Rhetoric and Architecture

Robert Kirkbride

in The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies

Published in print November 2017 | ISBN: 9780199731596
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199984626 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Rhetoric and Architecture

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To many, the phrase “architecture and rhetoric” might conjure the image of a palace overinflated with empty words, teeming with stylish yet superfluous ornament. For a Renaissance mind, imbued with medieval habitus and freshly infused with rediscovered texts and new horizons overseas, the complementarity of architecture and rhetoric was pragmatic and poetic, expanding memory practices and modes of figuration, including ekphrasis and ut pictura poesis. After the doubling of the known world, a new world of stuff precipitated new empirical methods of inquiry, problematizing rhetorical habits of establishing credible truth by persuasive argument. Throughout, architecture and its appointments stimulated compositional invention and performative gestures, outfitting personal identity and public decorum by offering transport from past to future, between the everyday and ideal.

Keywords: rhetoric; architecture; decorum; ekphrasis; gesture; invention; memory; ornament; style; ut pictura poesis

Article.  5870 words. 

Subjects: Classical Art and Architecture

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