Juan Battista Villalpando: Solomon’s Temple and the architectural metaphor

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The second volume of In Ezechielem Explanationes by Juan Battista Villalpando was published in 1604; it contains a re-creation of the Temple of Solomon that is illustrated by a portfolio of exceptionally detailed architectural drawings. His designs were built on the principles of Platonic musical harmonies and his interpretation of ancient measurements. The floor plan of the temple was prefigured in the layout of the tabernacle and the surrounding camps of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of the camps raised their flags and banners that symbolized their house. The position of their camps around the tabernacle and the symbols of their banners corresponded with the symbols and positions of the zodiac as positioned by Ptolemy in the Almagest. He created a plan of the Temple that was a microcosm of the geo-concentric universe. This concept of microcosm – macrocosm became entangled in a powerful and enduing architectural metaphor. This paper examines Villalpando’s plan of the Temple, and the architectural metaphor of the microcosm – macrocosm.


Keywords: Villalpando, Solomon's Temple, Solomon’s Temple and the architectural metaphor
Stream: Aesthetics, Design , Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness , History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Juan Battista Villalpando


Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow in Architectural History, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle
Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Dr Morrison has a background in art, mathematics and philosophy. She is currently working as a research fellow in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle and has published extensively on geometric, spatial symbolism and architectural history.

Ref: H08P0047