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The Search for Form in Art and Architecture

by Eliel Saarinen

Buy the book: Eliel Saarinen. The Search for Form in Art and Architecture

Release Date: 01 August, 1985

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Eliel Saarinen. The Search for Form in Art and Architecture


The Search for Form in Art and Architecture

When The Search for Form in Art and Architecture was first published in 1948 it must have been an extraordinary read for many contemporaries. Eliel Saarinen's (1873-1950) book was a sensitive quest for emotional sincerity in a time when scientific logic and rationality ruled, and form, according to Saarinen, was used in a superficial and soulless manner. Just like Frank Lloyd Wright Saarinen had a career that spanned an astounding period of time, during which important changes took place within the fields of art and architecture and in society as a whole. In the book, ideas of the late 19th century come to a life again. More specifically the sentiments of the Finnish national romanticism, which in short can be characterized as a profound relationship with nature and a passionate outlook on life caused to a great extent by Finland's dramatic history. The book has a clear structure where Saarinen first deals with the meaning of form in general, then explores the use of form in an historical perspective, and finally gives pointers on how sensibility in art and architecture can be resurrected. The key being a close relationship with nature and the examples that nature provides us with. Saarinen does however not give any clear guide lines. But for professional designers the text can work as a stimulating reminder, or perhaps as a change of perspective, when in doubt or in need of reassurance. For me, as an art historian, it is always rewarding to be able to digest the thoughts of an artist first hand, instead of reading someone else's analysis. For the layman Saarinen's philosophical explorations can be a seductive journey that will broaden appreciation for form. The book reads easily from cover to cover. But as Saarinen throws out thought for the reader to ponder on, a good and relaxing way to enjoy it is also to every now and then read a segment here and there.

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