piranesi

1998

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1998.05.14
Campo Marzio - contiguous elements, etc.
Last night I began to collect all the contiguous elements of the Ichnographia available thus far. It is an activity that goes quickly and the results are inspirational in that they spur on further ideas as well as provide incentive for further work such as 3-D modeling.
It does now seem to be the time for me to bring all my Campo Marzio work to its final form.
Today I thought that the continual mistakes essay could be part of the opening of the Campo Marzio book. It actually could be the introduction.
I also began to review the Middleton and Lanciani texts. I still have to copy them, and now begin to catalogue all my source data per building. I will collect everything: textual references, bibliographical notes, my notes, various CAD drawings, and Piranesi's drawings. This will become an important document because it organizes all of the information that is scattered throughout the notes or just plain stored in my head.
I will from here on refer to the above project as the Ichnographia Encyclopedia.


1998.06.02
Hadrian and Plotina and Paulina Domitia, etc.
According to the biography of Hadrian, he was a favorite of Plotina. In fact, there is some cause to believe that it was Plotina that got Hadrian named as successor at Trajan's deathbed.
I also now know that Hadrian's birth mother's name was Paulina Domitia, and this fact lead to further speculation as to the meaning of the sepulcher familia domitia at the opposite end of the axis of death--the counter point of Hadrian's tomb. Because of the similarity in name, there is now reference to both Hadrian's real mother and to his adoptive mother within the axis of life and death.
I believe this sheds even more light on Piranesi's overall intention in reenacting (not reconstructing) the Campo Marzio. In redrawing the Campo Marzio, it is now very clear to me that Piranesi was also redesigning the Campo Marzio, and a redesign not at all capricious, but one based wholeheartedly on a vast amount of historical facts. That is to say, Piranesi set out to improve the ancient Campo Marzio's "urban plan" without changing the region's existing program. In a very possibly intentional way, Piranesi's actions parallel those of the Emperor Hadrian whose redesign of the Pantheon one assumes was an improvement upon the original Pantheon designed by Agrippa. This parallel between Piranesi and Hadrian, moreover, may even explain why Piranesi presents Hadrian's tomb with such blatantly unarcheological exaggeration. Piranesi may quite simply be presenting his re-design of the tomb were he the "Roman" architect commissioned to carry out the task. (Piranesi's design is simply an enlargement for the accommodation of more dead emperors.)
I am now reminded of Stirling's notion of evolutionary designing, and his statements about what could or should be considered when designing a house for K.F. Schinkel 200 years after Schinkel's birth. I am also reminded of Tafuri's wrongness in calling the Ichnographia of the Campo Marzio an "experimental design and therefore an unknown."
This is perhaps the most solid assessment of the Ichnographia that I have made thus far, and it makes me realize that Piranesi operated on a few planes when generating his plan of the Campo Marzio--there is the redesigned plane, the Pagan-Christian narrative plane, and the plane of (composite?) temporal palimpsest. To make matters difficult, however, none of these planes complies completely with the other two, nor can any of the planes be viewed completely independent of the other two. In essence, Piranesi's (design) methodology emulates the very nature of Rome itself. The Ichnographia is a plan of many layers of meanings and messages which ultimately aptly represents/reenacts Rome the city of many physical and historical layers.

