Architecture and Statecraft: Charles of Bourbon's Naples, 1734–1759
The eighteenth century was a golden age of public building. Governments constructed theaters, museums, hospices, asylums, and marketplaces to forge a new type of city, one that is recognizably modern. Yet the dawn of this urban development remains obscure. In Architecture and Statecraft, Robin Thomas seeks to explain the origins of the modern capital by examining one of the earliest of these transformed cities. In 1737 King Charles Bourbon of Spain embarked upon the most extensive architectural and urban program of the entire century. A comprehensive study of these Neapolitan buildings does not exist, and thus Caroline contributions to this new type of city remain undervalued. This book fills an important gap in the scholarship and connects Charles’s urban improvements to his consolidation of the monarchy. By intertwining architecture and sovereignty, Thomas provides a framework for understanding how politics created the eighteenth-century capital.
Robin L. Thomas is Assistant Professor of Art History at The Pennsylvania State University.