The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

24 August 410
Visigothic siege
"Thus began the third Visigothic siege, actually blockade, of Rome, an event whose outcome, after some eight centuries in which the imperial City had known impunity from foreign foes, created a shock of horror from Bethlehem to Britain. Once again Gothic bravery found itself daunted by the walls of Emperor Aurelian; the treachery that the Romans had feared in the beginning of 408 now in fact admitted the Goths by the Salarian Gate, 24 August 410, but not before the City had once again felt the bite of famine. Some buildings were burned, notably the Palace of Sallust the historian, which stood in its magnificence gardens near the gate of entry, perhaps the Basilica Aemilia in the Roman Forum, and the Palace of Saint Melania and Pinianus on the Caelian Hill, then one of the most fashionable quarters of Rome. Palaces and temples were plundered, some persons were slain or tortured to reveal their presumed hidden wealth; some virgins and other females were raped, but churches, especially the basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, were spared and made places of refuge."
Stewart Irvin Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta: A Biographical Essay (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 96-7.

24 August 1778   Monday
. . . . . .

Artifacts of the Bianconi vs Piranesi 'Circus of Caracalla' affair   1772-1789

Pierre-Adrien Pâris   circa 1804

48 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1806
Le Antichitā della Magna Grecia   Parte II

Demonstration of the main door of the house located opposite the Basilica, as well as the Large Capital of the door of the house with three Cavedium.
Drawn by G.B. Piranesi
Engraved by F. Piranesi Year 1806

24 August 1812   Monday

Morning opaque clouds hid the sky, wind SE southerly very faint, temperature 71°. The clouds broke and rose, sun shone at intervals. PM temperature rose to [blank] and a bull's eye appeared in the WNW. At 4 the clouds passed to leeward and the sun appeared in the splendor of noon.

24 August 1977

24 August 2017

zero seven six

24 August 2023   Thursday

Even though I had a pretty bad headache, after dinner I decided to again read Gerhard Köpf's 1992 novel Piranesi's Dream. I had first read the book July 2001, and a second time in July 2005:

2005.07.21 18:03
Novels about architecture
Maybe Piranesi's Dream: A Novel?
I'm re-reading it presently, and it is fun.
My comments here show I was first reading it exactly four years ago:
I'm almost finished reading Gerhard Köpf's PIRANESI'S DREAM, a 1992 biographical novel written in German, and translated into English in 2000. So far it is a very good read, and very architectural in its content, with lots of surprises like Piranesi's wife having been a high class prostitute/whore and full disclosure of Winckelmann's homosexuality (i.e., 'art history' beginning because some man loved young testicles, etc.). The whole book is written in the first person, with that person being the present dead Piranesi. Besides enjoying all of Piranesi's thoughts, I also find the book a quite interesting comment on architecture and its aesthetics today in that the course of human events is often so easily misguided. Piranesi is not a happy dead man, and he tells you why.
Here's an excerpt I find most inducing:
"But even worse was to come. I was accused of reveling in the ugly. What humbug! The theory of the fine arts, the legislation of good taste, the science of aesthetics were already highly developed and thoroughly refined in my time. Only the concept of the ugly, although they touched upon it everywhere, had remained behind. And actually what is ugly exists insofar as what is beautiful does. What is ugly comes into being from and with the beautiful. It is indignant at what is beautiful and likes to form an alliance with what is comical. In Nature what is ugly exists as little as what is beautiful or straight lines do, and it is a mistake to consider disease a cause of what is ugly. The realm of the ugly is much larger than the realm of sensual phenomena in general. Beautiful and ugly are not value opposites, rather at best opposites of stimulation. Concerning anything that is ugly it must be said that the relationship to what is beautiful that is neglected by it is included. Only what is ugly guarantees the aesthetic correction of tradition."
Just think about how true (and perhaps even axiomatic) that last sentence really is.

Well, upon getting the book from the shelf and opening it up, I find out, surprisingly, that I read the whole book for a third time July 5, 2021, because there are dated post-it notes throughout the entire book.

Why did I have no recollection of having done this? Then, thinking back to July 2021, my non-recollection made sense: after my brother's stroke and rehab late January through February 2021, he came home being able to get up and walk somewhat, but not without assistance, and I became his sole 24/7 caregiver. I simply had to learn and do what I had to do, but on 29 July 2021 I had to call 911, not for my brother, but for me because I was experiencing a tight chest and prolonged shortness of breath and wasn't sure whether I was having a heart attack or not. Luckily, my issue was stress, but that day and its aftermath meant things had to change. By the end of September 2021 JP entered our lives, and a new and workable status quo came into existence. Alas, were it not for the post-it notes, my 5 July 2021 reading of Piranesi's Dream would be lost to oblivion.

Besides needing something to read to de-compress at night, I also wanted to read again how Köpf intertwined Winckelmann with Piranesi's mature years. My headache prevented me from reading any of the book, but I did read my notes, and that's when I noticed the phrase 'The stronzetto Winckelmann', which translates to 'the little shit Winckelmann'!

At least I was able to end the day with a laugh.

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