The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

4 December 1778   Friday

Vüe A de quelques unes des Colonnes de la façade opposée á celle de la planche precedente qui est la même que, l'on voit gravée dans la premiere planche D. La Colonne B, est située dans le milieu de ce rang. Quelques uns des membres C. de son chapiteau sont tres delicatement entaillés, et sont differents de ceux D. Le Frise E de ce coté est tellement gatée que l'on ne peut se former aucune idée de son ancienne forme. Quiconque s'est appliqué á l'architecture s'appercevra facilement que le tout a été éx écute par des principes raisonnés, que les grandes experiences en tel genre rendirent l'ouvrage complette en beauté et que l'hazard n'y a point eu de part, comme pourroient le penser ceux qui n'ont pas de cet art des connoissances suffisantes. Les deux Temples F. G. sont egalement dessinés dans la même situation, comme on les a demontré dans la premiere planche par les lettres C.     Cav Piranesi F
View A of some of the Columns of the facade opposite to that of the preceding plate, which is the same as one sees engraved in the first plate D. Column B is located in the middle of this row. Some of the members C. of its capital are very delicately notched, and are different from those D. The Frieze E on this side is so spoiled that one cannot form any idea of ??its former form. Anyone who has applied himself to architecture will easily notice that the whole thing was executed by reasoned principles, that great experiments of this kind made the work complete in beauty and that there was no chance. on the other hand, as those who do not have sufficient knowledge of this art might think. The two Temples F. G. are also drawn in the same situation, as they have been shown in the first plate by the letters C.

4 December 1789
"Miers Fisher had negotiated the purchase of Mill Grove for Jean Audubon [John James Audubon's father] in 1789. Twenty-three hundred English pounds in gold and silver-roughly $200,000 today-bought 284 acres of fair Pennsylvania farmland and woods with a two-story dormered fieldstone mansion set high on a steep lawn, stone barns and outbuildings and working water-powered flour and sawmills down the lawn beside the broad Perkiomen."
Richard Rhodes, John James Audubon (2004).

"On landing at New York [August 1803] I caught the yellow fever by walking to the bank at Greenwich to get the money to which my father's letter of credit entitled me. The kind man who commanded the ship that brought me from France, whose name was a common one, John Smith, took particular care of me, removed me to Morristown, N.J., and placed me under the care of two Quaker ladies who kept a boarding-house. To their skillful and untiring ministrations I may safely say I owe the prolongation of my life. Letters were forwarded by them to my father's agent, Miers Fisher of Philadelphia, of whom I have more to say hereafter. He came for me in his carriage and removed me to his villa, at a short distance from Philadelphia and on the road toward Trenton. There I would have found myself quite comfortable had not incidents taken place which are so connected with the change in my life as to call immediate attention to them.
Miers Fisher had been my father's trusted agent for about eighteen years, and the old gentlemen entertained great mutual friendship; indeed it would seem that Mr. Fisher was actually desirous that I should become a member of his family, and this was evinced within a few days by the manner in which the good Quaker presented me to a daughter of no mean appearance, but toward whom I happened to take an unconquerable dislike. [Lydia Fisher was 16 years old 9 February 1804. She eventually married Benjamin Warner.] Then he was opposed to music of all descriptions, as well as to dancing, could not bear me to carry a gun, or fishing-rod, and, indeed, condemned most of my amusements. All these things were difficulties toward accomplishing a plan which, for aught I know to the contrary, had been premeditated between him and my father, and rankled the heart of the kindly, if somewhat strict Quaker. They troubled me much also; at times I wished myself anywhere but under the roof of Miers Fisher, and at least I reminded him that it was his duty to install me on the estate to which my father had sent me.
One morning, therefore, I was told that the carriage was ready to carry me there, and toward my future home he and I went. You are too well acquainted with the position of Mill Grove for me to allude to that now; suffice it to say that we reached the former abode of my father about sunset. I was presented to our tenant, William Thomas, who also was a Quaker, and took possession under certain restrictions, which amounted to my not receiving more than enough money per quarter than was considered sufficient for the expenditure of a young gentleman.
Miers Fisher left me the next morning, and after him went my blessings, for I thought his departure a true deliverance; yet this was only because our tastes and educations were so different, for he certainly was a good and learned man."
John James Audubon, "Myself" in Audubon and His Journals (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897), pp. 15-17.