1998.06.18
Encyclopedia Ichnographica - list (first draft)
  1. redrawing
  2. contiguous elements
  3. Ichnographia
  4. Campus Martius
  5. archeology
  6. Susan Dixon
  7. Piranesiís imagination
  8. metabolism
  9. assimilation
10. Roman architecture
11. Piranesi
12. Manfredo Tafuri
14. Long (longest) axis
15. axes
16. Vatican Hill
17. Tiber
18. Triumphal Way
20. Hadrian axis
21. Guius Flaminius
22. circular formation
23. typologies
24. urban design
25. Mars
26. sacred site (sacred precinct)
27. sexual connotations
28. cardo
29. decumanus
30. St. Peterís Basilica
32. Ara Pacis
33. Forma Urbis
34. Lanciani
37. language of the plans
38. the mundane (profane) axis
39. life and death (axes)
40. 3-d rendition / reconstruction
41. Vincent Scully
42. Louis I. Kahn
44. CAD
45. theater district
46. Fasolo
47. virtual architect
48. virtual architecture (place)
50. Nolli plan
51. promenade architecturale
52. Stephen Lauf
53. Anthony DíAulerio
54. Durand
55. Schinkel
56. Peter Eisenman
57. James Stirling
58. Jennifer Bloomer
59. Wilton-Ely
60. fertile architecture
61. extremism
63. St. Augustine
64. The City of God Against the Pagans
65. Vico
66. The New Science
67. Collingwood
68. reŽnactment
69. axis of love and war
70. downtown vs. suburbia
72. aerial perspectives
73. Samuel Bell Platner
74. Horra Galbea
75. Middleton
76. Porticus Amelia
77. Scenographia
78. Romulus (Quirinus)
79. chronology (time)
80. inversion / conversion
81. dedication
82. OL
83. Robert Adam
84. bibliography
85. Stanley Allen
86. scale comparisons
87. Aldo Rossi
88. double theater
89. Tacitus
90. Suetonius
91. Pliny
92. Perruzzi
93. subtext
94. mistakes
95. theme park
96. satire - satirical gardens
97. vernacular architecture
98. patterns
99. Isozaki
100. beginning and end
101. reversal
102. palimpsest
103. Honorius and his wife Maria
104. Aurelian Wall

1998.06.20
Encyclopedia Ichnographica
...an encyclopedia of my entire redrawing and research process. The title: Encyclopedia Ichnographica - a turn-of-the-millennium documentation of the grearest plan ever redrawn.
...complicated because many of the entries overlap, and even though I have the use of hyperlinks, it is still going to require much work in fitting all the pieces together.


1998.06.23
starting the Encyclopedia Ichnographica
I finished compiling the Encyclopedia index and now in a position to begin the actual articles. First, however, I still need to create the "cover", the frontispiece, and a prologue or preface. The main thing is that the Encyclopedia is a work-in-progess, and nothing is in its final state.
One of my first tasks will be to create a page for every building plan that I have already redrawn. This will give me much opportunity to do a variety of pages that incorporate a wide variety of textual and graphic data. My mission for the individual building entries is to catalogue every aspect of each building, but not making an essay out of the entry. (I just thought of "land use" as another category to add to the index. I will also begin working on the axis article, which will include all the axes that I have found in the plan, as well as a critique of what Fasolo and Tafuri say about axes (and perhaps Bloomer and Allen too). I can also begin pages of my citique of the Fasolo, Tafuri, and Bloomer texts. Furthermore, I can already place the Platner and Middleton texts throughout the Encyclopedia--and I now see that I should find a standard way of dealing with the copyright free texts.


1998.06.28
Trajan in Heaven
I found out today (on the web) that Dante places Trajan in Heaven, and as such he is the only pagan Roman Emperor in Heaven. This now answers my question of around six months ago as to the significance of the arch of Trajan being at the beginning of the Triumphal Way within the Ichnographia. I almost can't believe that Dante and the Divine Comedy are involved because this Trajan connection adds significantly to my theory that the Ichnographia Triumphal Way in reverse represents the path to salvation as outlined by Dante's literary masterpiece. It seems now more clear than ever that Piranesi had the Christian [conversion of Rome] very much in mind as subtext.
I now also wonder if there are other clues to be gotten from Dante's text with regard to the Ichnographia (and specifically the Triumphal Way). Perhaps I should get out a book on the Divine Comedy, one that analyzes the text relative to its Roman symbolism.


1998.06.28
phone conversation with Sue
I spoke with Sue last Tuesday night, and it was the first time in several months--the first time since I did all the Latin translating. I told her practically everything new that I found and/or figured out, and a few ideas came out of the conversation as well.
1. the notion that the moat around the Bustum Hadriani could represent the limits that Hadrian himself put upon the Empire.
2. where the Bustum Hadriani is within the square precinct limits, the Bustum Augusti is outside of the circular precinct limits. This is another example of the two Busti being inversions of each other.
3. Sue related the story of Jesus appearing to St. Peter outside the walls of Rome. Peter was leaving Rome because he was giving up on the situation there, and Jesus appeared to him and told him to go back. There is a chapel/church on this spot, and there are several paintings. Sue saw this as similar to the reversal of the Triumphal Way, and I agree,the connection is very suggestive.
4. Sue also had a very clear notion of what Tafuri means with regard to Piranesi's loss of language, in that Piranesi was engrossed in mere words (the individual plans of the Ichnographia) and thereby lost or disregarded the notion of composing cohesive sentences, i.e., a workable and properly planned urban design. We now both agree that Tafuri's interpretation is all out wrong because Piranesi's plan is a dense and complex narrative.


