Published in the Documenti di Architettura series, this book explores the impact of Josef Frank's criticism of the Italian Renaissance tradition on the definition of a specific idea of Modernism.
Born in 1885 in Baden near Vienna, Josef Frank is – along with Adolf Loos – the architect and theoretician who made the greatest contribution to the wealth and complexity of the 20th-century Viennese architectural movement.
After a seven-month trip to Italy, retracing Alberti’s footsteps from Florence to Mantua and Rimini, in 1910, he defended his doctoral thesis on Alberti’s religious architecture – published in Italian for the first time in this book. It proved a crucial document in Frank’s theoretical production and the definition of Modernism.
Just as Alberti had trained his eye by observing Roman ruins, Frank pursued the trail left by Alberti with lively imagination. Convinced of a continuity and the belonging to a tradition – a conviction shared widely in Viennese circles – Josef Frank sought not clear-cut formal canons in the Renaissance but the variety and moderation that express sensitive anthropocentrism.
The book comes with reproductions of water-colour, ink and pencil drawings produced by Josef Frank to illustrate his doctoral thesis.
This book is published in conjunction with the Josef Frank interprete di Leon Battista Albertiexhibition that opened in the Casa del Mantegna in Mantua on 9 May 2018 as part of Mantovarchitettura, organised by the Mantova Campus of Milan Polytechnic.