Reproduced from Penn State University Press catalogue p.9, Spring and Summer 2002
Back in print, both books in a single,
fully illustrated volume
"Poeta che mi guida": I can think of no better words, the words of Dante about Virgil, to describe Stokes as a critic of the arts." - Richard Wollheim, The Image in Form
Adrian Stokes (1902-1972) was a British painter and author whose writings on art have been allowed to go out of print despite their impact on Modernism and ongoing acclaim for their beauty and intellectual acuity. Two of his most influential books, The Quattro Cento of 1932 and Stones of Rimini of 1934, are brought together for the first time in this new volume, which includes all their original illustrations. This new edition also provides a foreward by Stephen Bann and introductions by David Carrier and Stephen Kite that places Stokes's masterworks in the context of early twentieth-century culture and discuss their structure and relevance to today's experience of art and architecture.
Written as part of an incomplete trilogy, The Quattro Cento and Stones of Rimini mark a crossroads in the transition from late Victorian to Modernist conceptions of art, especially sculpture and architecture. Stokes continued, even extended, John ruskin's and Walter Pater's belief that art is essential to the individual's proper psychological development but wove their teaching into a new aethetic shaped by his analysis with Melaine Klein and recent innovations in literature, dance and the visual arts.
Few writers have been able to invoke the material presence of works of art history in the way Stokes does in The Quattro Cento and Stones of Rimini. They combine travel writing with acts of looking spun out so as to reinterperet the imposing legacy of the Italian Renaissance through an aesthetic of the direct carving of stone, which has parallels in the sculpture of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth but was for Stokes the discovery of artists in fifteenth-century Italy. To his way of thinking, there then arose a realization that the materials of art "were the actual objects of inspiriation, the stocks for the deepest fantasies." During the Renaissance, Stokes maintained, stone accordingly "blossomed" into sculpture and buildings, such as the Tempio Malatestiano, that throw "inner ferment outward into definite act and thought."
Stephen Bann is professor of History of Art, University of Bristol, and current President of the Comité international d'histoire de l'art.
David Carrier is Champeney Family Visiting Professor, Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Institute of Art, 2001-2002, and the author of The Aesthetics of Comics.
Stephen Kite is an architect and lecturer in architecture, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
536 pages * 152
illustrations * 6 x 9 1/4 * June
di Duccio (1418-1498)
Diana, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini, Italy.
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