Interpretation of the Campo Marzio of Piranesi
Written over fifty years ago, Fasolo's opening argument unwittingly describes today's architect of the virtual realm, that is, an architect who designs "potential" realities utilizing CAD, 3-D, and Cyberspace, and is no longer restricted to the dormancy of images on paper. From our turn-of-the-millennium perspective, therefore, Piranesi fills the role of Ur-architect of the virtual realm.
Piranesi, meanwhile, demonstrates, in certain designs and sketches of idealized architectural inventions, his knowledge of forms, of fundamental architectural forms, of the rules of classical architecture as well as the architecture of the 16th century, especially the Venetian--Palladian and Sansovinian--all infused with an enlightened [bibbienesco] spirit.
A sketch for a great porticoed square dominated by a triumphal arch shows his command of compositions of strict Roman provenance, more notable if one makes connections to analogous themes developed by his contemporaries or neighbors, especially Juvarra. Even the "Carceri", which in their totality are nothing but a poetic and romantic vision with pictorial and resplendent ends, are composed with a well reasoned rigor and with linked mural structures: the interlacing of arches and vaults unfold in a resolved framework, in mural networks arranged with an architectural logic that makes possible a projection of the structural scheme.
Even in these visions the temper of the architect is manifested in the modeling of the secondary architectural details, in the weight and cut of the stone, particularly observed in the reproduction of bridges, on which Piranesi lingers attracted by their antique structure (the Cestio and Lucano bridges).
Again in the plates of the sluice gates of Albano: it is a gigantic work, accentuated by a knowing appreciation of its references, by the pressures of the architraves and the arches, which excites the artist in those senses that belong to the architect that knows how to grasp the language of the material and the vibrations of its associations with living things.
Quondam © 2010.05.13