From one of America's most acclaimed photographers: stunning images of an extraordinary and endangered landscape. The countryside south and east of Rome around the ruins of the Claudian Aqueduct is an artist's paradise. Its rare light, its evocations of ancient Roman civilization enchant the camera just as they attracted such painters as Claude, Turner, and Corot. Writers, too, have fallen under its spell - from Horace and Pliny the Elder to Goethe and Henry James. "Few other scenes on earth combine in one glance such a myriad of mighty associations," wrote one nineteenth-century chronicler. As for the great aqueduct, its "broken and disjointed arches" suggest "the vertebrae of some mighty monster." The rolling plain of the Campagna was only marginally occupied during the height of the Roman Empire: one lived either within the protective walls of Rome or in the cooler and more defendable hill towns a few miles away. After the fall of Rome, the countryside grew even more desolate. Except for a few castles and towers built in the Middle Ages and an occasional farmhouse built in the nineteenth century, the area remained barely populated for 1,400 years, haunted by its past. Then, in the late 1800s, after Italy became a nation and Rome its capital, the Campagna changed dramatically. Railroads began to weave in and out of the arches of aqueducts; suburbs began to intrude on the plain. Now the Campagna is increasingly threatened by rapid and uncontrolled urban sprawl. Sternfeld's magnificent color photographs capture poignant juxtapositions of past and present: ancient tombs, villas, arches, temples coexisting with apartment houses, malls, and the blight of the modern city.
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The Claudian Aqueduct was built during the Empire's glory days just southeast of Rome, now an area best known for its proximity to Cinecitta, Italy's Hollywood. The book's essays and photography honor the vestiges of that ancient conduit and the surrounding countryside. Presented along with historical background about the land and the artists who have used it as their muse are 88 of Sternfeld's full-color photographs (including seven foldouts), which have been exhibited at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Much of the photography is of ruins, which look like alien monuments sitting uncomfortably amidst the Mediterrean terrain beside recognizable objects of modern industry and waste now scarring the region. The result is a strong and poignant mixture of dilapidation of both the old and new Roman cultures. The book opens, "Joel Sternfeld's photographs of the Roman Campagna take us to a sacred place," and the dominant stormy skies in these photographs appear to signal the gods' displeasure with the uncontrolled urban sprawl descending upon this august landscape. Recommended for most libraries, particularly those with strong photography collections and collections on Italy.
- David Nudo, New York City
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descrizione libro Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110679415785