Architecture and Language in Early 15th-Century Florence – School of Languages and Cultures Architecture and Language in Early 15th-Century Florence – School of Languages and Cultures

Architecture and Language in Early 15th-Century Florence

The School of Architecture, Design and Planning and the Department of Italian Studies present

Architecture and Language in Early 15th-Century Florence

Professor Nicholas Temple, University of Huddersfield


In this lecture I will examine the impact of humanist debates, concerning the relationships between the spoken vernaculars and Latin, on architectural, urban and artistic developments in early 15th century Florence. Drawing initially upon late Medieval disputes concerning the role of the Tuscan dialect as a ‘living’ poetic language, the chapter explores early humanistic interests in oratory, writing and pictorial depiction, and how these collectively contributed to a revived interest in the civic realm. The chapter brings together an array of examples of architectural and artistic relationships and linguistic themes and metaphors, from optics and perspective to poetics. Focusing on the commemorative events surrounding the completion of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the use of the ‘Ringhiera’ in the Piazza della Signoria as a platform for public speaking, the lecture aims to demonstrate how relationships between language and architecture during this time drew upon a still dominant Medieval world-view and at the same time set in place the foundations of a new outlook, through innovative developments in perspective, architecture and linguistics. The subject matter of this lecture forms a chapter in a forthcoming book entitled, Architecture and the Language Debate: Artistic and Linguistic Exchanges in Early Modern Italy (Routledge, 2020).

About the speaker

Nicholas Temple was born in Australia and studied architecture at Cambridge University. A qualified architect, he is currently professor of architecture and director of the Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability (CUDAS) at the University of Huddersfield. He previously served as head of the School of Architecture at the University of Lincoln in the UK, and was an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Temple was a Rome Scholar in Architecture at the British School at Rome, a Paul Mellon Rome Fellow and Bogliasco Fellow, and has collaborated on research projects on the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in Europe and China. He is currently a co-investigator with Yun Gao on a British Academy funded project in China entitled The Temporality of Building: Architecture and Heritage in Europe and China. His forthcoming publications include The Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture, co-edited with Andrzej Piotrowski and Juan Heredia (2019).

For more information, contact: Dr Matthew Mindrup –

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Jul 25 2019


3:00 PM


Wilkinson Seminar Room 231
Wilkinson Building (G04), 148 City Road, Darlington


School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Other Organizers

Italian Studies
School of Languages and Cultures

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