Measuring Heaven: Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism in Art and Architecture

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Overview

Surviving fragments of information about Pythagoras (born ca. 570 BCE) gave rise to a growing set of legends about this famous sage and his followers, whose reputations throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages have never before been studied systematically. This book is the first to examine the unified concepts of harmony, proportion, form, and order that were attributed to Pythagoras in the millennium after his death and the important developments to which they led in art, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, music, medicine, morals, religion, law, alchemy, and the occult sciences. In this profusely illustrated book, Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier sets out the panorama of Pythagoras's influence and that of Christian and Jewish thinkers who followed his ideas in the Greek, Roman, early Christian, and medieval worlds. In illuminating this tradition of thought, Joost-Gaugier shows how the influence of Pythagoreanism was far broader than is usually realized, and that it affected the development of ancient and medieval art and architecture from Greek and Roman temples to Gothic cathedrals.Joost-Gaugier demonstrates that Pythagoreanism—centered on the dim memory of a single person that endured for centuries and grew ever-greater—inspired a new language for artists and architects, enabling them to be "modern."
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Editorial Reviews

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"This is intellectual history of a very high order that will also be useful for general readers. . . . highly recommended."—Choice

"Joost-Gaugier's summaries of historical sources about Pythagoras are useful in outlining and appreciating the multidisciplinary history of Pythagorean influence over the last two and a half millennia."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"A book of this magnitude on Pythagoras and the impact of his thought on Western art has never been done and is long overdue. Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier offers a comprehensive survey of the biographical fragments, legends, and myths around the life of Pythagoras and impressively compiles early interpretations of Pythagorean philosophy and the web of influence Pythagoreanism has had on Western philosophy, culture, science, and art. Well written and useful to many disciplines, Measuring Heaven is an invaluable resource."—Arielle Saiber, Bowdoin College

"Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier's book is a much-needed corrective for our inadequate understanding of this great, much-forgotten, much-misprized thinker. Her lucid, deeply learned linkage of Pythagoreanism to ancient and medieval art is particularly welcome."—George L. Hersey, Emeritus Professor of Art History, Yale University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801443961
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.11 (d)

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