Joseph Connors, the Director of the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence, writes on Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture. He was formerly Director of the American Academy in Rome and professor of art history at Columbia.


The Charms of Byzantium

The interior of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; from J.B. Bullen’s Byzantium Rediscovered

Byzantium Rediscovered

by J.B. Bullen

Hagia Sophia, 1850–1950: Holy Wisdom Modern Monument

by Robert S. Nelson
On May 29, 1453, the armies assembled by the young Ottoman sultan Mehmet II breached the land walls of Constantinople, which had resisted assault for a millennium. By the next morning the invaders had arrived at the doors of the imperial church of Hagia Sophia. The sources speak of plunder …

A Scandal in Etruria

The Scarith of Scornello: A Tale of Renaissance Forgery

by Ingrid D. Rowland
Ingrid Rowland’s remarkable book about an Etruscan forgery in the age of Galileo begins at Scornello, a hilltop near Volterra, the most isolated of all the cities of Tuscany, lying in the middle of a triangle running from Florence to Siena and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Though a real place, Scornello …

The Lion of Florence

Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance

by Anthony Grafton

On Alberti and the Art of Building

by Robert Tavernor
“A solution must be found. After so much has been spoken and written, it was a question both of science and national pride, a debt of honor to the dignity of our Nation.” With these words Mussolini switched on a powerful pump that began to drain the water from a …

The Way to Grant’s Tomb

The Dancing Column: On Order in Architecture

by Joseph Rykwert
It is difficult to walk more than a few blocks in any older American city and not come across examples of the Greek architectural orders. They are easy to distinguish. The Doric, the earliest historically, appeared in the Peloponnese relatively suddenly in the mid-seventh century BC. It is a strong …

‘The Seated Sublime’

Italian Renaissance Architecture: Brunelleschi, Sangallo, Michelangelo
The Cathedrals of Florence and Pavia, and St. Peter's, Rome 1994 The National Gallery, Washington, DC, December 18, 1994–March 19, 1995

an exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, April 1–November 6,

The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo: The Representation of Architecture

edited by Henry A. Millon, edited by Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani
In Portrait of a Lady Isabelle Archer visits St. Peter’s at vespers, and Henry James uses the occasion to provide an emotive description of the church: She had not been one of the superior tourists who are “disappointed” in Saint Peter’s and find it smaller than its fame; the first …

Playing the Palace

Seventeenth-Century Roman Palaces: Use and the Art of the Plan

by Patricia Waddy

Images of Nepotism: The Painted Ceilings of Palazzo Barberini

by John Beldon Scott
The great palaces of baroque Rome, today so often transformed into embassies, banks, and museums, resemble luxury liners in drydock. They once housed an aristocratic and indeed theocratic elite of unparalleled splendor, but today without an effort of the imagination it is difficult to detect where first class ended and …

Marble and Marzipan

Roman Baroque Sculpture: The Industry of Art

by Jennifer Montagu
When the French jurist Charles de Brosses wrote, in 1740, the letters from Rome that were later to be widely read, he remarked that the population of the city was composed of one quarter priests, one quarter statues, one quarter those who do scarcely any work, and one quarter those …