4 December 1812   Friday

Heavy rain in the night and continued till 8 AM. The Danish temperature hung last night upon the same pin with the old one, is nearly one degree higher and it so continues now till noon . . . . . . . ..... is very ... for instruments of construction, so different made in distant places. The rain in transit with very thick fog . I have read this forenoon the report of the Committee of Ways and Means in Congress on the bonds given by the merchants for the amount of goods imported since the repeat of the order in council[?]. It seems ......... intended by the Committee and of the Congress if they shall adopt it to have something more than the double duties. The two temperatures have kept about the same distance, the wind having got round to south, and they to about 60 and 61 degrees.

4 December 1999
I'm (spot) reading Hilde Heynen's Architecture and Modernity (MIT Press, 1999). Hilde was a member of NeTHCA's (Network for Theory, History and Criticism of Architecture, Belgium) scientific committee which selected my paper for INSIDE DENSITY. Hilde was also a key organizer of INSIDE DENSITY, and she recognized reenactment as a powerful concept. Her book towards the end deals with mimesis, and I now see further how mimesis and reenactment cut a similar profile, but I also see how the concept of reenactment potentially manifests an annexation of mimesis.

4 December 2000
"Elegance", Aesthetics and Formalism
You might be interested to read:
Christian Norberg-Schulz, "Kahn, Heidegger and the Language of Architecture" in Oppositions 18 (MIT Press, 1980).
Robert Venturi, "Context in Architectural Composition", in Iconography and Electronics Upon a Generic Architecture (MIT Press, 1996). "Context in Architectural Composition" is a reprint of Venturi's M.F.A. thesis project from Princeton 1950. An excerpt from the 1996 introduction to the thesis:
"I include this work because its subject, context in architecture, represents almost a cliché in our field and because the origin of this idea has become almost forgotten: a Philadelphia architect, for instance, recently confidently referred to context as an architectural element that evolved in the seventies. But I vividly remember my Eureka-like response in 1949 when I came across the idea of perceptual context in Gestalt psychology as I perused a journal of psychology in the library in Eno Hall at Princeton and recognized its relevance for architecture..."
Robert Venturi

4 December 2001
Piranesi Prison dates, etc.
In "Notes From Underground" Berman incorrectly dates the Imaginary Prisons of Piranesi. Instead of 1745 for the first state and 1761 for the second state, 1749-50 is the correct date for the first state, as is 1761 for the second state. Thus Piranesi was between 29 and 30 years old when he first published the Invenzioni Capric. Di Carceri (Fanciful Images of Prisons).
Relative to Piranesi's other publications up to 1749, it is interesting to note that the Carceri are not dedicated and/or not commissioned, meaning they are works executed of Piranesi's own volition (a relative rarity in Piranesi's complete oeuvre). Moreover, it is worth comparing the Carceri with Piranesi's first published work, the Prima Parte Di Architetture (Part One of Architecture and Perspectives: Imagined and Etched by Gio. Batt.a Piranesi). The Prima Parte, published in 1743 when Piranesi was 23 years old, can easily be considered Piranesi's initial design portfolio.
Observed together the Prima Parte and the Carceri manifest a double theater where the first "play" is inversely reflected in the second "play". (Note too that the second "play" comes with two "acts".)
I don't like having to do this (because it implies that some editor is not really doing their job), but it must be pointed out that Joseph Rykwert made (at least) one factual mistake within The Seduction of Place (2000). On page 150, Rykwert states:
"The attempt to provide a mimetic "condensation" of another place and time is not new. Centuries ago pilgrimages to remote and sacred places were replicated for those who could not afford to leave home. The fourteen [S]tations of the [C]ross, which you may find in any Roman Catholic church, are a miniaturized and atrophied version of the pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem."
The above is complete disinformation. The Stations of the Cross do not represent a "pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem." The Stations of the Cross are a ritual reenactment of what Christ experienced on the day of His crucifixion.
Interestingly, the example that Rykwert should have put forth is that of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the church in Rome built within the Sessorian Palace, the imperial home of Helena Augusta, which today houses Christianity's most valuable relics (of the "Stations of the Cross"). Additionally, Santa Croce (which means Holy Cross) is built upon ground brought back by Helena from Golgotha, site of Christ's crucifixion. Santa Croce is indeed one of Rome's primal pilgrimage churches.
"Virtual Gerusalemme" will be a major feature within "Theatrics Times Two."

