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Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European
Princeton Architectural Press 2005
279mm x 292mm,
hardcover, 192 pp
an ethereal magic to standing beneath a dome, neck craned, looking up at a
vision of the heavens created by some long-ago figure of genius. From the
Pantheon to the Hagia Sophia, the power of the dome seems transcendent.
Photographer David Stephenson's magnificently kaleidoscopic images of dome
interiors capture this evanescent drama, and make Visions of Heaven
one of the most spectacularly beautiful books we've ever produced.
Travelling from Italy to Spain, Turkey, England, Germany, and Russia,
among other countries, and photographing churches, palaces, mosques, and
synagogues from the second to the early twentieth century, Stephenson's
work amounts to a veritable typology of the cupola. His images present
complex geometrical structures, rich stucco decorations, and elaborate
paintings as they have never been seen before. Brilliantly calibrated
exposures reveal details and colours that would otherwise remain hidden in
these dimly lit spaces.
of Heaven shows more than 120 images, including the Roman Pantheon, the
Byzantine churches of Turkey, the great domes of the Renaissance, the
decorative cupolas of the Baroque and the Rococo ages, and a
nineteenth-century synagogue in Hungary. An informative essay by Victoria
Hammond traces the fascinating history of the dome and its decoration,
while Keith F. Davis examines Stephenson’s work in the context of the idea
of the sublime, creating a rich context for viewing these remarkable
Stephenson is an artist and coordinator of
research and postgraduate
programs at the
University of Tasmania School of Art. His
have been exhibited widely and are
represented in many private and public
throughout the world.
Hammond is an art historian and author
of many publications, including
Letters from St.
Keith F. Davis is the Hallmark Fine Art Programs
Director and the author
of many books on
photography, including An American Century of
Photography and The Art of Frederick Sommer.