Enfilade

New Book | Robert Adam and Diocletian’s Palace in Split

Posted in books by Editor on September 15, 2017

From the ‘Grand Tour: Dalmatia’ project website:

Joško Belamarić and Ana Šverko, eds., Robert Adam and Diocletian’s Palace in Split (Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 2017), 608 pages, ISBN 978  9537875  381 / 978  9530  609754, $61.

When, on his Grand Tour, the Scottish architect Robert Adam travelled from Rome to Split in 1757 to study Diocletian’s Palace, he expected to find a monumental Roman villa. Instead, he came across an exceptional late antique structure that, in the Middle Ages, had been transformed into a city. Adam turned his study of this monument into an original architectural theory, and, in London in 1764, it was published in one of the most beautiful books of the eighteenth century: Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia.

The lessons Adam grasped in Split also inspired his own architectural projects in England and Scotland, influencing, in part, the ‘Adam Style’, a specific neoclassical style that had a significant impact on European and American architecture. We find the imprint of Diocletian’s Palace as a design model everywhere in Adam’s projects, from the scale of the ornamentation (a famous example is his interpretation of the capital from Diocletian’s Peristyle) to the application of the specificities of its spatial construction.

In 2014, a group of scholars gathered in Split to mark the 250th anniversary of the publication of Adam’s book, and a series of essays developed out of their discussions. Their texts are illustrated with more than two hundred images, some of which are being published for the first time, from numerous archives and museums, from Sir John Soane’s Museum in London to the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

This book shows that the ancient stratum of Diocletian’s Palace, this extraordinary multi-layered urban fabric, has not changed notably since Adam’s visit to Split. Yet the book is more than just the story of Adam and Diocletian’s Palace; it is also a guide to the Palace’s spaces and monuments, and a witness to its changes and its continuity. All of these we would not have been able to understand, nor experience so well, without Adam’s tireless research. The book can be ordered at: izvoz@skolskaknjiga.hr.

Contributors
Josko Belamaric, Iain Gordon Brown, Stephen Caffey, Amanda Green, Heather Hyde Minor, Angelo Lorenzi, Krasanka Majer Jurišić, Ivan Mirnik, John A. Pinto, Ante Rendić-Miočević, Frances Sands, Valery Shevchenko, Ana Sverko, Colin Thom, Isabelle Warin, Elke Katharina Wittich

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