Art and Architecture

Art&ArchitectureOxford Reference provides more than 60,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries across Art and Architecture. Our coverage comprises authoritative, highly accessible information on artists, architects, works, and buildings as well as the terminology, concepts, movements, techniques, and organizations relating to all periods within these fields.

Written by trusted experts for researchers at every level, entries are complemented by illustrative line drawings and chronologies.

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                               The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture    A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art   The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms   The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists

See all the Art and Architecture books available on Oxford Reference >

Sample resources

Discover Art and Architecture on Oxford Reference with the below sample content:

Timelines of the arts and architecture: from Neanderthals carving a flute from the bone of a bear to the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai

Quotations about art and architecture from Oxford Essential Quotations

A chronology showing how key examples of Western art fit into a wider historical context, from The Oxford Dictionary of Art

Eidophusikon’ defined in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms

A biography of Annie Leibovitz from The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art

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Featured Author

James Stevens Curl

James Stevens Curl

Professor James Stevens Curl is a leading architectural historian. His books include The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (with Susan Wilson, 2015); Funerary Monuments & Memorials in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (2013); Georgian Architecture in the British Isles 1714–1830 (2011); Freemasonry & the Enlightenment (2011); Spas, Wells, & Pleasure-Gardens of London (2010); Victorian Architecture: Diversity & Invention (2007); The Victorian Celebration of Death (2004); and The Londonderry Plantation 1609–1914 (1986). He edited Kensal Green Cemetery (2001), the first detailed study of any nineteenth-century cemetery in the world. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Author Q&A

Which historical events or figures featured in your dictionary have most influenced your study of your subject?

Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Leo von Klenze, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir John Soane, Peter Joseph Lenné, John Buonarotti Papworth, and other late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century designers, who produced beautiful, pleasing, original work (yet steeped in Classical tradition), and did not talk a lot of nonsense about ‘morality’, ‘objectivity’, or other drivel obsessed about by Modernists. Study of their works over many years has brought great delight: it has sustained my scholarship, and convinced me that the confusions about architecture created by personalities such as John Ruskin, Nikolaus Pevsner, Walter Gropius, and ‘Le Corbusier’ (who demonstrated woeful ignorance about Greek and other historical architecture, as well as laying down dictatorial demands that have all created disastrous environments then will be horrendously expensive to make good) have resulted in a nightmare world of waste, inhumanity, and uninhabitable buildings and cities. The damage done is probably incapable of repair now, and we face a terrible future.

What do you think is the most commonly held misconception in your subject area?

That Modernism was ‘scientific’, ‘logical’, ‘inevitable’, ‘objective’, ‘moral’, or anything else claimed for it: it resembled more a fundamentalist pseudo-religious cult; it created a hellish new world, a Dystopia; and it has failed to deliver the environmental goods as promised as it has been an environmental, expensive, aesthetic disaster. Architecture is not ‘moral’.

Which figure in your subject’s history would you most like to invite to a dinner party? What would you ask him/her?

Karl Friedrich Schinkel, because he was a man of many talents, perhaps the greatest architect of his century, or even of all time, gifted in a great many ways, and knew many fascinating people, such as E. T. A. Hoffmann (of Tales of fame). Clubbable, he enjoyed roistering evenings in the tavern with his chums, and his diary of his visit to England, Wales, and Scotland (1826) is a marvellously well-observed account of his trip. I would ask him for an honest assessment of contemporary design and the modern urban landscape, and why harmoniousness in townscapes has been deliberately suppressed. I would also draw his attention to those apologists for Modernism who claimed him as an influence; I reckon his response would be vitriolic.

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Featured blogs

In Architecture, Hold Fast to History
June 2015
Professor James Stevens Curl explains the importance of being able to understand architecture.

For more art and architecture blog posts delve in to the OUPblog archives >

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