1998.06.28
Matidia - Hadrian's mother-son theme
I found out today that the Temple of Matidia, which Hadrian dedicated to his mother-in-law, was the first Roman temple named in honor of a woman. This also further highlights the mother-son theme that involves Hadrian and Plotina, as well as his true mother Domitia.


1998.06.28
the portrait of Piranesi
There is a portrait of Piranesi engraved by his son Francesco. The portrait is a profile set in a medalion, and the overall composition of the plate is in the Piranesi style. In the lower left corner, there is a stone fragment carved with plans, and it is indeed a fragment of the Ichnographia, specifically the Theater of Marcellus, the Minutia Vetus, and the Porticus Octavae. ...wonder if Francesco, or even Piranesi himself, saw the Ichnographia as Piranesi's greatest achievement. The four-sided Temple of Janus is also clearly delineated on the fragment.
...a case for the father-son theme that begins with Mars and Romulus (inversely God, the Father and His Son Jesus), and could include Augustus and Agrippa, and Trajan and Hadrian, and even Theodosius and Honorius.

1998.07.07
Piranesi lives in the "Garden of Satire"
It dawned on me today that since Piranesi lived at the top of the Spanish Steps, he may then have placed the Horti Luciliani purposefully in the same location within the Ichnographia. If this is so, then Piranesi deliberately places himself (figuratively) within the garden of the father of Roman satire. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if this were the case, and now I have to find the exact location of Piranesi's home, check its location on the Nolli map, and then find the exact location within the Ichnographia. I'm not sure if the exact spot will be significant, but it will be good to know nonetheless.


1998.07.07
beginning "Fathoming the Unfathomable"
I began writing the introductory essay for the Encyclopedia Ichnographica today. The writting seems to be going somewhat quicker than normal, and that might be because I am writing in the first person. I'm finding it kind of unique because it is very personal and very architectural at the same time.


1998.07.07
Piranesi lives in the "Garden of Satire" 2
...I'm not absolutely certain that this is where Piranesi lived in 1757. ...could this be seen as Piranesi directly identifying himself with Lucilian as a "modern" father of Roman satire.
...find out if Piranesi has in other cases made a direct connection between himself, his work and satire. There is one engraving called Satirical vignette against Bertrand Chaupy something where an island(?) is made to look like a turd.


1998.07.18
Ichnographia as base for Quondam models
...the idea of placing the model collection into some kind of context--an imaginary context--and now the idea of using the Ichnographia as the base plan for the context. Moreover, the "program" of the Ichnographia could inform the museum context. For example, the Porticus Septorum Juliorum is analogous to Plecnik's Houses Under a Common Roof (although not close in scale), and the houses are simply placed there. This opens up the opportunity to place other models in other analogous situations.
This idea takes on even greater implications with including Parkway Interpolation as well as the whole Center City Philadelphia model.
Like the Ichnographia, the whole design could manifest a message, and that message could well be a critique / enlightenment of architecture today, starting with putting Acropolis Q at the Garden of Satire.


1998.07.22
Ichnographia - Mars, Philippi
I found out today that the Temple to Mars in the Forum of Augustus was dedicated at Philippi, and this adds further (possible) significance to Piranesi's incorrect positioning of the Porticus Philippi, because it was at Philippi that Mars became the specific guardian of the emperor. Seeing how I believe there is also a strong Christian connection via Philippi, I can even speculate that Piranesi was making a connection between God the Father and God the Son and Mars and Romulus.
As I am getting deeper into writing about the Ichnographia, I am also beginning to think more coherently about an uncanny relationship between Rome and Christianity, I say this primarily because of the direct parallel between the founding of Rome and the birth of Christ. I'm not going to elaborate any further because this may already be written about, e.g. The City of God Against the Pagans.

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