Robert Bork has written a remarkable book that in its scope has no competition. He offers a detailed analysis of late Gothic architecture, tracing its long history and examining the ultimately successful challenge to the style made by classicizing architecture from Italy. Bork reminds us that the years just prior to this challenge witnessed some of the most dazzling and wondrous inventions of Gothic architecture. Nave vaults were equipped with looping ribs resembling the petals of flowers. Smaller chapels displayed hanging ribs, miraculously suspended several feet below the webbing of the vaults. Tracery fields became ever larger and more complex, veiling broad segments of façades. Artful filigree towers...

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