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2016 July 7: Session at "Scientiae 2016", Oxford

Session Abstracts

5. Interdisciplinary Research in the International Circle of the Roman ‘Accademia della Virtù’

Chair: Volker Heenes (University of Erfurt) 

Panel Description

In 1547 the Siennese humanist Claudio Tolomei published a letter written in 1542 and describing an ambitious project that a group of learned men in Rome – usually identified as the so-called
‘Accademia della Virtù’ – planned to promote: Its aim was the publication of 23 books containing an extensive philological apparatus regarding Vitruvius' "Ten books on architecture" as well as a documentation of all material remains from Roman Antiquity that would be of any relevance for a
comprehensive understanding of ancient architecture. The purpose of the whole project was not archaeology in a strict sense, but to establish a foundation for a new modern architecture that would be based on all available explicit and implicit knowledge and examples from Antiquity. 
Until recently it was generally thought that this project never came into being and that its only result was Philandrier's book with Annotationesto Vitruvius. But now it seems that some corpora of Renaissance sources originally may have been produced for or in connection with the Accademia's
project: Some of these corpora (like Jean Matal's collection of inscriptions in the Vatican) are well known and were used as starting points for modern research and editing projects like the CIL. Others
are only now being introduced into the scientific discussion. The main reason why this interrelations were not noticed yet seems to be the exact modern disciplinary separation invented by the Accademia to share the immense workload. The panel will contain 4 papers (15 minutes each) by researchers working on these corpora to present them to a wider audience and discuss their presumed interconnection which are by now corroborated through the known personal relations between
their authors: humanists like Cervini and Agustín, artists like Sangallo, Vignola and Palladio or antiquarians like Ligorio and Strada – all (temporary) members of the Accademia.

Kathrin Schade (Winckelmann Museum, Stendal), ‘Codex Pighianus: Content and Methodology’

As Marcello Cervini's secretary, Stephanus Winandus Pighius collected inscriptions and drawings of ancient artifacts of all genres, mainly reliefs of Roman sarcophagi and tombstones. His scientific estate, bound in the 17th century and now in Berlin, shows many parallels to an anonymous collection of relief drawings in Coburg, Germany. In both codices, the Pighianus and the Coburgensis, the drawings show a remarkable and unrivaled precision documenting the ancient monuments with all damages and minute elements: In this 'philological' approach they can be seen as the most important sources for our knowledge about the largest corpus of ancient reliefs. A second remarkable feature of the Codex Pighianus is the ordering of the material: inscriptions and artifacts like tombstones, portraits, brick-marks, measuring instruments etc. are arranged as “antiquitates”, a classification model established since Flavio Biondo. Among them, the sarcophagi reliefs are ordered according to the mythological relations between the scenes and/or persons. These different orders display Pighius’ efforts to arrange the diverse material as an 'encyclopedic system of knowledge'. The paper presents examples from the codices in comparison with the surviving objects and discusses the methodological approach of Pighius and his collaborators.

Ulrike Jansen (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Berlin), ‘The Epigraphic Collections by Matal and Pighius and their Methodology’

The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarumwas started in 1853 by Theodor Mommsen who regarded the epigraphic collections in the Vatican Library, among them the comprehensive codices by Jean Matal, as indispensable sources for ancient Roman inscriptions. Matal collected them in Rome between 1546 and 1550 as secretary to his friend, the Spanish bishop Antonio Agostín. Matal explicitly mentions Pighius, Philandrier, Martin de Smet, Guillaume Budé and many others in his annotations to the collected inscriptions. Besides taking their own very precise transcriptions they also personally examinated those that had been already published or collected by others. Pighius’ collection was created in the same time as Matal’s collection, and they both may still have been in contact after Matal had moved to Cologne in 1550 and Pighius came back to the Netherlands after Cervini’s death in 1555. – Like the drawings after ancient reliefs in the Codices Coburgensis and Pighianus, the inscriptions are represented in their original surviving state with all damages, while any interpretation and correction is clearly distinguishable. The paper will present examples of the strictly philological work from Pighius' and Matal’s collections and analyse their methodology.

Dirk Jacob Jansen (University of Erfurt), ‘Jacopo Strada's Magnum ac Novum Opusand its Patron, Hans Jakob Fugger’

Hans Jakob Fugger is known as a member of the bankers' dynasty from Augsburg, but also for his interests in and support for the developing humanities. Since his studies with Alciati in Bologna
before 1543, he seems to have been in contact with some of the members of the Roman Accademia della Virtù like Agostín and Matal or the later cardinal Granvelle. Fugger also had close relations to Onofrio Panvinio, the most important young scholar of the Roman circle who called himself a disciple of Jean Matal. Fugger did not only collect one of the largest libraries of the Renaissance, now an important part of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, but commissioned several antiquarian projects, maybe the most important among them being the drawings of ancient coins and medals from Jacopo Strada's workshop. Strada also was sent by Fugger several times to Italy to buy antiquities and books. The paper will investigate Fugger's role as a patron of the studia humanitatis, especially with regard to the Roman circle of the Accademia della Virtù, and his role in the creation of Strada's corpus of drawings.

Bernd Kulawik (Einsiedeln), ‘The Codex Destailleur D and its Group of Measurements of Roman Buildings’

More than 3.000 anonymous measured drawings of ancient Roman buildings by French draftsmen on 600 sheets in several collections (the biggest group being the Berlin Codex Destailleur D) are characterised by their astonishing precision and the attempt to document every element, even details like heating and water supply systems. In this regard, the drawings are the most detailed and also the most comprehensive and systematic surveys of ancient Roman architecture ever made: Because
many of the documented monuments have been destroyed or damaged later, the drawings are the only or (at least) the best surviving sources providing information about them. While it seems implausible that the draftsmen – some of whom could be identified with craftsmen from the Fabbrica di San Pietro – could have developed the methodology and pursued this project over years on their own, Italian and French notes indicate that the drawings had been commissioned by more educated persons. During the 1540s and 1550s, only the Accademia della Virtù can be regarded as this group. Possible relations between the drawings and the influential books by the architects Vignola and Palladio will be discussed.