Still Essential: Tommaso Sandonnini on Guarino Guarini

Fundamental Study Available Open Access

Sandonnini Guarini

Tommaso Sandonnini, Del Padre Guarino Guarini, Chierico Regolare (Modena: Vincenzi e nipoti, 1890).
Source: Internet Culturale

In 1890, the Modenese archivist Tommaso Sandonnini published a lengthy article on Guarino Guarini in the local history journal Atti e memorie delle RR. Deputazioni di storia patria per le provincie modenesi e parmensi. The text, entitled “Il padre Guarino Guarini modenese,” provided the first modern biography of the Theatine architect, an impartial account of his life based on archival sources. The same year, the study was issued as a stand-alone booklet (or offprint) of 54 pages, with a slightly altered title: Del Padre Guarino Guarini, Chierico Regolare (Modena: Vincenzi e nipoti, 1890). The contents of the two versions are identical.

On the basis of the Modena archives, Sandonnini’s investigation traces Guarini’s family origins and youth in Modena up to the point he left for Rome in 1639 for his novitiate in the Theatine order at San Silvestro al Quirinale. Sandonnini resumes his narrative with Guarini’s return to Modena for ordination in 1647, and follows Guarini’s early years as a priest at San Vincenzo, Modena, through the 1650s. Sandonnini notes Guarini’s visit to his dying mother in summer 1662, and presents information regarding his time in Paris via letters from the Vigarani preserved in the Modena archives. The archivist publishes correspondence between Guarini and figures of the d’Este court during the 1670s and 1680s. Other sections of the study give an overview of Guarini’s published books and major architectural projects. Sandonnini fails to recognize Guarini’s role in the design of the Theatine casa of San Vincenzo in Modena, but he posits the Theatine’s involvement in campaigns at the Palazzo Ducale, Modena (a theory since viewed with scepticism). In any case, he avoids a judgmental assessment of the baroque architect, in marked contrast to most 19th-century writing on Guarini’s architectural work.

Tommaso Sandonnini (1849-1926) studied law and worked as a notary before becoming director of the Archivio Storico Comunale in Modena in 1897. In this capacity, he was active in archaeological and preservation efforts in the city, and wrote numerous studies on a range of historical topics, particularly those involving Modena.

An extensive review of Sandonnini’s study by Natale Baldoria appeared the same year in Archivio storico dell’arte 3 (1890): 221-23. Baldoria opens his essay with some historiographic reflections on the study of Baroque art and architecture (“Soltanto da poco tempo incomincia ad essere studiata senza preconcetti, obiettivamente, la Storia dell’arte… Così gli artisti e le opere di quell’epoca [barocco], che tanto contribuirono colle loro invenzioni anche al progresso dell’ arte moderna, sono degni di studio e tali che sarebbe delitto se la storia non li ricordasse o li spregiasse.”) He thus acknowledged the radical break of Sandonnini’s article with previous discussions of Guarini. Nearly seventy years later, in 1958, Wittkower still deemed Sandonnini’s Guarini “An important study.”

Today, another sixty years down the road, Sandonnini’s article remains as fundamental as ever. Along with the works of Alessandro Baudi di Vesme and Augusta Lange who explored the archives in Turin, it furnishes the essentail documentary basis for Guarini’s life and career.

Thanks to Italy’s wonderful Internet Culturale and the Biblioteca civica Ubaldo Mazzini in La Spezia, the booklet version of Sandonnini’s study is now available open access online, and may be downloaded as a PDF for non-commercial use.

Download

Tommaso Sandonnini, Del Padre Guarino Guarini, Chierico Regolare (Modena: Vincenzi e nipoti, 1890). [90 MB]

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On Sandonnini’s life and writings, see Giulio Bertoni, “Tommaso Sandonnini, 1849-1926” and Giovanni Canevazzi, “Bibliografia di Tommaso Sandonnini,” Atti e memorie della R. Deputazione di storia patria per le provincie modenesi, Ser. 7, vol. 5 (1928): 7-28 and 29-42.

The Remains of Sainte-Anne-la-Royale, Paris, in 1900

A Cadastre Plan Now Online


Earlier this year, the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris (BHVP) made some image collections pertaining to various historic buildings in Paris available online. The holdings may be searched via the library’s own online catalogue, or through the Gallica portal of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The files (recueils iconographiques) consist of prints and drawings relating to each building grouped together and pasted on large sheets of cardboard – a kind of analogue forerunner of Pinterest boards.

