[starting on page 8] "Philandrier’s two in- [page 9:] dexes are particular comprehensive. The first is a 32 page-long alphabetical index to Vitruvius’s ten books and Philandrier’s annotations. It is followed by a four- page index over the Greek words used in Vitruvius. [Endnote 35: Guillaume Philandrier/Vitruvius, M. Vitruvii Pollionis De Architectura Libri Decem Ad Caesarem Augustum. [...] Cum Græco pariter & Latino indice locupletissimo, Lugduni apud Ioan. Tornaesium. M.D.LII.]"
Yes, but as well as the other examples, these indices may be "word list" in the author's (mis-) interpretation of Tolomei's "vocabolarii", but they are only indices, not "lexica". Again, we should trust the authors like Tolomei or Philandrier that they do chose their words with consciousness: Therefore, Philandrier does not call his indices "word list", "lexicon" or even "vocabolario", but: "index". And that's what they are: 2 Lists of words combined with the numbers of the pages where they are used in the Vitruvian text! NO images, no explanations, no comments, no translation … just the words!
"Barbaro’s Vitruvius-version from 1556 also has two indexes placed at the back of the book: A one-page index of the content of Vitruvius’s books, that is not alphabetized and without page number references, and a nine-page alphabetical index with very precise page references (fig. 6)."
[Are these tables not rather placed at the end of the book, not on its back?] The nine-page alphabetical index with very precise page references – does that mean that other, less precise indices would point to something like "templum = more or less / somewhere around page 123"? – has a very precise title … which does not astonish the readers knowing that Barbaro himself was a philologist (among other occupations).
"This index has the title: “Tavola per dechiratione de tutte le cose notabile de l’opera”. […]"
The copies available to me have "dichiaratione" noch "dechiratione" (which is no italian word – but that may just be a typo). The important word here – in my opinion – is "per". It clearly states, that this index / tavola does not containe the "dichiarationi" itself but that it points to the places were they can be found in the book. Which is obvious when the reader sees the list (like, examples from it, in fig. 6). There is no "dichiaratione" here in the tavola but only – again – a number pointing to the relevant page. So, again, these is an "index", not a "vocabolario" in Tolomei's sense.
"Some 45 years later in Barbaro’s Vitruvius-edition, it appears that the index had come to play a role paral- lel to Giocondo’s illustrations. It was a tool to clarify the text for the reader."
No, the tavola in Barbaro's edition is not itself a "tool to clarify" (because it does not contain any clarification), but it points to the pages where the words are "clarified". [Compare it to a link to a website which is no "tool" for the clarification of its content, but just a link. Only in very rare cases, these links are "speaking links" containing themselves some information about the content to be expected to find there. But again: They do not contain any "clarification" and are not a tool therefore, to understand them: One – in Barbaro's case: the reade – has to go there to get any form of explanation.]
"The production of word lists and indexes, a textual analysis in itself, became remarkably desirable in textbook production and the editing of classical au- thors with the advent of printing."
Up to now, the author has presented to the readers only examples of indeces, not of "word lists" in Tolomei's sense. And, of course, the "production" of such a "word list" (in the most simple understanding, i.e.:) and indexes" is not a "textual analysis in itself" – it is simply a "counting" of words. When my computer gives me a list of all places where the word "Christensen" appears in a file, file name or folder name, no-one would say that this is the result of a "textual analysis", right? [Ok, Henning Lobin in his new book "Engelbarts Traum. Wie der Computer uns Lesen und Schreiben abnimmt", presumably, would call this an analysis – but that's a different story. In my opinion, to say a computer would read, write or do a textual analysis would be based in a too-far reaching interpretation of these acts usually requiring some sort of human intellect and understanding.]
"[…] The overall consequence of such systematizing tools, represented by the word lists and indexes that became essential in Accademia della Virtù’s Vitruvius programme as well as in the printed Vitruvius-editions of the 16th century, is that they bring about a focus on the naming of the individual parts of structures, on single words and architectural terms."
