The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

7 October 1778   Wednesday
Piranesi's thinking about what he's going to do at the meeting of the Academy of S. Luca on Sunday.

Shortly before midnight, Piranesi woke from an unusual dream. All he can remember is walking through a prison and a prisoner yelled, "I'll never say it again! Please let me out! I promise!" Piranesi got very annoyed and left immediately. On his way out he encountered a guard.
"His sentence is here for eternity."
"What on earth did he do?"
"He was always saying there are no streets in the Campo Marzio."
"Ah, so the punishment does fit the crime."
"Of course, Your Excellency."

7 October 1812   Wednesday

...the air became milder and evening starlight. T. Palmer came hither about 11 .... .... engaged with calculating the interest and settling his accounts with the Heirs of Dupont till late in the afternoon.

7 October 2006
remember when death was celebrated as a spectator sport?
new insights regarding the Campo Marzio Busti
Proceeding with translating all the Latin labels of the Ichnographia, new ideas regarding the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Augustus developed. I haven't compared and contrasted them before, but it appears that Piranesi treats the two Busti as opposites of each other. The development of this notion is as follows:

Piranesi's label of the radiating triangular clitoporticus of the Bustum Hadriani translates as a porticus dedicated to the evocation of the gods and the spirits of the Lower World. Of course, such a porticus fits perfectly on the axis of death, and this death axis is also further reinforced by the correct meaning of the Bustum, a place of cremation along with the slab for the burning bodies and the funeral-pyre [all on axis]. Moreover, the design of the clitoporticus directs all focus upon the place of burning, and it is easy to imagine the wailing that would emanate from this place--it is interesting to match the raising of wailing voices from the clitoporticus with the raising of smoke from the cavea bustum. The whole Bustum Hadriani, now more than ever, comes across as exceedingly morbid, and, ironically, it seems that the burning of the dead within the Bustum Hadriani is treated as a spectator sport, especially with the grandstands of the cavae bustum.

Next, I began to translate the labels of the Bustum Augustii, and here I found the exact opposite wording--the joyful recollection of Augustus. The evocation of joy is certainly the opposite of evoking the spirits of the underworld, and it was this sharp contrast that led me to notice all the other contrasts between the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Augustii.
The list of contrasts is as follows:
a. where Hadrian's clitoporticus funnels inward, Augustus' memoriae fans outward.
b. where the Hadrian precinct is square, the Augustan precinct is round.
c. the Hadrian Bustum proper is a "depression," where the Augustan Bustum is "uplifting," raised on a hill.
d. the center of the Bustum Hadriani is fire, and the center of the Bustum Augustii is water.
e. the Bustum Hadriani is surrounded by a canal (moat), and the Bustum Augustii is surrounded by a wall.
f. the Bustum Hadriani, with its circuses, is open to all, where the Bustum Augustii, with its iron gate, is closed.
g. where the Bustum Hadriani has a fair degree of archeological veracity, the Bustum Augustii is full of blatant misplacements.
In simple allegorical terms, the Bustum Augustii represents the "rise" of Rome, and the Bustum Hadriani represents the "fall" of Rome, which is just another inversion derived from a whole set of inversions. The notion of "rise" and "fall," moreover, can be seen in the phallic porticus of the Bustum Augustii versus the arch of Gratian, Valentinian et Theodosius, which represents the last Roman triumph along with the end of the unified empire.
I never expected to make this type of discovery, and this certainly is important because it encompasses the Campo Marzio's two largest complexes, and the two Imperial mausoleums. It is also important because of all Rome's history, i. e., Pagan, Christian, and Imperial, is allegorically represented in the plan. Furthermore, it is clear through the designs of the two busti that Piranesi was very consciously drawing and designing the Ichnographia allegorically with a full knowledge and understanding of Rome's history and its archeology. It is almost as though the design of the Bustum Augustii is Piranesi's own expression of joy in evoking the glories of Augustan and Imperial Rome at its best.
it's like where Rossi got his best cemetery ideas.

7 October 2017

Virtual Painting 477

7 October 2022   Friday

20:58 A
Would love to meet you in person one day

20:59 A

This is what it looked like. Mine is on the left. Apparently that's Hejduk's anatomical model. And Thomas Demand in the back.

21:01 S
Hey Andrew, is that at Model Behavior?

21:01 A
Yes it is.

21:02 S
Love how you populated it!!!

21:02 A

21:03 A

21:02 S
Did you tell Cynthia Davidson that that work of yours is in The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project?

21:05 A
No I didn't.
I was exhausted,
I took a red eye.

Thankfully everything arrived just fine.

21:06 S
Well tell her now and let me know what she says.
I mean it

21:07 A
Don't say you spoke to me! lol

21:10 S
That will be entirely up to Piranesi or, the latest co-author, Miers Fisher--that's Miers like Meiers.

21:11 A
I see I see
Never heard of him.

21:12 S
Nor did I until I found I'm currently living on his estate 200 years ago.

21:12 A
Haha that's cool

21:14 S
There's pretty much everything I know about him at

21:23 A

I'm going to make this project in December in Abu Dhabi (70% confident)
It will be smaller.

21:24 S
Abu Dhabi, huh.

21:25 A
Yes Abu Dhabi--it's temporary--a folly made of foam that is an entrance to a food court and high end.

21:29 S
Yes, and tell Abu Dhabi that that arch is also in The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project!

21:31 A

21:51 S
And judging by the content you're providing, you're "like a god-send" co-author, truly.

21:52 A
I appreciate that--that's generous.

21:55 S
And on clear nights for the past couple months Jupiter and I are face to face. So between you and Jupiter I can't go wrong.

22:13 A
Right on.

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