quondam piranesi

Stephen Lauf

Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii

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For a more elaborate exposition of the Ichnographia's life and death axes, see Eros et Thanatos Ichnographia Campi Martii

life and death 6.1

In a most subtle way, Piranesi further underscores the opposition of the life and death axes with two relatively tiny buildings. There is, at the beginning of the axis of life, an unnamed and unspecified building along the bank of the Tiber. It is clear by plan alone, however, that this building animates sexual intercourse, more specifically the Martian rape of Rhea Silvia and the very beginnings of Rome itself. On the other hand, the building at the very end of the axis of death is the Arcus Gratiani, Valentiniani et Theodusii, the Arch of Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius. It was the Emperor Theodosius who, in 385 AD, essentially "killed" paganism when he decreed Christianity the Roman Empire's official and only religion.


left: the tiny unmarked "intercourse" building at the beginning of the axis of life
right: the Arcus Gratiani, Valentiniani et Theodusii at the end of the axis of death

» abstract
» virtual
» density
» reenactment vs. reconstruction
» inversion
» pagan - christian - triumphal way
» life and death
» love and war
» satire
» urban sprawl
» reenactment architectures

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