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Optics and Mathematics in the Domed Churches of Guarino Guarini

Elwin C. Robison
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 50, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 384-401
DOI: 10.2307/990663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/990663
Page Count: 18
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Optics and Mathematics in the Domed Churches of Guarino Guarini
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Abstract

The architecture of Guarini is distinguished from that of his Roman contemporaries by the complex geometries of his forms and the use of conic sections in his vaults. The use of advanced geometries in his domed churches was prompted not by numeric or structural theory but by optic considerations. The development of forced perspective in his vault shapes and use of light were influenced by theories on aesthetics and optics that were debated while Guarini was in Paris. The parallels between Guarini's architectural theory and that of Claude Perrault, as well as Guarini's unique aesthetic assessment of Gothic architecture, suggest that he developed these ideas during his four-year stay in Paris.

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