quondam piranesi

Stephen Lauf

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

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love
1 a :
the attraction, desire, or affection felt for a person who arouses delight or admiration or elicits tenderness, sympathetic interest, or benevolence     2 a : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion     4 a : the attraction based on sexual desire

war
1 a
(1) : a state of usu. open and declared armed hostile conflict between political units (2) : a period of armed conflict between political units     2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, opposition, or antagonism between mental, physical, social, or other forces

love and war 7.0

Within the northernmost region of the Ichnographia, Piranesi positions two of Rome's oldest topological features, the Equiria and the Petronia Amnis. The Equiria was ancient Rome's first festival in the form of horse races instituted by Romulus in honor of Mars, and the name Equiria applies to the festival as well the racecourse that Piranesi delineates. The Petronia Amnis was a stream that once came from a spring on the Quirinal and flowed through the Campus Martius. Although genuine historical phenomena, Piranesi's presentations of the Equiria and the Petronia Amnis are altogether false in terms of their geographic location within the Ichnographia. Both the course of the horse races and the course of the stream should be further south and within the Campus Martius proper, and this is yet another example where what seems to be a blatant mistake on Piranesi's part is actually a sign of ulterior, and usually double meanings. Judging in purely visual terms, Piranesi seems to have kept the Equiria and the Petronia Amnis in correct relationship to each other, and then, as a pair, lifted them out of their original context in order to refashion and reposition them in a new location. Essentially, the Equiria and the Petronia Amnis of the Ichnographia are reenactments of their former states.


The orange line indicates the course of the Equiria and the blue line indicates the course of the Petronia Amnis


In reenacting the Equiria and the Petronia Amnis, Piranesi executes each entity with their own respective theme, however, the two themes are in contrast to each other. This contrast is already evident in the Equiria's rigid straightness as opposed to the fluid meanderings of the Petronia Amnis, and it is indeed the antithetical natures of rigidity versus fluidity that Piranesi further develops within the two reenactments.


love and war 7.1 »»

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