Sara Galletti (Duke University), “Stone Vaulting in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean”

This talk will explore the history of a stone vaulting technique called stereotomy from a transnational, longue durée perspective across the Mediterranean from the third century BCE—when the oldest of known stereotomic vaults was built in the Sanctuary of Delphi—through the sixteenth and seventeenth century, when pioneering theoretical works such as those by Philibert de L’Orme (1514–70) and Alonso de Vandelvira (1544–1626) crossed the boundaries of the building trades and stereotomy became the focus of a broader intellectual debate about solid geometry. The complex, fascinating history of stereotomy offers a privileged perspective on the cultural and material exchanges that have taken place, across spatial, linguistic, and chronological boundaries, in the long history of the Mediterranean and its peoples.

Dr. Sara Galletti, Associate Professor of Art History at Duke University, researches early modern architectural theory and practice, with a focus on Europe and the Mediterranean. She has published on secular and religious French architecture, on Philibert de L'Orme, on the urban history of Paris, on the relations between space and social structures, as well as on the history of stereotomy. Currently, she works on an NEH-funded book project tentatively titled History of Stone Vaulting in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean: Practices, Theories, and Patterns of Knowledge Transfer.