A D R I A N  S T O K E S

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Cognate to the "Rapallo experience" was the over-ruling event of seeing Alberti's fifteenth century Tempio Malatestiano at Rimini, which Stokes precisely dates in The Stones of Rimini to the 5 July 1925. The mass-effect of Alberti's gleaming Istrian stone encasement of the church of San. Franceso compacts in non-rhythmic immediacy the atemporal outwardness that, for Stokes, represents the supreme attainment of art.

  Alberti's Tempio encasement

He coined the capitalized term "Quattro Cento" to delimit these qualities which he defined as "an intoxication in showing the outer form, in stabilizing an inner content as concrete shapes." 9 The spatial counterpart to such mass-effects is Luciano Laurana's courtyard in the Palace of Urbino.Courtyard, Palace of Urbino

In a sixties letter to his friend Ben Nicholson, Stokes - enthused by Nicholsons drawings of Laurana's cortile - wrote that Nicholson's drawings conveyed well "everything that the original gave me, the greatest architectural kick I have ever had. Urbino, Luciano, was certainly my starting point, together with the Tempio." 10 In The Quattro Cento (1932) and Stones of Rimini (1934) - the founding books of his theory of art - Stokes challenges the accepted Florentine hegemony to assert the values of the non-Florentine Renaissance centres of Venice, Rimini, Urbino and Siena. He deploys a deeply organicist strategy of interpretation to articulate his responses to this art and architecture. This organicism is more immanent than Ruskin's appeal to nature and closer to Coleridge, who defined organic form as "innate; it shapes as it develops itself from within, and the fullness of its development is one and the same with the perfection of its outward form." 11

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