The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

4 August 1778   Tuesday
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Artifacts of the Bianconi vs Piranesi 'Circus of Caracalla' affair   1772-1789

Tavola III   Internal Long View
Fig. I. Ruin in present state.   Fig. II. Restoration.   Fig. III. Corresponding plan.
partial view

47 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1805
Le Antichità della Magna Grecia   Parte II

Section across the width of Mamia's tomb, its site, its Ustrinum, and its Circular part called Schola.
Drawn by G.B. Piranesi
Engraved by F. Piranesi Year 13 (1805)

4 August 1812   Tuesday

Morning clear, wind N, temperature about 70°, rose to 85°. W. Dixon and myself spent the forenoon in reading The Inebriad. Dr. Moore came hither to dinner, spent 2 hours afterwards in literary conversation.
James finished sowing buckwheat in 3 small patches this day.
I read this afternoon from T Gilpin under cover an opened letter from my son Miers Jr. to Reuben Haines dated last 15/27 March, it came under cover to me June 22nd last and being forwarded to R.H. he as requested has sent it me being near two weeks later than the letter to me enclosing it, to learn that my soon is well 14 days later than his last advice to me is very satisfactory, especially as I had some weeks ago a virtual hint that he was in declining health, which could not be true as the 26th March is certainly as late as any communication from Russia has been read. T.G. also sent me the newspapers of today containing several important articles. .........., the Declaration of the County of Essex, Massachusetts is not the least, some late account from Baltimore distressingly interesting, etc. etc.
The wind this afternoon has gradually come round by the E to S from whence it is now at sunset, fresh, clouds in S and W, northwestern horizon clear.

4 August 1994
gallery self portrait

the last of 32 pages

4 August 1998
...the Equiria is chronologically the first axis of the Campo Marzio.

4 August 2007
Koolhaas & Eisenman Discuss "Urgency" at the CCA
About 180 more years of an architecture dominated by the combined assimilating and metabolic imaginations, and then roughly 500 years of an architecture dominated by a pure metabolic imagination. All the while the profane osmotic imagination remains in the background. So much for the physiology, morphologically a bi-polar structural cage will continue to branch and grow (till completion c. 3091).
--inside scoop from the ongoing embryonic development within.

4 August 2022
Deciding to publish "The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project" online at occurred 13 July 2022.
Since 10 June 2022, I was in the process of writing the "discovery's" definitive text in the fashion of an essay for Log, the independent journal on architecture and the contemporary city. By 11 July 2022 it became evident that the story and illustration of Piranesi's final project along with the story of the discovery of Piranesi's final project would extend well beyond the limits of an essay of a dozen or so pages. Moreover, publishing "The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project" online at affords the opportunity of writing about the last five months of Piranesi's life in parallel time exactly 244 years later. For example, on 4 August 1778, work in Piranesi's workshop on Ancient Circuses still involved the erasure of all the circus plans within the 'Ichnographia Campus Martius' copper plates; the erasure of the Circus Maximus plan within the 'Pianta dell antico Foro Romano' copper plate was complete and drawing of the new and revised Circus Maximus plan on paper was just beginning.
Also by 11 July 2022 I came to realize that Piranesi's work on Ancient Circuses was not an isolated activity, but rather the initiation of a new and extensive publishing enterprise, the full outline of which Piranesi was also writing during the summer of 1778. The text of Part II of Francesco Piranesi's 1804 Calcographie des Piranesi, ou, Traité des arts d'architecture, peinture et sculpture : développés par la vue des principaux monumens antiques et modernes is indeed the outline Giovanni Battista Piranesi wrote the last months of his life. Piranesi envisioned three enormous works, Antiquities of Magna Graecia, now Kingdom of Naples, Antiquities of Rome, built from the time of Kings, Republics and Emperors, down to Constantine, and Antiquities of Preneste, 77 volumes of images and texts in all. Given that Piranesi turned 58 years of age 4 October 1778, it's easy to wonder whether even Piranesi himself believed it possible to publish 77 more volumes before his eventual death, yet, after reading Mario Bevilacqua's "Piranesi 1778. Ricerche interrotte, opere perdute" 30 June 2022, I've come to believe that Piranesi knew for sure that the vast majority of the material to fill 77 new volumes existed in all the "paperwork" generated by his oeuvre complète thus far, but Piranesi probably also knew for sure that he himself would never see the manifestation of 77 new volumes before his life came to an end.

4 August 2023   Friday
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