The Theatine church of Sainte-Anne-la-Royale, designed by Guarino Guarini, is documented in six images pasted on three boards. Most of these are already known in one form or another, but a cadastre plan dating to 1900 is particularly interesting. It provides additional information about the position of the unfinished church in the block between Quai Voltaire and the Rue de Lille. The church plan, signified with pink-red cross hatching, is superimposed on the plans of the buildings that were built on the site after Sainte-Anne was securlarized and partially demolished in the early nineteenth century.

These nineteenth-century buildings incorporated portions of the church structure, and remain on the site today, with few alterations in respect to the plan of 1900.

To see other plans of the site for comparison – Blondel’s 1752 engraved plan, and a satellite view of the block on Google Maps today – visit Guarini Sites Outside of Turin.

To learn more about Sainte-Anne-la-Royale, see the posts on this website tagged with “Paris“.

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Image (above): Recueil iconographique. Couvent des Théatins (Paris), detail with cadastre plan of 1900
Source: Ville de Paris / BHVP / public domain

EAHN 2018 Program Available and Registration Open

Fifth International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network
Tallinn, 13-16 June 2018

The detailed program for the European Architectural HIstory Network (EAHN) Fifth International Meeting is now available on the conference website. Conference events include keynote talks by Christine Stevenson, Krista Kodres, and Reinhold Martin, as well as a fascinating program of tours around Tallinn and other sites in Estonia. Twenty-eight panels and roundtables, organized in five sessions and five thematic tracks, furnish rich content across a range of periods, methodologies, and geographies.

Conference registration is open, with special early bird registration rates available until 30 March. Late registration at higher rates will be available until 20 May. The conference website has complete information about registration categories and rates.

A Souvenir Shroud of Turin

Replica of the Shroud of Turin, possibly 19th century, Italian, painted cloth, H. 7 3/4″ x W. 21″ (19.7 x 53.3 cm)
Gift of Coudert Brothers, 1888
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 88.3.45

With Easter approaching, the annual sindonology season is upon us. This year’s curiosity comes from the vast, encyclopedic collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: a miniature replica of the Shroud of Turin. While the original relic is around 4.5 meters long, this small version measures just over a half-meter in length.

According to the museum’s catalogue record, the replica is painted on the cloth and was acquired in 1888. The image of the Shroud – complete with the burn marks from the fire in Chambéry in 1532 – is surrounded with a floral border, an inscription, images of symbols and instruments of the passion at the corners, and two baskets of flowers at either side. The textile probably dates to the nineteenth century, and must have been intended as a devotional souvenir for pious pilgrims to the venerated relic.

The Metropolitan Museum also holds a photographic souvenir of the Shroud of Turin in its collection. The negative image of the face on the textile was taken by Giuseppe Enrie and dates to the 1931 ostension of the Shroud. The museum’s website offers an extremely informative catalogue entry on the photo and its context in Enrie’s career.

The video below gives a glimpse of the souvenirs available for contemporary pilgrims to the relic.


A souvenir stand at a recent ostension of the Shroud

Baroque Turin in Study Sketches

Piedmontese Baroque architecture – indeed any Baroque architecture – never figured widely in the drawings prepared by nineteenth-century architects on study tours of Italy. With the increasing availability of open access digitized image collections, one can search and compare thousands of such sketches and more formal studies in repositories such as Gallica, the architecture museums of the TU Munich or TU Berlin*, and the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth collection. These sheets typically depict monuments of classical antiquity, the medieval period, or the Renaissance, but occasionally one finds examples recording Baroque buildings or urban ensembles.

A selection of such rare representations of Baroque Turin follows, including two cases of medieval / Baroque hybrid structures: Palazzo Madama, and Juvarra’s upper story and attic for the cathedral bell tower.**

Palazzo Barolo

Nohl Maximilian (1830-1863), Palazzo Barolo, Turin: Perspektivische Innenansicht. Bleistift auf Papier, 20,6 x 30,7 cm (inkl. Scanrand). Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 13931.

Nohl Maximilian (1830-1863), Palazzo Barolo, Turin: Perspektivische Innenansicht. Bleistift auf Papier, 20,6 x 30,7 cm (inkl. Scanrand). Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 13931. Public domain mark.

Palazzo Madama / Castello

Nohl Maximilian (1830-1863), Palazzo Madama, Turin: Ansicht. Bleistift auf Karton, 12,2 x 17 cm. Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 13895.