Well … no. While the author can presumably not give an example of what she understands under a "word list" that would be different from an "index", such indices (or "indexes") have been in use also in medieval manuscripts, so they are no distinctive characteristic of the printed literature on Vitruvius, architecture in general or the entire 16th century. – In addition: a far more comprehensive "word list" has been known and a few times reprinted (extended) in the aforementioned Cornucopia by Perotti / Perottus. But even such a list with short explanations / clarifications and/or links to the relevant literature have been in common use for Architecture in the 16th century.
"As a device to create clarity for the reader, as Tolomei and Barbaro expressed it, word lists and indexes guide the reader into Vitruvius’s body of text, not randomly, but through the architectural part rather than through references to architectural wholes such as buildings or typologies."
Well … no. The indexes in Barbaro and other printed Vitruvius editions do not make a difference between whole buildings or building types and their parts. They just list them all without any differentiation except their place in the alphabetical order (as one would expect). So, they cannot themselves been seen as "a device to create clarity for the reader" but simply as a device to find something in the voluminous texts / books. No one would get any clarity about the word / notion "Basa attica" (shown in the example in fig. 6) by just reading the index…
"As prevalent organization techniques, word lists and indexes give preference to the architectural detail."
No, they don't. Because all the words are treated equally.
"In the cases of Giovanni Battista’s reading and editorial decisions, the accentuation of the detail appears to be generated from the intense reading of Vitruvius’s text and manifested as tools to clarify and systemat- ize the work."
Did Giovanni Battista make and "editorial decisions"? I don't think so. Because he did not alter the text itself. He addes his remarks, but because they do not appear in a print(ed edition), I would not call the decisions he made "editorial". That would give a much higher importance to his work with the text than actually is traceable – and to suppose with a description that person / reader / author X did "A + B", when he only did "A" – and then to say that B is so very new and important … does not convince me as a good scientific practice. [Even if we might suppose that something like "B" was involved in the process: we simply don't have a proof for that.]
"It is from the encounter with what is written that the focus on the detail emerges."
Comment: Is it? Does it? I don't hink so. For me, the Giovanni Battista's interest in = focus on the details emerges from his activity as an practical architect looking for guidance. So, the interest comes first, it does not "emerge" from his encounter with the text, like: "Oh, I was not interested in architectural detail before, but when I got this Vitruvius edition, I became interested – so much, that I started to make drawings after originals as well as after Vitruvius' detailed descriptions."
"Such a prevailing concern with the architectural detail is current in Vitruvius’s text on various levels."
I simply don't know what the "various levels" of Vitruvius' text should mean here. For my understanding, it could only mean that architectural details are so important to Vitruvius that he mentions them not only in the text, but – let's say – also in introducions to or abstracts of the chapters, or in the title of the chapters or books. Does he? No. – So what other "various levels" could be meant – where could we find a trace for Vitruvius' "prevailing concern with the architectural detail"? We find texts about details in different parts of the 10 books, but these are not levels (of the text). If we read "various parts" instead of "various levels", then the author does not say anything more than that the remarks on details are to be found all over the book. Only if we would expect some strange ordering of the text we could see this as an astonishing characteristic, e.g.: Chapter 1 = On the buildings in general, Chapter 2 = on the orders, Chapter 3 = on capitals, Chapter 4 = on cornices … etc. Obviously, that would require the reader, interested int the korinthian order to jump from one chapter to the next to gather all the information regarding that order scattered over different chapters. It's no wonder that Vitruvius decided not to do so.
In addition: Is there really a "prevailing concern with the architectural detail" in Vitruvius' text? Of course not: He describes all the fields relevant for an architect in detail, not only bases, columns, capitals, cornices, but entire buildings, the characteristics to reflect when choosing the place, the influence of weather, the making of tiles … etc. pp.
