The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

26 December 1778   Saturday
. . . . . .

26 December 1799
The Philosophical Decade, in its edition of December 26, 1799, announces the arrival of the Piranesi brothers in Paris, adding "who had the good fortune to save from the hands of the English and to bring to France the plates of their father's work."

26 December 1812   Saturday

Morning clear, wind NW westerly abated, thermometer 22 degrees. ... moisture frozen windows in the bathhouse. I left home about 1/2 past 9 and reached town about 11. I spent 2 hours at 4th Street with Redwood who has taken possession under an agreement which is to be reduced[?] to writing. SL, Jabez and myself dined with Redwood in P...... Street, a p....... dinner but the roast beef was good and ........ PM I attended the Sheriffs inquiry where the property levied[?] on late of C. Hunt was con....... Spent the evening in Mulberry Street Joshua L. within.

26 December 1997
Ichnographia book - note 1
This then leads right into my analysis of the Triumphal Way, and here I will lay out my entire theory which culminates with the inherent symbolism of inversion that is found along the entire path. I have today reread the Plattus article, and it is even more helpful than I remembered, especially with regard to its view of the city itself as a stage set that is played upon.
I will end the dedication addressing my own reenactment-redrawing process, and here I will bring in the theories of Collingwood.
Ichnographia book - note 2
From: Complete Puzzlement
To: Puzzlement Complete
Re: a personal journey.
...the first time I learned of the Ichnographia and how it is inextricably linked to a story I learned about Louis Kahn. attention to all the Kahn disciples in charge of my education. thesis project (which is inspired by both Kahn and Stirling).
Cooper, Pratt, Vallhonrat and my first CAD training, Carles and 3-D, my two years at Penn--is not Piranesi based, but it contains many Kahn connections. construction of the 3-D model of Center City as my entrée to Julia Converse and the Kahn Collection, and thus my first attempt of a CAD construction of an unbuilt architectural design. ...finally my uncanny meeting with Joseph Rykwert and his having worked on my drafting table.
Within months of leaving Penn I had my own CAD system, and that was when I began to redraw the Campo Marzio. As a very marginal member of the Philadelphia School, I don't see it as an unconnected avocation at all--more a kind of full circle scenario.

26 December 2000
a change of plan
In all likelihood, the 20th century architects that looked at Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius did not see this large plan of ancient Rome's Campo Marzio in the way that Piranesi first etched it. That the Ichnographia exists in two different states is indeed a knowledge of which architecture's historical scholars and foremost practitioners have so far remained oblivious. The commonly published Campo Marzio plan does not match Piranesi's original rendition exactly. The change of plan is clearly evident upon a careful view of the circuses delineated throughout both versions of the plan. In the original version, each circus within Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan integrally engages its surrounding buildings, while each circus within the later version of the Ichnographia is redrawn completely and disengaged from its immediate surroundings. When, why, and by whom these changes occurred is perhaps to be found out by future scholarship. Meanwhile, it is best to document precisely what the two states of the Ichnographia Campus Martius are.

26 December 2020

Virtual Painting 614

26 December 2022   Monday

Bénigne Gagneraux, detail of The Meeting of the King Gustav III of Sweden and the Pope Pius VI at the Museo Pio-Clementino in Rome on 1 January 1784 (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 1785).

Bénigne Gagneraux, detail of The Meeting of the King Gustav III of Sweden and the Pope Pius VI at the Museo Pio-Clementino in Rome on 1 January 1784 (Prague: National Gallery, 1785).

The scene from the Museo Pio-Clementino is a somewhat adapted replica of a painting that Gageraux made for Gustav III in 1785, now housed in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. The painting records the encounter of the Protestant ruler with the head of the Catholic Church during an inspection of the rich sculpture collection in the Vatican Museum. Inspections of art collections commonly formed part of official visits. The meeting took place shortly after the Vatican museums were opened to the public on the first day of 1784. The artist finished the canvas in March 1785. Still before being transported to Sweden it had received exceptional recognition and Pope Pius VI commissioned a replica of it. This signed and dated painting fell in the hands of the Imperial Army in Italy in 1798-1801. The piece was loaned from Franz II’s collections to the Prague Castle, from where it entered the Picture Gallery of the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts (the predecessor of the National Gallery Prague). The scene is set in the Hall of Muses, with a view of the Sala Rotonda; the representive nature of the scene is enhanced by the depicted sculptures, among them a copy of the Amazon by Phaedias, The Three Graces, Apollo of the Belvedere and Ganymede. Most of the men in the king's retinue can be identified. In some aspects, the Prague painting is a perfected variant of the first version. In the first version of the composition, two faces known from the Prague painting are missing. These are of Cardinal Pierre de Bernis to the right of the pope and the young man at the side of the animatedly gesturing prelate, who may conceivably be the painter himself. It is of some interest that here he portrayed himself in a different, more important place than in the first version of the painting, where he depicted himself in the background, in a group with Francesco Piranesi and Johan Tobias Sergel.

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