The Plays of Nicholas Breakspear
The last line (so far) of 'It rocked Eisenman on his chair...' reads:
...except Piranesi does not depict the two Medusa head medalions. Obviously Piranesi took some artistic license in his depiction (which in itself is not unusual for him), but this difference raises a whole casket full of problems. For a start, it's most unlikely for the sarcophagus of a teenage Christian imperial wife to bear such pagan iconography--Maria was married to the son of the Emperor Theodusius I who legally abolished all paganism throughout the Roman Empire and installed Christianity as the only state religion. Was Piranesi trying to hide some sort of Imperial blemish? I doubt it. Looking deeper, if Breakspear was entombed within this late-antique sacophagus soon after his death 854 years ago today, then it could not be the sarcophagus of Maria because that sarcophagus was not discovered until 3 February 1544 during the demolishions of the old Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican. Of course, the papal remains could have been placed within the newly found sarcophagus after 1544. but there are no records of such an event having taken place. In fact, there are no records, as far as I can find, that even link the sarcophagus of Pope Adrian IV with the sarcophagus of Maria, except, as it happens, my own recognition of the resemblence between the actual papal sarcophagus and Piranesi's depiction of the imperial sacophagus. So what's really going on here?
This key position is as head-piece of the Latin language dedication of Il Campo Marzio to Englishman Robert Adam.
Quondam © 2017.11.27