Architecture and ekphrasis

Space, time and the embodied description of the past

By Dana Arnold

Architecture and ekphrasis


  • eBook
  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9950-2
  • Pages: 168
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: October 2020
  • BIC Category: Geography, The arts / Theory of art, Art History, ARCHITECTURE / History / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory, ART / Criticism & Theory, ARCHITECTURE / Criticism, Humanities / Social & cultural history, The arts / History of architecture, Literature, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory, The arts / Theory of architecture
  • Series: Rethinking Art's Histories


Architecture and ekphrasis examines how eighteenth-century prints and drawings of antique architecture operated as representations of thought. Using original archival material, it considers the idea of the past in the period, specifically how it was discovered and described, and investigates how space and time inform visual ekphrasis or descriptions of architecture. The idea of embodiment is used to explore the various methods of describing architecture - including graphic techniques, measurement and perspective - all of which demonstrate choices about different modes of ekphrasis. This well-illustrated, accessibly written study will be of interest to academics and students working in a broad range of subject areas. It will also be an essential teaching tool for increasingly popular cross-disciplinary courses.


'This provocative, highly readable book explores the potent exchange between visual and verbal description, considering what the visual allows us to explore and convey that the verbal does not and vice versa. Using a wide range of scholarly, pictorial and technical sources, Dana Arnold examines how words and writing help make us understand the object being described.'
Diane Favro, Distinguished Research Professor, Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA

'Dana Arnold critically examines the relation of architectural theory to the images used in its illustration. Analysing verbal and visual approaches to description from a phenomenological point of view, she demonstrates the ways in which they both parallel and are yet distinct from one another. She also explores the psychic and somatic investments of their creators, revealing unacknowledged philosophical and gendered commitments.'
Keith Moxey, Barbara Novak Professor of Art History, Barnard College


1 The past
2 Time
3 Space
Select bibliography


Dana Arnold is Professor of Art History at the University of East Anglia

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