David Stephenson is head of photography at the University of Tasmania School of Art, Hobart. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and published in numerous publications.
Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architectureby David Stephenson
There's an ethereal magic to standing beneath a dome, neck craned, looking up at a vision of the heavens created by some long-ago figure of genius. From the Pantheon to the Hagia Sophia, the power of the dome seems transcendent. Photographer David Stephenson's magnificently kaleidoscopic images of dome interiors capture this evanescent drama, and make Visions of… See more details below
There's an ethereal magic to standing beneath a dome, neck craned, looking up at a vision of the heavens created by some long-ago figure of genius. From the Pantheon to the Hagia Sophia, the power of the dome seems transcendent. Photographer David Stephenson's magnificently kaleidoscopic images of dome interiors capture this evanescent drama, and make Visions of Heaven one of the most spectacularly beautiful books we've ever produced.
Traveling from Italy to Spain, Turkey, England, Germany, and Russia, among other countries, and photographing churches, palaces, mosques, and synagogues from the second to the early twentieth century, Stephenson's work amounts to a veritable typology of the cupola. His images present complex geometrical structures, rich stucco decorations, and elaborate paintings as they have never been seen before. Brilliantly calibrated exposures reveal details and colors that would otherwise remain hidden in these dimly lit spaces.
Visions of Heaven shows more than 120 images, including the Roman Pantheon, the Byzantine churches of Turkey, the great domes of the Renaissance, the decorative cupolas of the Baroque and the Rococo ages, and a nineteenth-century synagogue in Hungary.
- Princeton Architectural Press
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- 11.37(w) x 11.75(h) x 0.87(d)
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I have ordered here four times. Each time the book was, as promised, brand new and shipping was prompt.
'Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture' is one of those apparent coffee table books made to grace the room of art lovers and to initiate conversations about travel and architecture and art among guests. But this splendid book is far more than that (though a magnificent 'coffee table book' it most assuredly is!). Photographer David Stephenson has traveled throughout Europe from Italy to Spain, Turkey, England, Germany, Russia and beyond, intent on capturing the magnificence of the domes that crown the cathedrals, palaces, mosques, syngogues and other imposing architectural wonders of the world. Technically speaking, photographing these domes is a feat unto itself: much time must have been spent on the floors or these edifices to capture angles of intent that would allow the resultant photograph to not only give the exciting detail of a concave surface but also to allow the available light to make the colors true. The result is a book of over 120 full color photographs of art that too often goes unnoticed as visitors to these special places fail to strain necks to see the entire masterpiece above their heads. But the aspect of this book that makes it even more successful is the fact that Stephenson acknowledged the need for historical background to supplement appreciation of these domes and to that end Victoria Hammond in her essays and Keith F. Davis in his seductive foreword open discussions not only of the art itself, the creators, the materials, and the history of each dome, but they also address the concept of the dome as a reaching to heaven. The writing works as successfully as the photography and together create a book that is not only beautiful but also grandly informative. Highly recommended. Grady Harp