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Juan Bautista Villalpandus

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Born at Cordova, Spain, in 1552; entered the Society of Jesus in 1575; died on 22 May, 1608. His fame rests mainly on a "Commentary on Ezechiel". This commentary, begun by Jerome Prado (d. 1595), who treated the first twenty-six chapters, was completed by Villalpandus and published at Rome (1596-1604), in three volumes: the first contained Prado's explanation of cc. i-xxvi; the second Villalpandus's remarks on the thirteen chapters following; the third an illustrated description of Jerusalem and the Temple with all its furniture. Villalpandus had prepared for this work by a study of classical antiquity, particularly of Greek and Roman architecture, in which he was regarded as master. Whatever the merit of his commentary, and the praise bestowed upon his description of the City and Temple of Jerusalem, which was one regarded by some as "classical" and "a true masterpiece" (Dupin), for the modern reader, better acquainted with Oriental architectural art, the writer's strict adherence to classical standards of architectural beauty mars his description and renders it less accurate. Starting from the idea that a temple designed, as it were, by God Himself, should embody all conceivable splendour and gorgeousness, he fancied the sanctuary at Jerusalem to be a display of porticoes and courts paved with porphyry flags, depicted the walls covered with rich Parian marble, and described a furniture of golden vases, candelabra, tables, little in keeping with actual reality. Still less happy were his endeavours to prove against evidence that the "Explanationes epist. B. Pauli Ap.", which he had quoted several times in his "Commentary on Ezechiel", and of which he gave the editio princeps (Rome, 1598), was the work of St. Remigius of Reims, and not of Remigius of Auxerre.

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