishments make his e-book a victorious paintings. In A Clearing within the Distance, the tale of an exceptional nineteenth-century American turns into an highbrow event.

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Extra resources for A Clearing In the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century

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For historians of art and architectural alike, Vasari has continued to shape the historical treatment of the figure of the ‘architect-as-artist’: the figure whose artistic formation and internal motivations offer insight into their artistic life, which is in turn documented by their art. 11 As obsolete as this model for understanding art historically has become, within its parameters we find a series of principles that shaped, to an extent, the early manifestations of what we could think of as a modern architectural historiography, independent from art history, or mostly so.

The nascent state held the promise of the classic, just as the baroque traced its deterioration. The question embedded in the introduction of Renaissance und Barock follows this logic: how did we go from Raphael and Michelangelo to Maderno and Borromini in a few short decades? For Wölfflin, ‘baroque’ is a stylistic epithet coloured by its derogatory heritage, denoting that which is overwrought and super-exuberant, just as ‘Renaissance’ takes on the celebratory tone given it by Burckhardt – the rebirth of an ancient model, sure of its principles and close to a beautiful ideal.

The analytical strategies and conceptual devices of ‘classic’ cultural history gave rise in the early twentieth century to a range of historiographical approaches to writing on architecture that combined empirical study, philology and intellectual adventurousness. 49 A modern discipline? The widespread emergence by the middle of the twentieth century of architectural history as a distinct field of study reflected many decades of institutional and intellectual consolidation. As an academic field, architectural history relied upon the emergence of architecture as a subject of historical, scientific study in the mode of the cultural sciences, informed by architecture’s technical specificities and the professional nature of the audience for the books, articles and lectures of architectural historians.

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