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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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The Decline of the Classical Orders

The Decline of the Classical Orders

(p.14) 1 The Decline of the Classical Orders
On the Ruins of Babel

Daniel L. Purdy

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the question of whether or not architecture can be counted as an art or a science. Such an issue arose from a growing trend of skepticism for Renaissance theories of beauty. By the middle of the eighteenth century, critics even questioned the more basic proposition espoused by Vitruvius that the proportions that defined beautiful architecture were modeled on the human body. A Renaissance architect would have scorned such an opinion against established tradition, but a new modern insistence that knowledge must be confirmed by empirical demonstrations and that beauty was necessarily subject to the whims of personal taste made such criticisms typical of the times.

Keywords:   architecture, beauty, Renaissance architect, personal taste, modern views, Vitruvius, classical orders

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