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An Outline of European Architecture

Nikolaus Pevsner

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A revised and expanded edition of Nikolaus Pevsner’s masterly survey of Europe’s most beautiful, dramatic and outstanding architecture


For over 60 years Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s study of European architecture has been regarded as a seminal work which has inspired countless students of architecture. In this updated larger format edition with elegant and accessible design, an extra dimension is provided through the integration of over 200 superb colour photographs.

Pevsner reviewed the most beautiful, dramatic and outstanding structures that represent the styles and cultures of Europe from the fourth century onwards. His grand tour of Europe’s Romanesque basilicas, Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance villas and Baroque churches, sublimely defines ‘the changing spirits of the changing ages’.

In later chapters he considers the revival of medieval forms in the age of Romanticism and the Arts and Crafts Movement through to the radical and unsparing geometry of twentieth-century Modernism. He concluded his survey in the post-war years and the start of the redefinition of so many devastated cityscapes.

In a new preface and an illuminating postscript, the architect Michael Forsyth continues where Pevsner left off by bringing the review to the present day. In a consideration of recent buildings in Europe by modern masters such as James Stirling, Norman Foster and Frank Gehry, he identifies a natural evolution of architectural achievement.

An Outline of European Architecture continues to be as stimulating and relevant as ever. Through his perceptive understanding of the heritage of past civilisations, and in the delineation of the buildings that continue to be recognized as the greatest symbols of artistic endeavour, Pevsner remains the essential guide and companion.

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'A definitive and personal overview of the buildings that make European cities the glories they are, written by one of the great critics of the 20th century'
Sir John Tusa

'Like being taken on a personal tour by a guide whose prose style is as beguiling as his expert knowledge of his subjet'
The Times

'Classic … a treasure'
RIBA Journal

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Edition Type: Revised Edition

Size: 28.0 x 21.7 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 7 September 2009

ISBN: 9780500342411

Contents List

Preface • Foreword • Introduction • 1. Twilight and Dawn: From the fourth to the tenth century • 2. The Romanesque Style: c.1000–c.1200 3. The Early and Classic Gothic Style: c.1150–c.1250 • 4. The Late Gothic Style: c.1250–c.1500 • 5. Renaissance and Mannerism: c.1420–c.1500 • 6. The Baroque in the Roman Catholic Countries: c.1600–c.1760 • 7. Britain and France from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century • 8. The Romantic Movement, Historicism and the Beginning of the Modern Movement: 1760–1914 • 9. From the End of the First World War to the Present Day • Footnotes, Bibliography

About the Author

Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (1902–1983) is widely considered one of the most influential writers on the history of architecture in the 20th century. He is best known for his 46-volume series of county-by-county guides, The Buildings of England (1951–74), often simply referred to by his surname.

List of Contributors

Michael Forsyth