"It is present at the level of the work’s overall composition; […]"
IF something like the "prevailing concern with architectural details" would exist in Vitruvius' text (it does not), then we should find it "at the level of the work's overall composition" – so, we should find the "prevailing concern" in the mentioning of the orders or their details, e.g. in the titles of chapters or books - right? Do we. No.
"[…] if we are to believe Vitruvius, he states that he has set out to compose a single corpus of architecture based on scattered sources. [Endnote 39: Vitruvius/Granger 1931-34, Book IV, preface; Pierre Gros, Structures et limites de la compilation vitruvienne dans ses livres III et IV du De architectura, in: Latomus, 34, 1975, p. 986.]
This partial sentence, obviously intended to be some sort of proof for what has been said before, does not do what the author suggests: Vitruvius says that he gathered together all relevant information about architecture from all available (or at least: valuable) sources. This has nothing to do with any "prevailing concern with the architectural detail" – equally if it is in the text or not. These are simply two very different things and topics! When an author says he collected any available information about topic "A" (like architecture) from all available sources, that does not mean that he is especially interested in sub-topic "D" (like "detais"). Rather, it proves, that the author collects even that information that he himself might not be interested in (e.g. Music), but that he thinks it would be helpful or necessary for his readers – and therefore he includes even this information in his book.
And: Of course we should "believe" Vitruvius says about his intention. We may not trust him, of course, we may even find out in the end that he was trying to betray us … but what sources would we have for such an interpretation? If no new sources appear, e.g. showing the 10 books to be just a part of a larger work where the even more important topics are dealed with in Books 11-20, or if we find a similar book by an earlier author showing us, that Vitruvius did only copy it and put his name on the title page (i.e. stealing it) … as long as nothing like that happens, we simply only have the words by Vitruvius himself. Not to "believe" him would destroy the basis of all scientific work with his text.
But in any sense: This – our believing in Vitruvius and his claim to have used different sources – does not (again) say anything about a supposed "prevaiing concern with the architectural detail", as the author claims with these last sentences. (Why are they there at all? … one may ask…)
"However, the emphasis on the architectural detail comes to the fore in Vitruvius’s description mode."
Comment: Does it? No. – Compared with other parts of the 10 books about any topic related to architecture, there is no emphasis on the architectural detail. At least nothing more than one would expect in a (10-volume) book written to serve architects and building owners and even stone-masons and carpenters. Vitruvius gives all available information he regards as necessary about how to chose a building place as well as how to make an ionic capital's volute. Where is the "emphasis"? And if there would be one: It comes to the fore in his "description mode"? What is the difference in the modes he used to describe, e.g., the machines and the orders? That there are some more numbers and proportions in the last ones? But what else should or would an architect reading the book expect?
"As demonstrated in his account of the Ionic order, the description takes on the form of being an incessant undoing of architectural entities into bits and pieces underlined by proportion remarks that are built into his account. It can be argued that such a description method springs from the fact that the object of the description is an ornamental architectural element, the Ionic order."
… of course. And from nothing else! This is just what anyone – antique architect as well as modern historian – would expect from the text; and it is this purpose that guides Vitruvius in writing his books – not his "prevailing concern with architectural details"!
"Nevertheless, this description technique is characteristic of Vitruvius’s text in gener- al. In his account of the house, for example, Vitruvius restrains from describing the house as a coherent en- tity, but focuses instead on specific rooms in isolation without mentioning how these individual units are related.[Endnote 40: Vitruvius/Granger 1931-34, Book VI.iii-v.]"
Comment: Where is the argument? What would one expect from the description of elements of the orders or the overall characteristics of the very-well established orders with their distinctive characteristics that are even "regulated" by taste (no one would expect a capital 3 m high on top of a 1-m-column, right?) – and what would be the difference to the description of the house, which – of course! – has different sizes, numbers of rooms, yards, etc. Vitruvius gives some general rather remarks on the domus and its part: But his experience would have taught him that there is no such uniformity within "the" house as is between the different orders. There has not been a uniform "building center" chain or a regulation demanding a special form and size and structure of the house that would in any sense resemble that of an architectural order. Therefore: Where would we expect him to go more into detail? [If we ask the wrong questions we get very strange answers …]
"The emphasis on the architectural detail brought about in Giovanni Battista’s studies as well as in the Vitruvius-publications can thus be said to be latently present in Vitruvius’s books themselves."
