Research project

Adrian Stokes – an architectonic eye. Critical writings on art and architecture

Adrian Stokes – an architectonic eye. Critical writings on art and architecture

This research project is summated in the publication of Adrian Stokes. An Architectonic Eye. Critical writings on art and architecture, published by Legenda (MHRA) and Maney Publishing, in 2009.

Adrian Stokes (1902-72) – aesthete, critic, painter and poet – is among the most original and creative writers on art of the twentieth century. He was the author of over twenty critical books and numerous papers: for example, the remarkable series of books published in the 1930s; The Quattro Cento (1932), Stones of Rimini(1934), and Colour and Form (1937) that embraced Mediterranean culture and modernity. His criticism extends the evocative English aesthetic tradition of Walter Pater and John Ruskin into the present, endowed by a stern sensibility to the consolations offered by art and architecture, and the insights that psychoanalysis affords.

Indeed, for Stokes architecture provides the entrée into art, and this book is the first study to comprehensively examine Stokes’s theory of art from a specifically architectonic perspective. The volume explores the crucial experiences through which this architectonic awareness evolved; traces the influence upon Stokes of places, texts and personalities, and examines how his theory of art developed and matured. The argument is supported by appropriate illustrations to confirm the evidence that Stokes’s claim for architecture as mother of the arts carries the deepest experiential and psychological import.


This marvelous book, which is focused on Stokes’s writings on the Renaissance, provides a full and highly original account of the writer’s development. Clearly written and well illustrated, it tells the story accurately… All future readers of Stokes will be indebted to Kite’s tactful and comprehensive commentary.

David Carrier, 4 February 2009


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