Nohl Maximilian (1830-1863), Palazzo Madama, Turin: Ansicht. Bleistift auf Karton, 12,2 x 17 cm. Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 13895. Public domain mark.

Stiehl Otto (1860-1940), Skizzen- und Fotoalbum 4: Palazzo delle due torri, Turin: Details. Bleistift auf Papier, (inkl. Scanrand). Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 57189,008.

Stiehl Otto (1860-1940), Skizzen- und Fotoalbum 4: Palazzo delle due torri, Turin: Details. Bleistift auf Papier, (inkl. Scanrand). Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität Berlin Inv. Nr. 57189,008. Public domain mark.

Palazzo Civico / Piazza Palazzo di Città

m_digitam_0892584 Zanth TUM

Karl Ludwig Wilhelm von Zanth, “Mercato delle Erbe” in Turin
Source: Architekturmuseum der TU München, Signatur zant-1-27 , CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

[Turin_Palazzo_Civico]_Labrouste_Henri_btv1b85536903

Henri Labrouste, Plan de la Municipalité de turin [sic] et de la place du Marché qui la précède, from Voyage en Italie, 1825-1830
Source: Gallica /Bibliothèque nationale de France

Castello del Valentino

Labrouste BnF

Henri Labrouste, Le Valentin, près Turin, from Voyage en Italie, 1825-1830
Source: Gallica / Bibliothèque nationale de France

B1975.4.1931

Edward Lear, “From the long alley’s latticed shade”; Turin, (Italy.), after 1872. Not an architect, Lear prepared this drawing for his edition of the poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Source: Yale Center for British Art. Public domain.

Palazzo dell’Università

[Turin_Musée]_Labrouste_Henri_btv1b8553696k (2)

Henri Labrouste, Musée [entre les] Contrada del Po [et] Contrada della Zecca, from Voyage en Italie, 1825-1830
Source: Gallica / Bibliothèque nationale de France

Palazzo Trucchi di Levaldigi

[Turin_Palazzo]_Labrouste_Henri_btv1b85536955

Henri Labrouste, Palais [à l’angle de deux rues, dont la] Contrada di S. Carlo, from Voyage en Italie, 1825-1830
Source: Gallica / Bibliothèque nationale de France

Campanile del Duomo

Green, Campanile, Turin, Digital Commonweath

James C. Green, Campanile, Turin, c. 1891
Source: Boston Architectural College Library / Digital Commonwealth, CC BY 3.0

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Notes:

* Kudos to the Architekturmuseum der TU Berlin for its recently implemented public domain policy and the convenient metadata attached to its image files.

** I have consciously omitted from this selection the numerous drawings of Turin available in the Joconde database by the French artists Prosper Barbot and Pierre-Adrien Pâris, and may return to them in the future.

Review of Jöchner, Gebaute Entfestigung

Superga

Filippo Juvarra, Basilica of Superga, Turin, 1716-1731 (photograph c. 1939)
Source: ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv / Fotograf: Unbekannt / Fel_055167-RE / Public Domain Mark

My review of Cornelia Jöchner, Gebaute Entfestigung. Architekturen der Öffnung im Turin des frühen 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: De Gruyter 2015) appears in the May issue of Kunstchronik. The book explores two architectural ensembles built outside Turin’s historic city walls – Superga, and Piazza Vittorio with the church of the Gran Madre di Dio. It analyzes these in the context of the spatial turn, situating them within a long-term process of defortification. Download a PDF of the review here.

Translating the title as Constructing Defortification: Architectures of Opening in Turin in the Early 18th and 19th Centuries, De Gruyter’s website provides the following description of the book:

How does a city become an open city after a long history of being walled? Turin is notable in this regard for two important architectural ensembles: the Superga Basilica and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Defortification means destruction as well as the creation of new spaces. The architectural features at the edges of Turin give evidence to these changes in a very specific way, for they contributed to a new political order in the city and country.

Torino, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele

Giuseppe Frizzi, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (now Vittorio Veneto), Turin, 1825-30, with Ferdinando Bonsignore’s church of Gran Madre di Dio, 1818-31 (photograph before 1905)
Source: AKON/Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

Other Reviews

Jöchner’s book has been widely reviewed, with the following two essays available online and open access. Of the two, I found Meinrad von Engelberg’s assessment of the volume quite similar to my own.

● Meinrad von Engelberg: [Rezension zu:] Jöchner, Cornelia: Gebaute Entfestigung. Architekturen der Öffnung im Turin des frühen 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts (= Studien aus dem Warburg-Haus; 14), Berlin 2014. In: H-ArtHist, Oct 2, 2015 (accessed 29 May 2016), http://arthist.net/reviews/11139.

