«E molti ne aveva summa deletatione». Architetture, spettacoli e feste romane nel racconto e nei disegni del Taccuino di Salisburgo
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The codex includes a description and depiction of famous monuments of ancient Rome and the Arena of Verona. The piece can be dated to the last two decades of the 15th Century, thanks to the direct account of the partial destruction of the so-called Septizodium and the killing of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza, both in 1476; the mentioning of Galeazzo Maria’s death is also one of the elements attesting the Lombard origin of the manuscript. The described monuments are the Colosseum, the Arena of Verona, the Circus of Maxentius, the Stadium of Domitian, Trajan’s Column, the Arch of Janus, the Vatican Obelisk, the Septizodium, the Circus Maximus, the Sanctuary of Palestrina, the Baths of Diocletian, of Caracalla and others, and a theatre. The drawings show a method of representation similar to that of Filarete, displaying a suggestive use of perspective, as well as very early examples of architectural sketches combining elevation and floor plan. The repertoire of architectural details is very rich: frames, capitals and bases. The buildings are articulated in a proportional system, with no indication of measurements, with one exception in which the chosen metric system is the one in use in Milan. While references to Alberti’s theories abound, very few words are dedicated to architectural annotations, and more space is given to the functions and activities of each building. Historical thoroughness prevails on any artistic or technical purpose, even though the drawings themselves show remarkable accuracy and a proper use of instruments, which accounts for the author’s knowledge of representational techniques. The codex has the form of a brief treatise, and the drawings might actually be copies, a possibility suggested by the fact that included in the Uffizi collection are several plates derived form a common source, supposedly a book of models. The author is well read in both Latin and vernacular sources for Roman history: he describes gladiatorial games and circuses in detail, as well as races, naumachiae and battle simulations, but also baths and shows, often described adapting categories from Renaissance theater. The description of a feast almost identical to the famous one held on the occasion of the wedding of Costanzo Sforza di Pesaro and Camilla Marzano d’Aragona (1475), also recounted in the chronicles of the time, supports the attribution of the codex to the Milan milieu of the Sforza period, since representatives of Milanese branch of the noble family had taken part to the celebration. The apparent connection to the court, the erudite, descriptive and yet not at all philological account suggest a likely attribution of the work to one of the time’s humanists appointed to diplomatic and cultural tasks, such as Bergonzio Botta.
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- Grani di senape
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