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ERRORS IN RENAISSANCE ARCHITECURAL TRANSLATION

D. Sedzicki
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

This paper considers error mechanics in architectural translation and representations. The investigation is based on two examples. First situation describes Italian architect Giacomo Leoni and published by him in instalments the first complete English language edition of Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, which Leoni entitled The Architecture of A. Palladio, in Four Books. Leoni’s publication became a main tool in spreading the essence of Palladio’s style among British and American architects. Original publication by Palladio contained drawings, illustrating buildings and architectural details, drawn by Italian master architect, however Leoni’s version incorporated re-drawn, alternative plans and sketches composed by himself. Leoni’s changes continued to influence Palladianism and popularised wrong view of Palladio’s designs.
Another example is Filippo Brunelleschi, won in a competition which was announced in Florence, calling for vaulting for main Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. His victory over his rivals is quite remarkable in the light of the fact that he had won no prior commissions on his own and had almost none experience in producing architecture. His innovative models and machine concepts in line with his family connections, however, convinced jury to let him finish the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Newly appointed designer was concerned with other architects, artists and craftsman constantly looking over his shoulder, and so he developed a mode of working that would allow him to keep his designs secret and make his life extremely difficult. In order to retain his innovative solutions he purposefully made models that were to be used merely as indication and not as exact reflection of what was to be built.
By comparison of the original Palladio’s work and Giacomo Leoni’s alterations and inaccuracies, and also by showing influence of incomplete versions of Brunelleschi’s models the article attempts to show how errors not only can travel long distances but also have the power to inspire a design of even the most notable buildings.

Keywords: Giacomo Leoni, Andrea Palladio, Filippo Brunelleschi, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Error, Architectural Translation


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