● Ulrich Fürst: Rezension von: Cornelia Jöchner: Gebaute Entfestigung. Architekturen der Öffnung im Turin des frühen 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin: de Gruyter 2015
in KUNSTFORM 17 (2016), Nr. 2, http://www.arthistoricum.net/kunstform/rezension/ausgabe/2016/2/.

Turin from Superga

James Mitan, 1776–1822, Turin from the Portico of the Superga Church, 1818-1820
Source: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection / public domain

Abstracts Available for EAHN 2016, Dublin

Upcoming European Architectural History Network Conference, 2-4 June 2016

EAHN 2016 AbstractsAbstracts of the papers in the sessions and roundtables of the European Architectural History Network’s Fourth International Meeting can now be downloaded from the conference website. The full program of tours, keynote presentations, and other events may also be consulted there.
With a little more than a month to go until the conference, registration is still open. If the abstracts whet your appetite for a trip to Ireland with a few intense days devoted to great offerings for architectural historians, this is the time to sign up!

Session Lineups Announced for EAHN 2016

 

Fourth International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network, Dublin (June 2016)

The EAHN 2016 organizing committee has announced the roster of speakers and papers for the sessions and roundtables at the upcoming EAHN 2016 conference in Dublin.  Over 150 participants will be chairing or presenting in the twenty-four panels from 2-4 June 2016.  Topics range from medieval tower houses through Georgian architecture to “Architecture of the Antipodes”, time travel, and big data.

For the complete listing of session topics and paper titles, visit the conference website or download the PDF of the conference roster.

By the way – early bird rates for conference registration are available before 1 March 2016.

Maps above: the urban development of Dublin from 1682 through 1915. Click on images for details.

You Gotta Have Art

Sign Petition to Save the Detroit Institute of Arts

The title of this old commercial for the Detroit Institute of Arts says it all: please sign this petition begun by Professor Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University and addressed to Mr. Kevyn Orr, Detroit emergency manager.  As a Detroit-area native and former DIA employee, this cause is very important to me.

Petition Text

Prevent sale of works from the Detroit Institute of Arts

Dear Mr. Orr,

We, the undersigned, write to express our profound dismay at the news that the city of Detroit is considering auctioning off the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to meet the city’s obligations as part of the current bankruptcy proceedings. The Institute of Art’s collections are not only among the finest in the United States; they rank among the greatest in the world and contribute to the city’s international reputation. To sell them, in whole or in part, would seal the city’s shame, dispose of one of the most visible manifestations of its proud history, and inflict permanent, irreparable harm on the city as a center for culture, tourism and commerce. One doesn’t help a patient, even one who’s very sick, by cutting out his or her heart. We urge you to resist the pressures being brought to bear by creditors to resort to what would be an act of draconian cultural iconoclasm without parallel in modern times.

Yours sincerely,
Jeffrey Hamburger
Harvard University

Click here to add your name to the petition.

Double Vision: Early Photograph of SS. Annunziata, Messina

Annunziata Messina 1860 Sevaistre

This stereoscopic albumen print of the Piazza dell’Annunziata, Messina, by the French-Italian photographer Eugène Sevraistre dates to c. 1860, and is thus probably the earliest known photograph of Guarini’s façade of the Santissima Annunziata in the Sicilian city. The Theatine church was consecrated exactly two hundred years before the photograph was taken, and destroyed in the devastating Messina earthquake of December 1908.

The photograph gives valuable information about the urban context of the church, complementing other surviving images of it. Interestingly, the photograph underscores the apparently axial relationship of the church portal to Andrea Calamech’s 1572 statue of Don Giovanni d’Austria, the victor of the naval battle against the Ottoman Empire at Lepanto in 1571. Don Giovanni, an illegitimate son of Emperor Charles V, had led his fleet to victory starting from the Messina harbor. It would be nice to know when the statue was placed at this location; later images appear to show the statue farther away from the church. Were the Theatines making an intentional political statement in aligning their church with it, trying to link themselves to the Habsburg dynasty and the conqueror of the “infidels”?

Eugène Sevaistre, Piazza Catalani già piazza dell’Annunciata – Monumento a Don Giovanni d’Austria, Messina, c. 1860, with lower story of Guarino Guarini’s Santissima Annunziata façade.
Photograph: LombardiaBeniCulturali