The Palladian Landscape: Geographical Change and Its Cultural Representations in Sixteenth-Century Italy

The Palladian Landscape: Geographical Change and Its Cultural Representations in Sixteenth-Century Italy

by Denis Cosgrove
     
 

While the themes, sources, and materials of The Palladian Landscape span a range of disciplinary interests from art and architectural studies, economic, social, and environmental history, to philosophy and Renaissance humanism, Denis Cosgrove seeks to provide a geographical interpretation of a region of northern Italy in the specific period of the late

Overview

While the themes, sources, and materials of The Palladian Landscape span a range of disciplinary interests from art and architectural studies, economic, social, and environmental history, to philosophy and Renaissance humanism, Denis Cosgrove seeks to provide a geographical interpretation of a region of northern Italy in the specific period of the late Renaissance. However, he goes much further, using the thoughts, designs, and commissions of the architect Palladio as the central thread to weave a picture of a place, Venice, that is in a period of crisis as it seeks to survive a transition from a maritime power hinterland to a new land-based terraferma. As a cultural geographer, he seeks to understand how groups come to terms with and transform their material environments, and he therefore pays special attention to the intellectual forces and spiritual sensibilities that empower those groups as well as to the economic, social, and environmental constraints with which they have to contend. Although these two broad realms of human experience are often studied separately, Cosgrove brings them together in this study. He uses the leitmotif of architecture, and specifically the work of Andrea Palladio, to describe a localized transformation of the natural world into a landscape of expression of cultural meaning.

Beyond this leitmotif, the work adopts an essay structure in which each chapter stands somewhat separately as a spatial narrative. It moves from the imperial city of Venice into its Italian territories, and thence from city to rural landscape to specific country estates. Having described localized transformations of urban and rural landscapes, Cosgrove then expands the scale again to consider hydrological engineering in the Venetian territories and some of the techniques involved in surveying and mapping the landscape. These return the reader to the more global view of a Venetian mentalité coming to terms with a changing geographical and historical world map.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271009421
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1993
Pages:
286
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.69(d)

Meet the Author

Denis Cosgrove is Reader in Cultural Geography at the University of Loughborough and co-author of The Iconography of Landscape (1988). He is also co-editor of Ecumene: A Journal of Environment, Culture, and Meaning.

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