Sorry, but again: No. It is only present in the author's mind. It may be present in Giovanni Battista's drawing and annotations in Vitruvius: But if we look at other pages we find temples and atrium houses, too. And if we look at the large amount of drawings from the Sangallo circle in the GDS of the Uffizi, we will find many more aspects of architecture that G.B. was interested in. – For the Accademia's project I already pointed out that there is simply no emphasis on architectural details at all: Even the entire 10 books, their edition, translation, illustration etc. takes up not even half of the number of volumes planned by the Accademia … so: this "result" is only a consequence by the author's omission of the larger part of the programme from her account. Not a good scientific practice, again: to find only those Easter-eggs that one has hidden himself before …
"In the all’antica-discourse of the 16th century an accentuation of the architectural part was present almost as a premise through the study of ancient ru- ins that most often existed only in a fragmentary form."
Sorry, but again: No. – Did the author ever look at the huge amounts of drawings from the Renaissance. Having seen some 20.000 sheets (with many more drawings on them) by now, my guess is, that the biggest group is that of ground plans of antique as well as new buildings. And so is the published literature – which we can only regard as a part of the architectural discourse of that time. (About the problem to call it "all-antica-discours" I wrote above.)
"Besides, although the core of all’antica-discourse within the architectural field was to recuperate ancient architecture, the aim was never a strict imitation, but rather new interpretations based on additions, omissions and selections."
Was it, really? In fact, the entire programme of the Accademia (not only the 'castrated version' presented by the author here) was to establish some sort of canon by (re-) constructing a valuable and trustworthy overview of antique architecture and its theory. But the purpose was to advance contemporary architecture! So, the beginning of scientific archaeology (a title which I think the Accademia's programme and work deserves) was not intended to please some curiosity, but to serve practical aims!
"Ancient building relics, as open referents, complied with such aims – as did Vitruvius’s text due to its obscurity."
I would doubt that: What does "open referents" mean here? That the buildings were (mostly) in ruins? That architects were free to take them as "blueprints" and examples for their own construcions? Of course, in a sense: The functions, tasks, duties … of architecture were different: Even though the modern Renaissance palace may resemble a mixture of domus and insula with different functions, or as well as the church facade may resemble that of a temple … their functions were different, and – therefore – so were their forms, details and structures. How should buildings or their relics "comply" with any modern aims? – About the "obscurity" of Vitruvius' text and the problems to "prove" it I wrote above.
"Architectural practice of the 16th century in many ways was a bricolage activity, to borrow a term from Alina Payne. [Endnote 41: Alina Payne, Creativity and bricolage in architectural literature of the Renaissance, in: RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 34, 1998, pp. 21-28.]"
Comment: First: It depends on how one defines a vague term like "bricolage" if one finds this "characteristic" at any time in any architecture around the world – or only in a few buildings from a certain time and a certain area … If we do not take it in its pejorative sense, it would mean a "handicraft work". Something, that many architectural historians of the (Italian) Renaissance would hardly agree with (not to mention the pejorative meaning.) Because it is simply not true: There are hundreds of (almost) perfect bulding, erected with great precision following a strict plan – and others, that evolved over decades and centuries. And even these may often appear as if they were mad at once. – On the other hand, "bricolage" could mean that Renaissance architecture cites ancient architecture, but does not copy it completely. This would mainly be due to the aforementioned different functions, materials, usages … of the buildings. – But, altogether: "Bricolage" in both meanings, as I said, could be found in any architecture from any time at (almost) any place on earht where we can find 'Architecture' in an emphatic sense.