4 December 2001
design of war?!?!
Today, 4 December, is the feast of St. Barbara.
The following is the last paragraph from "St. Barbara" in Butler's Lives of the Saints:
"So is told in Caxton's version of the Golden Legend the story of one of the most popular saints of the middle ages. There is, however, considerable doubt of the existence of a virgin martyr called Barbara and it is quite certain that her legend is spurious. There is no mention of her in the early martyrologies, her legend is not older than the seventh century, and her cultus did not spread till the ninth. Various versions differ both as to the time and place of her martyrdom: it is located in Tuscany, Rome, Antioch, Helispolis, and Nicomedia. St. Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and that she is invoked against lightening and fire and, by association, as patroness of gunners, military architects, and miners is attributed to the nature of the fate that overtook her father. The tower represented in her pictures and her directions to the builders of the bath-house have caused her to be regarded as a patroness of architects, builders, and stonemasons; and her prayer before her execution accounts for the belief that she is an especial protectress of those in danger of dying without the sacraments."
When I first read the above almost a year ago, I couldn't help but be struck by the many similarities of Barbara's "story" and some of the occurrences within the actual life of St. Helena. It makes me wonder if Helena's "story" at sometime and in some areas morphed into the legend of St. Barbara. For example, Helena was for many years in "exile" when she was divorced from Constantine's father, there was a great bath in Rome named Therme Heleniana, and St. Helena too is the patroness of miners. In any case, it is interesting how saints, especially those that are not believed to have actually existed, manage to manifest a true "double theater" of belief versus (accepted) reality.
Re: TX2/Plato's Spelunking
Last week I started reading Yates' The Art of Memory. The first chapter describes how the ancient Romans "taught" memory (now known as mnemonics). Briefly, there was/is this whole operation of setting up something like a (house) "plan" in your mind and then placing what you want to remember in designated "rooms". After somewhat understanding the principle, it dawned on me that the Ichnographia Campus Martius is very much such a "memory plan". I freely admit that my present retention of data relative to ancient Rome is greatly aided (if not in fact generated) by my "hands-on" knowledge of Piranesi's plan. It seems that I was actually practicing (albeit unwittingly) a type of mnemonics as I was CAD redrawing the Ichnographia.
This leads to wondering if there are other "memory places" being created out there.

