American History05 Nov 2007 11:56 am
A new edition of The Intellectual Devotional, this time with a focus on American History, is now available in stores. (Click here to order your copy.) As well as continuing to expand on posts from the General Edition, “The Devoted Intellect” blog will introduce and expand on material from the American History devotional. Today’s entry on “Monticello” draws from the new book’s “Art” section.
The extent of Thomas Jefferson’s achievements is hard to fathom: author of the Declaration of Independence, President of the United States, pioneering American wine connoisseur, archaeologist, linguist, and architect. His most famous buildings are his Virginia estate Monticello, the central campus of the University of Virginia, and the Virginia state capital building. And in his final years he began work on a new home: Poplar Forest.
The most important influence on Jefferson’s buildings was the 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio. “Palladian” architecture is marked by strict fidelity to geometric forms, something notable in all of Jefferson’s buildings, especially Monticello and The Rotunda on the University of Virginia campus. Poplar Forest is an octagon with a 20-foot cube in the center. Despite its odd shape, it’s a remarkably livable home.
Because it was not one of Jefferson’s most famous buildings, Poplar Forest was neglected for many years. Beginning in 1986, however, the estate has been under restoration. The inner structure was completed in 2001, and the second phase of restoration is scheduled to end next year. Though it still isn’t complete, Poplar Forest is open to the public. To plan a trip, click here.
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