[I do not hesitate to express here my severe concerns, doubs, misgivings regarding the works by Payne and Carpo cited in the footnotes: in both cases we (or I) find an "overall-view" from a far distant point, taking as proofs some very special buildings, texts etc. … and omitting everything that would or could oppose their pictures painted with a broad brush: The closer one looks, the more one will find that the details do not support the claims by the authors (or only in one interpretation and direction, but not in another one – but that, again, is not the best scientific practice… not even, I dare to say: a good one.)]
"In his book Architecture in the Age of Printing, Carpo argues that the media change from script to moveable type brought about “a new image-based architectural method”, and that the presentations of fragmentary ancient building elements on the pages in Serlio’s treatise represented “a catalogue of ready-made parts” that could be used according to the judgment of the architect. [Endnote 42: Mario Carpo, Architecture in the Age of Printing, Cambridge Mass. 2001 (Italian 1st ed. 1998), passim, p. 46.]"
Can one really believe this interpretation? Is there some "Zeitgeist" who led the architects of two centuries to follow the same "architectural method"? How can a media change – how many architects really had to deal with the printing process at an officina? – change the way architects think, study, plan, work … ? Have never before architectural parts / details been used by architects as "ready-made" parts? How, then, does it come that we find the same architectural details in differnt romanic or gothic buildings – helping us to identify architects and workshops or to date the buildings or their parts? – From my humble experience, it is always far more complicated when you look into the details. And titles like those cited here usually signal a "god's eye" perspective that has to omit the details where everything becomes much more complecated. I would like to be convinced otherwise, but I'm still waiting for that experience as a scientific reader – especially in books from the last 2-3 decades about "Renaissance architecture" in general.
[And this article, as well as the dissertation it is based on – but, I admit, which I did not read entirely … is, unfortunately, an example of this rather new way of architectural history: Taking very few examples, interpreting them in a very one-sided way, omitting diverging aspects … "et voilà": a "new knowledge" or at least "interpretation" is born. But: Does it really help us to see and understand new things, new aspects of the topics we are interested in? I doubt it …]
"The fragmented ruins, Vitruvius’s obscurity, as well as the printed architectural treatise with its exhibition of separated Antique building elements, make the accentuation of the architectural de- tail brought to light here, seem if not obvious, then perhaps at least part of a broader cultural context."
I tend to believe that everything men-made "is part of a broader cultural context". So, what does it mean here? Is there really a new insight that came to light in this article? The far-too-many problems, misinterpretations, misreading or – at least – one-sided views and argumentation make me say: No. So, because from false (or only half-true) assumptions anything can be concluded: Is the conclusion a surprising one that is supported, if not by the article, by any other experience in the work with texts, buildings, drawings … from the Renaissance? Again, I must say: No.
"All these aspects, in each their way, made strategies of combination as a creation method within the field of architecture stand out clearly."
Again: This is such a general statement that it is almost true for any human activity. But if one does not want to read it this way, i.e. in the "broadest" sense, but focus it on the material presented here: again, the statement is not true or at least arbitrary. I'm sorry to say that.
"When it came to finding a systematization scheme, the approaches of Vitruvius himself and of his readers in the Renaissance to dismantle entities and to categorise elements deeply intertwined."
Did anyone look for a systematization scheme for books on architecture in the Renaissance? Did even many persons look for it? Or is it just a supposition of the author? (An Easter-egg …?) – And if so: how could appraoches to the same field of topics (Architecture) and the – roughly – same problems PLUS the attempt of the Renaissance authors and architects to understand Vitruvius … how could the NOT lead to or be described as something "deeply intertwined"?
"Perhaps the Vitruvian scrutinisers were motivated by a culture where the concept of the detail or fragment was ubiquitous."
Ah, here he is again, the famous "Zeitgeist" … that only is visible to persons dozens or hundreds of years after its appearance. While his contemporaries are fighting about any detail, question or problem as if they could never agree about it. Isn't that strange? (Sorry for the sarcasm…)