Palaces of Reason: The Royal Residences of Bourbon Naples (Hardcover)

Palaces of Reason: The Royal Residences of Bourbon Naples By Robin L. Thomas Cover Image
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Palaces of Reason traces the fascinating history of three royal residences built outside of Naples in the eighteenth century at Capodimonte, Portici, and Caserta. Commissioned by King Charles of Bourbon and Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony, who reigned over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, these buildings were far more than residences for the monarchs. They were designed to help reshape the economic and cultural fortunes of the realm.

The palaces at Capodimonte, Portici, and Caserta are among the most complex architectural commissions of the eighteenth century. Considering the architecture and decoration of these complexes within their political, cultural, and economic contexts, Robin L. Thomas argues that Enlightenment ideas spurred their construction and influenced their decoration. These modes of thinking saw the palaces as more than just centers of royal pleasure or muscular assertions of the crown's power. Indeed, writers and royal ministers viewed them as active agents in improving the cultural, political, social, and economic health of the kingdom. By casting the palaces within this narrative, Thomas counters the assumption that they were imitations of Versailles and the swan songs of absolutism, while expanding our understanding of the eighteenth-century European palace more broadly.

Original and convincing, Thomas's book will be of interest to historians of art and architectural history and eighteenth-century studies.

About the Author

Robin L. Thomas is Professor of Art History and Architecture at Penn State University. He is the author of Architecture and Statecraft: Charles of Bourbon's Naples, 1734-1759, also published by Penn State University Press.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780271095219
ISBN-10: 0271095210
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication Date: November 28th, 2023
Pages: 212
Language: English