The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf



8 May 1778   Friday
Vases, Candelabra, Grave Stones, Sarcophagi. Tripods, Lamps and Ancient Ornaments   volume II

To Mr. John Chetwynd Talbot English Knight
lover of fine arts
In deed of respect the Knight Gio. Batt(ist)a Piranesi D. D. D.
Corner view of the Candelabrum itself
Cavalier Piranesi F.


26-27 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1785
Collezione delle piu belle statue di Roma

Venus rising from the bath with the Vase of ointments called alabaster by the ancients. It was found in Via Prenestina in the Salone estate and is now in the Pio-Clementino Museum
To Her Excellency Countess Wilhelmine Ritsz Grand Patron of the Fine Arts.
Francesco Piranesi D.D.D.
Ludovico Corazzari drawn     Francesco Piranesi engraved 1785.


8 May 1812   Friday

Morning without a cloud, wind NW. Temperature 44, slight frost, it rose rapidly and reached 77. About 12 SW Fisher and JC Thomas came hither to dine. They brought me Poulson's paper of the day, by which I find that the election in the State of N York is in favor of the Washington ticket 3 to 2. 63 members of the Legislature T,[?] to 42 Democratic. Gilbert Robinson died about 2 o'clock this day. Joseph Woolen came here this evening and we fixed the tie of burial for Sunday at 3 P.M. Just after sunset the wind came very fresh suddenly from SE and continued near an hour. The sky is now clear and the wind abated. 9 P.M.


8 May 1999
recollection of the day's events
In performing a web search on emperor Maximian [husband of Eutropia], a surprising number of links to saints turned up. It appears that Maximian is responsible for a great many Christian martyrdoms, for example, St. Maurice, St. Ursus, St. Dimitrius, St. Panteleimon, the 20,000 martyrs of Nicomedia, St. Hesychios the Senator.


8 May 2005
Koolhaas versus the Actor
The notion that texts within the Internet are somehow not published is bogus. Furthermore, the notion of texts published within the Internet being automatically much less reliable than texts published via books is also bogus, since texts published via books (and reputable publishers like MIT PRESS) are not automatically more reliable, and Tafuri's repeated publications of erroneous material regarding Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan is a prime example.
Re: clarification
First off, I accidentally skipped a paragraph within the passages I sent you earlier today. The missing paragraphs comes after "...Campo Marzio leads to the same conclusion." Here's the paragraph:
The obsessive articulation and deformation of the composition no longer correspond to an ars combinatoria. The clash of the geometric "monads" is no longer regulated by any "preestablished harmony"; and, most important, it demonstrates that the only meaning this paradoxical casuistry can refer back to is pure geometry, in the absolute semantic void that characterizes it.
It seems that Tafuri saw (in the Campo Marzio) individual plans that don't signify anything either historic or symbolic or even realistically typologic, and all together the Ichnographia is heap of meaningless fragments, thus it's all a divorce from any symbolic/meaningful system.
I just read some of Barthes' Elements of Semiology where a sign is composed of a signifier and a signified, and, what Tafuri sees is the Campo Marzio plans (individually and as a 'whole') as signs that still have a signifier, i.e., architectural building plans, but these signs/plans lack a signified, something that gives the plans any real meaning.
In reality, Piranesi employed all kinds of signs that carry a wide variety of signifiers--sometimes it's the shape of the plan(s), sometimes it's the placement/location (rightly or wrongly) of the plan(s), often it's just the label/name attached to the plan (which signify at least some historical existence), and then there are examples of combinations of the above distinctions, e.g., the Atrium Minerva (wisdom) as centerpiece of the 'garden of satire' which is situated at a location coincident with the top of the Spanish Steps, where Piranesi moved his family and business about a years after the Campo Marzio was published.
Anyway, there is so much out there now (especially from Eisenman) regarding this great analysis that Tafuri did, that this may be just the beginning of a great unraveling. Odd, I never imagined that reenactment would be at the center of all this.
In simple terms, Tafuri's work is unfortunately a history that was cooked too quickly, served too quickly, and eaten up too quickly.


8 May 2016



8 May 2020



8 May 2021

Pyramids of Gizeh   Plan Obus   Cubist ICM   plans   iq32


8 May 2022



8 May 2023   Monday
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