not an easy book

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The interior of the church of the Madonna del Calcinaio in Cortona is composed of a limited number of elements which are uninflected. Its windows and niches, pilasters and pediments, and the articulated elements of its altar, are independent wholes, simple in themselves and symmetrical in form and position. They add up to a greater whole. The interior of the pilgrimage church at Birnau in Bavaria, however, contains a diversity of inflections directed toward the altar. The complex curves of the vaults and arches, even the distortions of the pilaster capitals, inflect toward this center. The statues and the multi tude of fragmental elements of the side altars are inflected parts, asymmetrical in form yet symmetrical in position, which integrate into a symmetrical whole. This subordination of parts corresponds to Wölfflin's "unified unity" of the Baroque--which he contrasts with the "multiple unity" of the Renaissance.
Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), pp.91-3.




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