4 December 2015

4 December 2022   Sunday
"As much as anyone, Rousseau shaped what remains to a large degree our current understanding of adolescence. Concerned that "nothing is known about childhood," Rousseau wrote the novel Emile in 1762 as a corrective to those who, in his words, "keep looking for the man in the child, not thinking of what he is before he becomes a man. " In outlining what he calls the natural development of the child, Rousseau characterizes adolescence as "the second birth," beginning at age sixteen with "The Age of Friendship" in which "we are born twice over; the first time for existence, the second for life; once as human beings and later as men or women." Whereas the child is androgynous, says Rousseau, the adolescent is distinctly male or female. Whereas childhood is characterized by self-love, adolescence marks the birth of self-esteem. And whereas the task of children is to study the physical world, like Robinson Crusoe on his island, adolescence provokes a new awareness of oneself as a moral being inextricably related with others in a network of social relations.
According to the prevailing convention of his time, however, Rousseau offers the development of the young woman within the novel of seduction. Influenced by La vie de Marianne (Marianne's Life), Marivaux's novel begun in 1731 of a young girl of unknown parentage and her initiation into love and society, and by Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa Harlowe (1748), Rousseau wrote the epistolary La nouvelle Heloise, (The New Heloise, 1761) one of the most influential novels of the century. Only vaguely resembling the medieval tale of Heloise and Abelard to which the title refers, the novel offers an education on the purification of adolescent passion and on the spirit of female renunciation and sacrifice that Rousseau says should greet the end of those turbulent years.
By 1770 Rousseau had finished a new sort of inquiry into human nature, the autobiographical probing into the self. By way of answering "Who is Jean- Jacques Rousseau?" the philosopher devotes fully one-half of the Confessions (1781-1788) to an analysis of his own adolescence- "This period of my youth ... of which I have the most confused idea." The result is a stunning portrait of youth recounted with all the advantages that the autobiographical mode affords. "I was restless, absent-minded, and dreamy; I wept and sighed and longed for a pleasure which I could not imagine but of which I nevertheless felt the lack," he writes, recounting the bewildering feelings that accompany sexual awakening. Of particular interest is the emotional climate--by turns idyllic and melancholic, intense, and incestuous--that surrounds the pivotal relationship of his youth, his liaison with Mme de Warens.
Reflecting the influence of Rousseau, Choderlos de Laclos produced the enormously popular Les liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Acquaintances, 1782), another novel of education by seduction (Vicomte de Valmont seduces young Cecile and Mme de Merteuil seduces Cecile's young lover, Chevalier de Danceny); in 1787 an admirer of Rousseau, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, launched the perhaps even more popular utopian novel, Paul et Virginie (Paul and Virginia), which sees youth as essentially innocent, adulthood essentially corrupt. In this work the idyllic life of the children on the island of Mauritius gives way to catastrophe as adulthood approaches and civilization intrudes.
In Germany the debate about human nature and human potential was filtered through two of literature's most famous adolescents, Johann Wolfgang Goethe's young Werther and Wilhelm Meister. In Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774), Goethe adopted the epistolary method begun by Richardson and developed by Rousseau to afford the fullest possible view of the psychological workings of the dark side of romanticism. Goethe was to describe the adolescent Werther as "a young man, gifted with deep, unspoiled sensitivity and penetrating insight, who loses himself in visionary dreams, undermines himself by empty speculations until finally, deranged by unhappy passions he experiences, especially an unending love, he puts a bullet in his head." Considered a document of the romantic Sturm und Drang movement of Johann Gottfried Herder, Goethe's novel influenced among other works Ugo Foscolo's novel Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis (The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis, 1802), and Chateaubriand's novel Rene (1802). In its portrait of death sought at the moment of consummation, it looks to Andre Gide and nineteenth-century romanticism.
The adolescent was also a vehicle for articulating Germany's particular brand of late-eighteenth-century bourgeois humanism and its concern with Werden, or "becoming." Is a coherent, integrated self possible? Such a question lies at the heart of Christoph Martin Wieland's Agathon (1766-1767), a novel in which the young hero seeks harmony between head and heart, spirit and flesh, a theme that would dominate the nineteenth century. The question is reiterated in Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, 1795-1796), the archetype of the Bildungsroman and one of the most influential novels ever written. "To put it in a word," remarks Wilhelm Meister, "to develop myself, entirely as I am, that was obscurely my wish and intention from childhood." It was also the aim of many an eighteenth-century hero. Appearing almost simultaneously with Wilhelm Meister was Johann Friedrich Holderlin's Hyperion (1797-1799), the tale of a young romantic whose search for an ideal community ends in failure and in his own self-imposed isolation. In Novalis' Heinrich von Ofterdingen (Henry of Ofterdingen: A Romance, 1802), the fragment of an apprenticeship novel, the young hero finds redemption in the world of the imagination rther than in Wilhelm Meister's practical world."
Andrea Gale Hammer, "Adolescence" in Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs   A-J (1988), pp. 4-6.

"Napoleon once said that a well-placed spy was worth more to him than 20,000 troops, and military/political leaders long before and after him would not disagree with his maxim. Authors long before and after Napoleon also have known the value of weaving espionage activities into their mirrors of reality. Book 2 of Joshua relates the adventures of two spies who collaborate with the harlot Rahib to gain information that will help tumble the walls of Jericho. In Homer's epic poem Ilias 10 (Iliad, 8th century B.C.) wily Odysseus and his comrade Diomedes equip themselves to infiltrate Trojan territory to learn the exact strength of Hector's forces. While gathering this combat intelligence, they kill a number of the enemy, steal valuable livestock, and capture, interrogate, and kill the Trojan spy Dolon, who had been sent on a similar mission into the Achaean camp. The central part of Virgil's epic poem Aeneis 9 (Aeneid, 19 B.C.) focuses on the secret mission of Euralus and Nisus, who equip themselves to cross into the lines of the Rutulians, where they plan to gather military information valuable to their absent leader and friend Aeneas."
Edward J. Danis, "Spy" in Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs   L-Z (1988), p. 1228.

21:09   SL
And don't forget to tell Abu Dhabi that SUPEROBJECT ARCH is already in The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project. Just sayin'.
2022.12.05 04:20   AK
Lol yes I believe it

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