The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

8 July 1778   Wednesday
. . . . . .

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

12. From Maria Grazia Cianci and Sara Colaceci, "The methodology of interpreting and promoting historical heritage: the Maxentius complex on the Appia Antica" (2017).

Francesco Piranesi, "Icnografia del Circo de Caracalla fuori della Porta Capena in oggi S. Sebastiano", 1786. Note the accurate and precise coincidence between the present survey (in red) and the historical survey, except for the curvature of the hemicycle.

Given that the starting gates of Francesco's Circus of Caracalla/Maxentius plan do not exactly match the starting gates plan of a modern archeological survey, Piranesi's formula for how the start of the race works properly may not be altogether correct. A more precise delineation of the geometry of the modern archeological plan is necessary to test Piranesi's correctness or not.

46 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1804
Le Antichità della Magna Grecia   Parte I

Plans and Elevation of a Catering Shop, the second in the city of Pompeii.
Drawn by G.B. Piranesi
Engraved by F. Piranesi Year 12 (1804)

8 July 1812   Wednesday

Morning foggy, wind NEerly, temperature 75. About 10 fog rose and broke into clouds, but did not clear till evening. Temperature rose to 85, wind stood at SE Eerly. About 5 a shower began to fall from broken clouds passing from NW. I have read today a little book entitled The Skeptics Manual, a compilation from the works of Leslie of Scotland and Fletcher of England, with the addition of extracts from the Laws of Men eminent for piety and impiety contrasting the Christians from the Deist[?], Atheist etc. The first part is Leslie's short or easy method with the Deists. This is a very close argumentation proof of the authenticity of the Bible, in refuting, however the tables of Mohamet he says they are as groundless as the delusions of Fox[?] or Muggleton[?] among ourselves--the combination of Fox and Muggleton as equally deluders is not pleasant to believers in the divine commission of Fox to gather a separate people from the true Sulcers[?] among other societies but knowing that Leslie in Scotland had little opportunity of knowing truly what Fox and his friends were. We must forgive him prejudice and mistake; had he known them, he would have given them the right hand of fellowship. The second part consists of 6 letters, by John Fletcher, on the spiritual manifestation of the Son of God. These are a truly evangelical work and read by a Friend as anonymous, might be supposed to be from the pen of Barclay or any other imminent writer of our Society. The extracts of the last words etc. of dying Christians and penitent and impenitent Deists is an awful contrast containing the cases of Voltaire, Payne, and some others new to me. The work is a valuable acquisition of precept and example in favor of religion and virtue in this degenerate time. Temperature to 95°.

8 July 2020

8 July 2023   Saturday

The legacy of the discovery of Piranesi's final project is now known; a new and largely uncharted territory of Piranesi/Piranesi studies is now in clear sight.

Find those Francesco vs. Bianconi dates:
From Pierluigi Panze, Museo Piranesi, 2017, pp. 39-40.
"Anche i detrattori si misero all’opera. Sul numero di febbraio-marzo 1779 dell’Antologia Romana il ministro della corte di Sassonia presso la Santa Sede Gian Ludovico Bianconi scrisse un Elogio storico del cavalier Giovanbattista Piranesi che insinuava l’esistenza di segreti nella sua vita. Qualche mese più tardi, lo stesso periodico azzardò un’ipotesi ingiuriosa: che Giovan Battista avesse cercato di assassinare il suo maestro, il cavalier Vasi. E il 4 marzo del 1779 Francesco scrisse a Ennio Quirino Visconti accludendo i due articoli diffamatori e chiedendo l’intervento del Papa. Anche in questa diffamazione velenosa vediamo una presa di distanza dell’establishment romano dall’approccio passionale all’antico proprio di Piranesi, superato dal rigorismo winckelmaniano."
"Even the detractors got to work. On the February-March 1779 issue of the Roman Anthology, the minister of the court of Saxony to the Holy See Gian Ludovico Bianconi wrote a Historical Praise of Cavalier Giovanbattista Piranesi which insinuated the existence of secrets in his life. A few months later, the same periodical ventured an outrageous hypothesis: that Giovan Battista had tried to assassinate his teacher, Cavalier Vasi. And on 4 March 1779 Francesco wrote to Ennio Quirino Visconti enclosing the two defamatory articles and asking for the intervention of the Pope. Even in this poisonous defamation we see the Roman establishment distancing itself from Piranesi's passionate approach to ancient surpassed by Winckelmanian rigorism."

There is something wrong about the above passage: Francesco could not have know about a second defamatory article on 4 March 1779.

What I've come to learn about discoveries is:
If your initial discovery is actual uncharted territory, even to the point of being something never seen before, then there are surely many more discoveries to follow.
That may indeed be an axiom when it comes to discoveries.

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